Flooring is one of the first things that people notice upon entering your house. Thus, floors have a vital role to play in the home decor. Correct flooring, which complements the furniture, walls, and curtains, can instantly uplift the decor of your home.
Also, Hardwood floors do the same without much effort. Whether you have minimal or traditional decor, neutral or bold color palettes, Hardwood floors will provide texture, elegance, warmth, and coziness to your home.
Hardwood floors are classic, ageless, and one of the most popular flooring options out there. They endure more wear and tear, are easy to clean and last for a lifetime if properly maintained.
Hardwood flooring is also best for your house if you got any allergic patients in the house. The reason behind this is unlike carpets, hardwood floors do not trap dirt, dust, and especially allergens.
They also improve the acoustics of the home by preventing hollow sounds and vibrations. That’s the reason the majority of dance halls or music rooms contain hardwood floors.
But the problem with hardwood flooring is that sometimes you get to see gaps in between the adjacent floorboards. So many homeowners complain about the gaps in hardwood floors. Sometimes gaps appear right after installation but sometimes later.
Gaps not only ruin the appeal of floors and trap dirt and dust but also pose a severe risk of tripping and injuries. But worry not there are always some ways to fix things and to fix gaps in hardwood floors we are sharing some of the best ways below. Check these ways and follow exactly to get rid of gaps.
What causes gaps in hardwood floors?
Gaps are mainly caused by fluctuations in the weather conditions and rise and fall in humidity levels. Being a natural material, wood absorbs moisture in high humid conditions and shrinks during the dry or winter season. This expansion and contraction of wood lead to formation leading to the formation of gaps between adjoining boards.
Other causes may be improper fitting or installation.
Water damage is another prominent cause of gaps. Waterlogged wood swells and then shrinks upon losing moisture during dry conditions.
Ways to prevent gaps in hardwood floors
Proper installation: Always use the services of a trusted, professional installer for installing hardwood floors in your house. Poorly fitted boards are more likely to separate and develop gaps.
If the individual boards have been placed very close to each other, it increases the severity of the problems. When the planks expand in humid seasons, they are forced to curl or bow due to extra space’s unavailability, maximizing tripping chances.
Humidity level test: Conduct a test to determine humidity levels in the area you live. Use the results to decide which flooring option will be best suitable for your house.
Acclimatization of floorboards: It is essential to allow the planks to acclimatize to your house’s weather conditions before installing. Keep unwrapped wood planks undisturbed for seven to ten days.
If your home has highly fluctuating levels of humidity, consider adding a humidifier into your home.
How to fix gaps in Hardwood Floors After Installation?
Things you need to keep in mind before beginning the repair work:
Not all gaps pose a threat to your flooring. Wood is a natural product, so it’s very typical to expand and contract weather fluctuations.
Whether you need to worry or not depends on the duration for which the gaps are visible, the size of gaps, and the season in which you notice the gaps.
Pay close attention to when you notice the gaps; if the gaps are visible during the dry or winter season and close on their own during the humid months, there is no need to panic over them. Filling these gaps might be more of a problem since the planks will expand again in humid months and due to the unavailability of space, the floor might buckle or curl.
Humid seasons are the best time to check for gaps, as the planks are at their tightest fitting. You can ignore little gaps.
Once you have made sure that the gaps are not seasonal and present year-round, you need to repair them. Don’t delay in the repairing process as the situation may worsen with time. Moreover, there is a risk of house members tripping over it.
Which is the suitable time for repairing?
If the gaps are present at inconspicuous places or don’t post such a severe threat, we recommend fixing those gaps during the humid season.
The humid season is the best time because planks are swollen and tight and therefore leave narrow gaps. So once you fill them, you might have to witness slight cracks developing again in the next dry season. But this is somehow still better than leaving no room for them to expand.
By Using Wood Putty or Wood Fillers
Wood putty or fillers are the quickest and easiest method to fill small gaps.
Clean the flooring using a dry or slightly wet cloth.
Take a considerable amount of wood putty and put it into the gap.
Use your fingers or a putty knife to force it into the gap.
Remove the excess amount of putty. Try to find a shade of putty that best matches your flooring, or you can also mix different colors to get the desired shade.
Let it dry completely by leaving it undisturbed for a few hours.
After that, you can apply a coating of surface finish or paste wax for extra strength and a better finish.
Wood putty or wood fillers?
While many of you think that they are the same, it’s slightly misleading to use both terms interchangeably.
Wood putty generally contains urethane, polyurethane, or epoxy and is flexible and pliable even after drying. They are usually used to fill small gaps. They are available in many different shades.
Whereas, Wood fillers are made of wood by-products like wood dust or sawdust that get rock hard once they dry up.
Wood fillers generally come in a tube with a pointed nozzle.
Take some on your fingers and work your way along with the gaps.
Put the wood filler into the gap, use circular motions and press down to ensure that filler goes into the opening, Let it dry. After that, use a soft cloth to wipe off the excess amount of filler. Once it dries, sand it to remove any uneven finish.
Apply the desired finishing of urethane on it.
While using wood putty or wood fillers, make sure you do not stain adjoining floorboards. For that, use two broad tapes on each side of the gap.
Also, wear rubber gloves as wood fillers tend to dry quickly and can stick on your hands.
If there are several gaps using wood putty can ruin the look.
For more gaps, refer to the methods given below.
By Using Wood Strips or Planks
Measure the length and width of gaps. Use any spare floorboards; if not available, you can purchase them or use matching hardwood lumber pieces.
According to the measurement, cut the strips from the boards using a table saw or a handsaw.
Be extra careful while using these tools as they are very sharp and might injure you. Make sure you cut the strips evenly.
Apply wood glue to the sides of the strip and put it into the gap.
Use a hammer and tap gently to set it properly.
Try to get an even finish and ensure that the strip is flush with the adjoining floorboards.
Wipe any excess amount of glue and allow it to dry.
Once the glue has dried entirely, use a sandpaper or plastic scraper to even out any rough finish or high spots. Don’t damage surrounding boards’ finishes.
Then use the desired stain and finish over the strips.
By Using Ropes
Repairing gaps using rope is an age-old tradition. Make sure you always use a natural fiber rope like cotton or jute rope as they absorb the stain better.
Clean the gaps: Remove any dust or traces of old putty. Use a vacuum cleaner in case of any loose debris. You can also use a scraper.
After measuring the gap, take a rope with a slightly bigger diameter.
Stain the rope: Take a matching shade of wood stain into a bucket and dip the rope into it.
After the rope absorbs the stain properly, pull it out carefully.
Drain excess stain and then stretch the rope properly over a paper and let it dry completely.
After the rope is dried, apply a small amount of wood glue in the gap before placing the rope into it.
Put the rope evenly in the gap using a putty knife or fingers.
Ensure that the rope is flush with the wood surface. Cut or trim any extra rope as per the requirement.
After the glue dries, you can add a urethane surface finish to it.
If the gaps between the boards are huge, you will not be able to fix them. Consider using an expert’s service to repair those gaps.