Welcome to my article all about how to fix gaps in hardwood floors!
One of the most popular flooring types is hardwood, due to its aesthetic appeal.
It looks good in almost every room, with several wood types of varying colors and grains to choose from.
The issue with hardwood, regardless of which type you pick, is that sooner or later you may notice gaps between the wood.
Though thin gaps are normal, wider gaps can become unsightly, requiring maintenance to fix the issue.
Luckily, learning how to fix gaps in hardwood floors is easy to do, even for those with minimal experience in this area.
If you’ve got gaps in your hardwood floors, you’ve come to the right place. Below are six easy-to-follow methods on how to fix these gaps.
But first, let’s discuss what causes gaps in hardwood floors to begin with.
What Causes Gaps in Hardwood Floors?
Wood tends to expand during hot, humid weather as it soaks up the moisture in the air.
When the weather cools, the wood dries out again, shrinking as the moisture evaporates from the wood, which is what causes gaps in hardwood floors.
Should Gaps in Hardwood Floors Be Filled?
There should always be small gaps between the wood pieces that make up your floors to ensure they don’t squeeze together and buckle when the weather warms and the wood expands.
Those gaps will become a bit larger in the winter when the wood contracts again, though this isn’t a concern.
Those gaps become a problem when they get larger, leaving spaces between the wood during hot weather when the gaps should have closed.
If there is still significant gapping between the strips of wood during this time, you may need to remedy the situation by filling those gaps.
How To Fix Gaps In Hardwood Floors: 6 Methods
There are several methods to choose from when fixing the gaps in hardwood floors, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Be sure to scrape out and vacuum the cracks between the hardwood pieces before you begin any of these methods.
This will ensure they are clean and free of any debris that could affect the process.
Flexible Gap Fillers
There are several types of flexible gap fillers available for you to choose from.
They are designed to seal the cracks as they dry, though they do remain somewhat flexible, so they won’t break or pop out if the wood expands.
For this process, you’ll need a filler, a caulk gun, and a caulk trimmer.
To start, make an angled cut on the tip of the filler tube to give you more control during application, then insert it into the caulk gun.
Apply the filler to the cracks that are in need of attention, scraping away any excess using the trimmer.
Clean any spills to prevent discoloration on your floors. Let the filler dry.
Natural fiber ropes, like cotton or jute, are another great option since these can be stained to match the color of the existing wood before placing them between the gaps.
The ropes should be slightly wider in diameter than the gap for the right fit.
Here’s how to use them to fix gaps in hardwood floors:
- Soak the rope in the stain and let it dry
- Use a putty knife to press it between the gaps until it is flush with the hardwood
- Trim any excess rope
- Add wood glue if needed to secure the rope in place
- When all the gaps are filled to your satisfaction, apply a coat of clear varnish to any roped gaps to create a hard surface.
- Clean the area
This method is a bit more involved than some others since it requires the use of a table saw to cut the narrow strips needed from some new, salvaged, or spare floorboards.
Be sure to choose pieces that match your existing floor to maintain an even look.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Measure the length and width of each gap
- Cut the wood to match
- Apply wood glue to each of the strips
- Insert it into the gap
- Using a mallet, gently tap the wood strip until it’s flush with the surface of the flooring
- Wipe away any excess glue
- When all of the strips are in place, sand the strips to get rid of any high spots
- Stain or finish the entire floor.
Sawdust collected from the same wood species as what is used for your hardwood floor can also be used as a gap filler.
Combine sawdust with wood glue or polyurethane to make a paste.
Make only small amounts at a time to prevent it from drying out before you can finish applying it to the gaps.
You can also add some stain to the paste to match the sawdust to the flooring if needed.
Press the sawdust paste into the gaps using a putty knife and allow it to dry for about 10 minutes.
Wood putty is another option, though this one isn’t as favored as the other methods.
This is because wood putty hardens in the gaps, which could then cause flaking and chipping.
Over time, your solution may end up looking worse than the initial problem, requiring you to remove and replace the putty at some point down the line.
If you do want to try the wood putty method, choose one that closely matches the color of the hardwood floor.
Here’s how to use it:
- Apply a fine bead of putty over a gap
- Use a circular motion to work it in
- When the gap is filled, carefully use a putty knife to remove excess putty
- Wipe away any remaining residue
- Let the putty dry
When all else fails and the gaps are too far gone to be repaired using any of the methods we described above, replacing your hardwood floors may be the only option left.
This should only be used as a last resort since this method is the most costly and time-consuming method of the lot.
Sometimes, the gaps in your floor can be caused by improper installation or structural issues with your home.
Pulling up the entire floor and fixing the cause of the problem may be necessary for either of these situations.
Consult your contractor or tradesman to get more information for your specific home if you choose to go with this method.
How To Fix Gaps In Hardwood Floors: Conclusion
Gaps in hardwood floors can be unsightly, or even dangerous. But fixing them isn’t difficult.
There are many ways to fix gaps in hardwood floors that can be done in an hour or two, with minimal experience and minimal expense.
I hope this article has given you some ideas of the best way to fix your floors.
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About The Author: Hi There! I’m Dave. I’m a certified millworker and carpenter, and have been working in the industry for over 10 years. I created this website to pass on my knowledge so that other enthusiasts, no matter what their skill level, can enjoy the craft as much as I do. I hope you enjoy!