Hardwood flooring is a classic flooring style that has been used for centuries in making homes look timeless and stylish. They are durable and eco-friendly and help add up to your house’s value.
However, families who have hardwood floors in Calgary would know that though these floors are incredibly strong, they are not infallible. A common problem that people experience is that of ‘gapping’, or the appearance of gaps between floorboards.
If you are also experiencing gapping in your hardwood floors, you needn’t worry anymore. Our flooring specialists have created this guide to help you keep your floors look like new.
Why Do Hardwood Floors Get Gaps?
Before we get down to dealing with hardwood flooring gaps, let’s first understand what causes this problem. Gaps usually range from hairline width to about the thickness of a quarter and are caused by several reasons. These include:
- Hardwood floors expand during days of high temperature and shrink when the weather turns cooler. Installing the boards too close to each other during the winter months does not give them room to expand. Alternatively, installing the boards with a little gap during the warmer months may cause them to widen.
- Hardwood flooring also tends to develop gaps when they are installed without acclimatizing them to withstand the changing ambient conditions.
- Improper fittings like leaving gaps between the boards also lead to exacerbation of this problem.
How To Fix Hardwood Floor Gaps?
Even if gaps have started to appear on your floors, there’s no need to panic. All you need to do is to follow these tips:
Understand What Is Causing The Problem
Since various reasons contribute to gapping, for you to find a customized solution, it’s essential to understand the root cause. Find out if it is the weather that is causing gaps in your floorboards or if it has to do with a particular area of the home such as your kitchen or bathroom space.
The next question to ask yourself is if your hardwood floors are installed properly. Regardless of seasonal changes or humidity levels, properly installed floors shouldn’t get gaps between them.
Regulate The Humidity Levels
One of the major contributors to gaps in hardwood floors is the level of humidity, coupled with heating systems and ventilators.
To prevent this, use a humidifier to add the required moisture to the air. Managing adequate moisture content will prevent them from shrinking and separating from each other. We recommend maintaining an RH (relative humidity) level above 35%. Ensure that they never exceed 55% to prevent too much expansion and cupping.
Another way to prevent humidity from getting inside is to replace old or cracked windows, seal cracks in the doors, and keep your doors closed.
Fill The Gaps With Putty
If your hardwood floors are showing gaps due to non-seasonal reasons, you will need to address them immediately. One of the simplest ways to fill up narrow gaps is to use wood putty. This is a sturdy yet flexible material that adapts to floor changes.
Wood putty is easily available at local hardware stores. Just ensure that you match its colour to that of your floors. To fill in, clean your floors with a vacuum and apply the putty using circular motions with a putty knife. Remove the excess putty and let it dry for at least 24 hours before you start using the floors.
Repair With Sawdust
Just like wood putty, sawdust, when combined with wood glue like PVA creates a flexible and durable gap filler that changes with the hardwood flooring gaps.
Make sure that you get sawdust that is from the same wood species as your hardwood flooring. To fill in the floors with sawdust, clean the gaps and floor surface and add around 2 tablespoons of sawdust filler. This is sawdust mixed with wood glue and wood stain colour. Push this mixture into the gaps with a putty knife and allow it to dry for 10 minutes.
Ensuring that you acclimatize your floors and install them properly are great ways to prevent hardwood flooring gaps in the first place. If they have been already installed, take preventive measures such as using floor wax and resurfacing them periodically. Since these floors are expensive and not worth taking a chance with, call the flooring specialists at Home Floors to repair them professionally. Get in touch with us at (403) 984-4100 or visit us at 423 58th Avenue S.E., Calgary, Alberta, T2H 0P5.