How to Repair the Gaps on Hardwood Flooring?

Dec 22, 2023
How to Repair the Gaps on Hardwood Flooring?

There comes a time when your elegant hardwood floors develop gaps between the planks due to moisture change. These gaps not only affect the look of your floor but are also dirt magnets and tripping hazards.

The good part is that you can fix these gaps and restore the original look of your floors. In this blog, our experts have discussed different ways to fix the gapping on your hardwood floor to protect it from excess damage.

Steps to Repair Gaps on Hardwood Flooring

⇒ Gather the supplies

Here is everything you’ll need for the methods discussed in the blog.

  • Wood floorboards
  • Organic rope (jute or cotton)
  • Wood putty
  • Wood glue
  • Polyurethane finish
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • A bunch of clean clothes
  • Putty knife and utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Shop-vac
  • Table saw and handsaw
  • Sandpaper

Depending on your method, you may only need to use some of the materials.

⇒ Wood Strip Method

If the gap on your floor is wide enough that things are falling into it, use wood strips to fill the gaps. You can use any leftover hardwood or choose sustainable wood flooring options like salvaged wood.

1. Cut the Wood Strips

Measure the length and width of each gap. Then, use a handsaw to cut the wood strip as needed. Make sure you cut from the grooved side of the spare/ new hardwood to make it fit better with the tongue side of the existing floor.

2. Secure the Strips

Apply a wood adhesive to the sides of the strips and gently set it into the gap using a hammer. Try to align the strip with the existing boards as closely as possible. Wipe away the excessive adhesive with a clean cloth and let the area dry.

3. Refinish the Strips

If you notice uneven areas on the recently filled gaps, use sandpaper to even it out. Then, choose the right finish that matches the finish of the existing floor and apply it to the strips.

⇒ Other Methods to Repair Gaps on Hardwood Flooring

→ With Natural Ropes

Using natural cotton and jute ropes is another traditional method of repairing small gaps in old houses with floors that make a squeaking sound. You can stain the rope to blend with the floor, and the gap won’t be noticeable. Just do the following.

  • Use a flathead screwdriver to clean the gaps. Remove all the accumulated dirt, dust, and old wood putty. Then, vacuum the area thoroughly until the gaps are clear.
  • Pick up a natural rope that is long and thicker than the gap. Then, dip that rope into a bucket filled with a stain that matches your floorboards. Keep the rope in place until it gets saturated.
  • Pull the rope out and stretch it on a clean cardboard.
  • Next, place the rope along the gap and force it into it with a putty knife. Stop when the rope is level with the wood surface. Trim the excess wood and ensure it matches the rest of the floor.

→ With Wood Putty

If the gaps on your hardwood floor are small and stable, you can easily fix them using wood putty.

  • Clean the floorboards on either side of the gap with a damp cloth.
  • Then, apply some wood putty into the gap and work it in using your fingers. Push the putty deep into the gap to ensure an even filling.
  • Remove the excess putty using a putty knife.
  • Next, let the putty set and wipe the residue along the edges of other floorboards.
  • Avoid walking on the floor till the putty dries completely, and apply a polyurethane finish to make the filled surface blend in.

Note: While using wood putty is an effective method to repair gaps on hardwood floors, there is a chance that the gap will reopen during the dry season.

Summing Up

Gaps on the hardwood floor take away from their timeless beauty. They are also a tripping hazard that can cause accidents. But you can easily patch up the gaps yourself with either of the above methods, depending on the size of the gap.

Use the wood strip method for wider (ball-sized or larger) gaps. Similarly, use organic ropes to repair gaps in old hardwood floors. Lastly, fix small gaps using wood putty.

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