There are just a few things that spoil a nice wood floor more than planks that have separated and developed gaps. Thankfully, this can be a scenario which, with the ideal preparation can be pretty much averted. Inside this week’s article we will explore a few of the reasons why hardwood flooring boards separate and develop gaps and what you can do to avoid it happening to a flooring and what you can do in order to address the issue if you are facing it right now.
Why do flooring boards separate?
Infection and moisture extremes
Wood is an entirely natural product and as such contracts and expands in regards in contact with moisture and temperature changes. As a general guideline, when temperatures are around the other hand and humidity levels are high in the atmosphere, wood takes from the moisture and expands. If those temperatures fall along with the moisture dries up, the timber contracts .
While this occurs in character, it is not a problem in any way, but when floor planks are fitted closely together, this growth and contraction can lead to havoc if it is intense and it is left to last. Excessive moisture may also come in the sub floor which has not been satisfactorily damp proofed.
What’s going to happen eventually with boards which are expanding and contracting a lot of is that they will either develop unsightly and frequently draughty gaps or they will cup or bow because they do not have sufficient room to expand as much as the conditions are forcing them to. Both of these situations can be avoided by placing the right practices in place both before and whilst placing your floor.
Acclimatisation and growth gaps
Apart from humidity and moisture changes, wood floor boards can separate and create gaps if the floor has not been properly acclimatised before setup or if an insufficient expansion gap was left round the room.
Acclimatising your timber flooring is a fundamental part of your own pre-installation procedure. In summary, it means obtaining the timber prepared for its new surroundings. A well-acclimatised floor plank is going to probably be spared the trauma of surplus contraction and expansion as a result of environmental conditions when it is laid.
As soon as you’ve acclimatised your floors, when you put it, you have to allow adequate space on your calculations in order for it to contract and expand. The general guideline is to make a gap of 10-15mm round the outside of the room to permit the floor to expand and contract without the danger of damage.
If boards haven’t been sufficiently tapped into place next to their neighbouring board through installation, they’re highly likely to separate and create gaps as time passes. Remedial action can be taken to tighten the touch of the planks following setup, but ideally this situation could be prevented by taking care throughout the fitting.
Remedial action for floor separation
There are four major things which you can do eliminate the gaps in your wood floor. They are:
- If your floor isn’t fixed into the subfloor, you could try slipping back the boards into place. Everything you have to do this is work round the outside, or perimeter of your room and lightly manoeuvre back the boards into position. If needs be you could introduce some wooden pegs to avoid the planks slipping back again. Where you have an unfixed floor, it’s important not to drag or slide heavy items across the ground since this will exacerbate the risk of gaps growing.
- Use a dust and resin mix to fill the gaps. This is a great way to fill comparatively tiny gaps and separations. All you need to do is mix some sawdust that’s the same color as your flooring with some clear resin filler till you have a business adhesive. Thereafter you use the paste to fill the gaps. With a spatula is the simplest method and you should find a good result if you work patiently and methodically through the ground.
- Insert filler strips to the gaps. Filler strips are nice lengths of timber which are of the exact species and color as your flooring. All you need to do this is pop up the strips into the gaps. They should not even have to be glued . When you’ve finished introducing the strips, you may find that you want to gently sand the ground to acquire the level place on.
- Utilize a colour-match acrylic filler. Coloured acrylic salts are widely available and come in a whole slew of colors. If you’re in a position to put your hands on a color that perfectly matches with your flooring, this option is really straightforward. All you need to do is follow the directions on the package and kiss goodbye to your own gaps!
If you would like some help using a wood flooring challenge you’re facing, why not get connected ? We’d be thrilled to hear from you and also to help you sort out your issue.