LESLIE: Norma from Rhode Island, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
NORMA: My hardwood floor has a space that developed after a period of time – after it had been installed a period of time. The space is probably a quarter of an inch.
TOM: Now where’s this space, Norma? Is it between the slats of the hardwood floor or is it between the floor and the wall or the floor and the baseboard? Where is it?
NORMA: The hardwoods go one direction and where it joins the hardwoods go in the other direction. It’s a design in the floor.
TOM: OK. This is very, very typical and it’s caused by the normal expansion and contraction of the floor. It’s not something that you can really fill, so to speak, because it’s really designed to have that gap there. It may be a bit unsightly but there’s absolutely nothing you can put in there that’s going to close it unless you start replacing hardwood floorboards with wider ones and that’s probably not the best idea.
LESLIE: Well, if it really bothers you, Norma, there are things that you can do. I would never use wood filler on it because it’s just going to chip out and it’s going to fly out and it’s going to look horrible. I have seen done – you can take a natural fiber rope like a jute or something along that same – like a hemp texture – and you would dip it in – you would make sure, number one, that it’s the same thickness of that space or that gap that you’ve got in the floor and if the rope’s a little too bit you can unravel one of the larger pieces of threading. Then you would dip that into a stain that’s similar in color to your floor and then you would shove that into that gap.
Now, you might not notice it directly if you’re walking by it or, you know, quickly glancing at it. But if you look at it you’re going to see it.
NORMA: Ah, that’s interesting. The one thing that bothers me is that one board is higher than the other. That’s what bothers me and every now and then people will stump their toe on it.
TOM: Well, is it swollen? Is it sort of twisted and warped? Is that why it’s higher or is it just physically thicker?
NORMA: It’s because it was in – one room was an addition and I think that room settled a little bit.
TOM: Alright, well here’s something else you could do. You could put a piece of moulding in the transitions from the high floorboard to the low floorboard and that could serve two purposes. First of all, it can cover the gap that’s in between the boards …
LESLIE: What, like a threshold?
TOM: Yeah, like a small threshold or a piece of like shoe moulding or something like that.
TOM: Maybe even be something that you have to sort of custom cut. But that could cover the gap and also create an even slope between the two different heights of floors.
Norma, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.