Gaps in Hardwood Flooring
LESLIE: Spring is in the air and everyone has a cleaning question. Jim in Oregon wants to know about cleaning hardwood floors.
Jim, tell us about it.
JIM: OK, not clean the hardwood floors. What I have is the house was built in 1924 and it had carpet onto it. So we took the carpet out and we found out we have real nice hardwood floor underneath it. But I’ve got gaps in my hardwood floor where two boards butt up together or even down the sides. They’re about 10-foot-long boards and they might be close together on one end, close together on the other end, but I might have a 1/2 to 1/8-inch gap in the center of these boards.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Right. OK.
LESLIE: And you want to fill them or clean them?
JIM: Fill them. I thought about taking a vacuum cleaner and cleaning them out real good but I don’t know what to fill them in with; if I use pieces of wood or – to get rid of those gaps.
TOM: Jim, there’s a technical term to describe this condition.
TOM: It’s called charm. (Leslie and Jim chuckle) OK?
LESLIE: Yeah, but what happens when your heel gets caught in the charm? (chuckles)
TOM: Well see, that’s something guys don’t know about, see, because we don’t wear heels. (chuckles)
Jim, I don’t think it’s a good idea to fill those gaps in. I’ll tell you, I live in an 1886 house that’s got hardwood floors and we have gaps in this floor which, over the years, have collected dirt and then there’s finish on top of it and things. But you know what? When it’s all said and done and we refinish the floors, those gaps are really part of the charm that make the floor up and it’s part of the character of the building. And one of the nice things about hardwood floors is that the older they get, the better they look. And so I would not recommend that you put anything in there. In fact, I can’t imagine what you would put in there to fill those up because it would just …
JIM: Because someone had filled them in once before and every time you sweep it just peels right back up.
TOM: See? Exactly. See, if somebody put a finish in there or filler in there, that’s just going to crack up and become like chunks of filler and it’s just going to be the disgusting. So I would scrape all that stuff out and leave it just like it is and enjoy it. And if you’ve got a particularly bad, distressed area, put a throw rug down there.
JIM: OK. OK.
TOM: Alright, Jim?
JIM: Well that’s good. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome and thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.