Gaps in Wood Flooring: Fill with Jute
LESLIE: Jackie from New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you?
JACKIE: Oh, I live in an apartment in Manhattan.
JACKIE: And it’s a very old building. And my problem is my floors. The slats have spaces in between and I don’t know what to do to fill them in.
TOM: Jackie, is this a strip floor or a parquet floor?
JACKIE: I think it’s euphemistically called parquet (Leslie chuckles) but it’s less of it.
JACKIE: It’s been here since the 1920s and it’s thin, you know.
TOM: Yeah, and you know it’s a grand old floor at that age. But they don’t wear too well and they’re very difficult to maintain, as you’re learning, because over the years the wood shrinks.
TOM: And it’s very, very difficult to find any repair material whatsoever unless you happen to build it. I would say if you’ve got a floor that’s really, really deteriorated where the pieces are coming up, then you may have to do some replacement. If you have just a few loose pieces, they can be reglued with a contact cement. In terms of the gaps around them, I’m afraid that there’s not a lot that you can do about that because that’s just normal shrinkage. So if it’s really, really terrible you’re going to have to replace those sections.
LESLIE: And you know what you can do, Jackie. If you find some areas where the space is, you know, large enough for you to get a heel in there or you’re finding that you’re tripping up and you don’t want to replace or you can’t because of a rental situation, you …
JACKIE: It is.
LESLIE: Yeah. You can – and I know that floor you’re speaking of so well; having had many Manhattan apartments myself (Jackie chuckles) – you can – you can take jute, which is a natural rope, and get one that’s many threads sort of twisted together.
LESLIE: Jute. J-u-t-e. And it’s in the home center. And get one that’s many layers of rope sort of twisted together to become that one piece of twine. And you can unravel it til it becomes sort of that matching thickness to that gap between the wood planks on your floor.
JACKIE: Ah. Uh-huh.
LESLIE: And you can dip it in some stain that’s similar to the finish color of the existing floor and then take a five-in-one tool or, you know, a …
LESLIE: … a spatula of some sort and shove it into the space between.
TOM: Press it down there. Yeah, good point.
LESLIE: So it sort of …
JACKIE: What a great idea.
LESLIE: You know, it’s not going to crack out like a wood filler would and it’s going to, you know, at least take your eye away and your foot away from the tripping hazard.
TOM: Jackie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.