How to Fill in a Space in Hardwood Floor
LESLIE: Next up, we have a flooring issue from Steven in Pennsylvania.
Steven, what’s happened to the floor?
STEVEN: Hi, how are you? I want to let you both know that I enjoy the show very much.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Thanks, Steve.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
STEVE: Thank you. I have a hardwood floor in a dining area that is made up of sections about an inch and a half wide – you know, the strippings?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Uh-huh.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm.
STEVE: And is put together and everything is uniform except for one part of the floor where the space between the left and the right side is doubled out of all the rest of the flooring and it goes the whole width of the floor. When I bought the house, the man told me that’s because there’s an I-beam underneath of this and it’s pushing up on it.
STEVE: So I was wondering is there anything you can think of – somebody told me I should dye a piece of cloth felt and put it in there …
FEMALE: (background) String.
STEVE: Or string and put it in there. But I was wondering if there’s any other thing you could think of that I could do to fill in this space to make it look like the rest of the floor.
TOM: How old is this floor, Steve? How old is your house?
STEVE: The house is less than ten years old. It’s about eight years old.
TOM: OK, so this is fairly modern strip flooring then, right?
STEVE: Oh, yeah. Right.
TOM: OK. Well, you can’t dye cloth or filler or anything like that but what you could do, if you want, is you could cut out the piece of wood that’s near it and then basically custom make a piece of wood that’s wide enough to take the entire space. But if you do that, I will warn you that no matter what happens, you’re going to end up sticking that piece of wood in your floor and it’s not going to match the surrounding floor. It’s going to look slightly different unless you happen to be particularly good with stain and can match it. Because generally when you do a patch in a floor like that, the new wood looks a lot different than the old wood.
I, for example, have an old house with an old floor that we’re presently refinishing and when I first bought this house, this floor was actually worn out in the areas where the doorways were because that’s where most of the foot traffic was. So I had to replace the flooring in that particular area and what I did was use sort of a finger joint approach where I had boards of different length that were cut into the old floor. But you could still clearly see that it was a patch. Gave that area about a year and with the sunlight and exposure, it faded in so now it’s practically invisible. But you will have to deal with the slight discoloration. So that’s kind of your option. If you want to replace it, you’ll have to cut out the old floor and build a piece that fits that space.
The other thing that concerns me though is this pushing up of the beam business. Is this beam in a basement where you can see it? Can you confirm that this is what’s happening or …?
STEVE: It’s a large house. It’s about 7,000 square feet and he’s telling me there’s – he built it to the statutes of California law, so he has I don’t know how many I-beams in the house. And it’s a walkout basement so everything is finished downstairs. I can’t see through the flooring – through the ceiling to see this flooring underneath. But that’s what his explanation to me was. I was wondering if I can go to either side of this and maybe push the board over a little but I don’t think I can because then I make a space on the other side.
TOM: Right, exactly. No, you’re really going to have to cut a piece that’s customized to fit this particular space. OK, Steve?
STEVE: Well, thank you very much for that information.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.