Split in a Wood Floor
LESLIE: John in Alabama, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: I’ve got an eight-year-old house that’s built on a crawlspace and right down the middle of the house, lengthwise, I get a seam or a split in my wood floor.
TOM: OK. And what kind of house do you have? Is it a ranch?
JOHN: Yeah, it’s a ranch-style house.
TOM: OK. And right down the center where you have the split in the wood floor, might that be right above the main girder?
JOHN: I would say that it is. If it’s not right above it, it’s very close.
TOM: OK. Because what often happens is this. Where you have a girder, you have floor joists that cross the girder on both directions and they overlap a little bit. And then those floor joists will sag and if you can just imagine, as they sag, they tend to sister up a little bit at the ends and actually lift right above the main girder. And in doing so, it puts a little bit of pressure on the floor and that can cause gaps to form as a result of just the normal movement of the floor structure.
JOHN: OK. So, is there anything that I can do about that?
TOM: Not really. It’s pretty much normal movement in the house and, in some cases, I’ve seen it get kind of nasty looking. And if you have big gaps in floors, you can fill them with jute and then finish over them and that tends to sort of hide it a bit.
But how old are the floors?
JOHN: Eight years.
TOM: Oh, that’s not bad. Yeah. So the floors were added after the house was built or the floors were added when the house was built?
JOHN: The floors were installed when the house was – eight years ago.
TOM: So the house is eight years old, yeah.
TOM: And you haven’t seen any other evidence of movement?
JOHN: No. Nothing.
TOM: Yeah. I suspect it’s a result of shrinkage and a little bit of settlement on the part of the floor joist. That’s why I asked you about the girder, because when you say it’s going down the middle of the house, that’s a really common place and I’ve seen that happen many, many times.
JOHN: OK. So, I guess the answer is just to kind of live with it and …
TOM: Yeah. I think the answer is you chalk it up to charm. (Leslie and John chuckle)
JOHN: OK. Well, I appreciate it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright? Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
You know, I mean he could fix it but it would involve him tearing up the floor and sort of adjusting where the boards are. I just feel like it’s kind of overkill for the benefit you get out of it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it really isn’t a big deal.
TOM: No. He’s probably the only one that notices it. (chuckles)
LESLIE: I’m sure and it’s probably driving him crazy.