Hardwood floors are beautiful but can be high maintenance. Over time, gaps can form, ruining the look of your floors. Calgary weather can wreak havoc on wood floors due to the constantly changing temperatures. Heat makes wood expand, while cold makes it shrink. As a result, floors can crack and create gaps. Luckily, proper hardwood floor maintenance can help avoid gaps from forming. However, if gaps are already formed, there are ways they can be remedied. Here are some tips on wood floor maintenance and how to fix gaps should they appear.
Use a Humidifier
Homes with wood floors should use a humidifier to help shrinkage due to low humidity. Check to see if you have a humidifier on your heating system and if you have one, make sure it is on. If you don’t have one, you can purchase a small humidifier.
Use Wax for Prevention
Waxing floors is a chore, but worth the effort to help protect your floors from cracking. Floor wax fills wood pores providing much-needed protection against moisture. While your floor’s natural moisture is good, additional moisture from spills or leaks is bad. So while the wax stops natural moisture from evaporating it also protects floors from absorbing additional moisture. In most cases, wax is not necessary for newer hardwood floors. Speak to your Calgary hardwood floor expert to find out how to care for your hardwood floors.
A common DIY mistake is to use wood filler or putty to fill the gaps in wood floors. This will not work in the long term, as your floors will continue to respond to changing temperatures and humidity levels in your home. The filler will simply crack and crumble, so really isn’t of much use. Instead, use Flexible Gap Fillers which will remain flexible once they dry.
This is the best solution for narrow gaps and can be applied with a caulking gun and trimmer. To fill narrow gaps:
- Vacuum the gaps thoroughly with a hose attachment to remove debris that will reduce adhesion of the filler to the wood
- Insert the caulk gun at a slight angle to allow for even application of the filler
- Use a caulk trimmer to scrape away excess filler
Be careful not to scrape the wood finish with the caulk gun or trimmer. Allow it to dry completely at least overnight before walking on the surface.
Larger gaps require a different approach using strips of wood that match your floors. This fix should only be used if the room is humid otherwise you could run into issues if the floorboards swell. It also won’t work for tongue and groove floors. To insert the wood pieces:
- Cut the strip to fit the gap
- Apply wood glue to both sides
- Place the wood in the gap
- Use a rubber mallet to drive the strip firmly into the gap leaving a bit of the wood sticking up above the floor
- Let the glue dry completely based on the product instructions
- Use a block plane to remove the excess wood to smooth the surface
If you are purchasing new floors, it’s best to ask your Calgary flooring expert about the best finishes available to prevent cracks and gaps. If you would like more information about Calgary hardwood floors, speak to the experts at Home Flooring today.