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How to Manage Gaps in Old Flooring

August 11, 2020

old wood floors with gapping

Have you looked down at your hardwood floors recently and noticed those pesky gaps? Don’t panic! They are pretty standard in older hardwood flooring. The gapping occurs because the wood dries out over time, causing it to shrink down a bit and leave spaces between the wood planks. These spaces, or gaps, can cause severe damage down the line if they aren’t taken care of properly. Maintained hardwood floors can last a lifetime, but unfortunately, they won’t last forever.

Why is Gapping Bad?

If the gaps don’t bother you, you might wonder why it matters. The main concern of gapping for homeowners is the appearance. Gapping can make your flooring look uneven and unappealing. Additionally, the gaps collect dirt and dust, and cleaning your floors becomes tricky as the dirt gets stuck in the spaces. The flooring also can become hazardous; people can trip on the gapping and injure themselves. But more importantly, gapping that isn’t maintained can cause significant issues in your flooring down the line, and you shouldn’t wait to get it checked out.

Real wood floors are prone to gaps. Wood swells when it is heated and fills in the gaps so that you might see more space between boards in the winter than in the summer. If this is the case, you probably don’t need to worry about it. If you see the problem year-round, you should begin making changes.  

How to Prevent Gaps in Hardwood Floors

Prevention is the best cure, so let’s go over how you can prevent spaces in your old flooring and help them last as long as possible.

  • Humidity Levels – Wood flooring needs a particular climate to stay in its best shape. The recommended humidity level for your home is between 35 and 55 percent. Maintaining this humidity level will help your wood flooring look its best and refrain from gapping or warping. You can find out the humidity level of your home by using a Hygrometer.
  • Cleaning Methods – Make sure you are using the right method to clean your hardwood flooring. Never use a steam mop, which can seep into the boards and cause warping. Instead, try one of these DIY cleaning solutions to keep your floors sanitized and looking new. 

If you are using the preventative methods above and your flooring still has spaces, call us today. We specialize in hardwood repairs and are here to help your floors look their best.