FREE SAMPLE ISSUE FREE NEWSLETTER DIGITAL ISSUE PREVIEW

Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    On the shores of Georgian Bay
    Posts
    4,121
    Real Name
    Ryan

    Default Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    I've been hired on to refinish a rustic pine floor. The boards are 12" wide, and most go the full width of the room. They're in relatively good shape, and the sanding and re-finishing should go smoothly.

    The only head-scratcher is some bad gaps between the boards. The owner installed this floor himself a number of years ago, and I suspect the boards were not dry enough when he did it. Subsequent drying and shrinkage left gaps between many of the boards, some as big as 1/4", maybe even 5/16".

    Someone made a previous attempt to fill these gaps with (white!!) caulking, which did not turn out too well. The caulk shrank and pulled away from one side or the other, and most of it has since rubbed off.

    The owner mentioned "some small gaps" on the phone, and I suggested we might be able to fill them with epoxy - something I've heard done before, but never done myself. Now that I've seen the floor and seen just how many gaps there are and how big they are, I see that it would be quite the undertaking to do that much epoxy filling! Even one board at a time, it would be tough to get it mixed and applied within the set time, and I'm not sure where even to procure that much epoxy!

    Anyway, I'm open to any and all suggestions you guys might have.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Golden, BC, Canada
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    With the seasonal variations of the home's humidity, and noting that it was likely installed as 'wet wood', the gaps will likely close up in the more humid season.
    If you fill them now, it will very likely 'pop' when the next season arrives.

    I think you'd be wasting your time and material.

    How tough will it be to remove that caulking?
    Please remember that free advise from the Internet is worth what you paid for it ...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    Those boards are going to continue expanding and contracting with the seasons. Clean out the caulking and leave it.
    Powder to the People

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Seba Beach, Alberta
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    I did some floors with "cottage grade" pine. I did not have a problem with cracks in the joints, but did with knots, and in a few cases with boards that were bent, and cracked across the grain when I straightened them. These were 1x6 T&G.

    I used epoxy with a colored filler so the flaws became features, kind of like Microsoft stuff.

    You can get epoxy in various sized containers. Lee Valley sells up to 39 oz in WEST system , but I have bought a gallon can for a canoe.

    I can't comment on how the idea would look in straight lines. I liked the filled knots, but they were random features, sort of like like Microsoft bugs.
    It ain't the things you don't know that get you in trouble. It's the things you know for sure that just ain't so.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Milton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    832

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    I wonder if some kind of chinking material would be able to stand up to that application?????? Chinking for log homes needs to bond to the logs yet have some degree of flexibility, just a thought.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    South Shore Nova Scotia
    Posts
    2,126

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    Consider the type of flexible Caulking used on boat decks. Do a Google for more information: There are many different types. Some comes in caulking tubes

    I have seen some old wide board pine floors that had been refinished. The gaps were quite wide [ 1/4 inch ] and had been filled with caulking of some kind. Exactly what I do not know.

    A site for caulking:
    http://www.sika.gr/PDF/eng/Sika%20Wo...System_ENG.pdf
    Last edited by Egon; 11-06-2010 at 07:14 AM.
    Egon
    from
    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    South Shore Nova Scotia
    Posts
    2,126

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    Consider the type of flexible Caulking used on boat decks. Do a Google for more information: There are many different types. Some comes in caulking tubes

    I have seen some old wide board pine floors that had been refinished. The gaps were quite wide [ 1/4 inch ] and had been filled with caulking of some kind. Exactly what I do not know.

    The gaps were used as a feature of the floor and looked good.
    Egon
    from
    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    St George, Ontario
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    I believe Tom Silva on Ask This Old House did a segment on exactly what you are facing. He sanded the floors down and refinished them leaving the gaps. He then used some sort of hemp rope (the brown coloured one) and dipped it in stain and then forced it into the cracks. He said something like that the rope wouldn't come out of the cracks as the seasons change because there was flexibility in the rope. It might be on their website as a video.

    Hope this helps.

    Stephan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Sudbury
    Posts
    1,788

    Talking Re: Filling gaps between boards on a rustic pine floor

    Callee,

    There is nothing more worse than caulk shrinkage during the cold season! Seinfeld did a documentary on this same issue back in the 90's!

    Does you customer want their floor to look like perfectly machined hardwood flooring? They will NEVER get that with an old, wide pine floor. I have 2 x 8 pine flooring in my house and it expands and contracts at least 1/8" seasonly - leaving gaps up to 1/4". I would never consider filling the gaps with caulk or epoxy for two reasons - I think its a short term solution and I think it ruins the look of an old floor.

    The hemp rope solution is what has been done for hundreds of years. I didn't do it in mine, but may do it down the road. For now, I tolerate the gaps, and vaccuum them when needed.

    I believe it was Confuscious that wrote: Good stiff rope fills cracks better than shrinking caulk!

    Max
    "Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

Similar Threads

  1. Rough-sawn pine boards
    By brucemclean in forum The Swap Meet
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 10-16-2010, 08:10 AM
  2. Laminate floor is cupping and gaps. Installation issue?
    By keysermtl in forum Home Improvements
    Replies: 58
    Last Post: 02-12-2010, 06:43 PM
  3. Filling in the gaps (or glue-up frustration)
    By Erron in Arnprior in forum Woodworking
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 08-14-2008, 10:06 PM
  4. Shelf grade pine boards
    By Bill Stuckey in forum Woodworking
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-17-2007, 09:40 AM
  5. Staining a Pine Floor?
    By Dave in Markham in forum Finishing and Refinishing
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-11-2004, 10:25 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •