Over time, you may notice gaps appearing in your hardwood floors. The formation of small spaces between planks is often a normal quirk of this beautiful, natural material. Many homeowners worry about gapping, however, so to demystify the issue, here are the four most frequently asked questions on the topic.
Top Hardwood Gapping FAQ
What causes floor gaps?
In most homes, gapping is caused by fluctuating humidity. Wood’s porous nature allows it to absorb atmospheric moisture. In muggy summers, the wood will expand from the relative saturation. In the winter, however, your heating system will cause the moisture content of the air in your home to drop, so the wood will contract. The shift should be minor, or no larger than the edge of a dime. If you’re able to insert a coin in the gap, however, it may be a sign that the material is inferior or was improperly installed.
Are some woods more prone to gapping?
In general, hardwood that was installed during spells of high humidity may gap more noticeably. Additionally, solid hardwood flooring is more susceptible to this issue than engineered options. The grain pattern and size of woods can impact their absorbency. Choosing materials such as yellow pine and white ash can lead to less warping than oak or hickory.
Do gaps cause problems?
While crevices generally don’t pose a safety issue, they can be aesthetically irritating. They make it harder to clean, since the grooves trap dirt and debris. Extremely wide openings can also make it more difficult to retrieve small objects, such as lost earring posts. Lastly, broad divides between planks sometimes presage other, more serious moisture issues, such as buckling or cupping, which may pose tripping hazards.
How should I address them?
As noted above, small gaps are natural and don’t require any action. If they’ve grown to the point that they’re unsightly, work with a contractor to repair them. Aim to have this service performed in spring or autumn, when humidity is moderate. Whatever you do, don’t remedy the gaps with wood filler. It will crumble and be pushed out as the planks expand in humid conditions.
If you’d like to correct a gapping issue, turn to Rochester Hardwood Floor. They’ve offered high-quality materials and installation throughout Monroe County, NY, for more than two decades. With their range of finished and unfinished options, you’re sure to find a pick that fits your design scheme. These experienced and knowledgeable professionals will help you achieve long-lasting and beautiful results. Call (585) 377-7800 to discuss your project or visit them online to view their full list of offerings.