Gaps in floorboards & carpet & felt underlay


We have a small bedroom in a 1936 terraced house in north London. we have decided to go for a new fitted carpet with a natural material underlay. (not rubber underlay, which we suspect might deteriorate after ten or fifteen years or so).
The wooden flooring has gaps pretty much all over up to roughly 5 cm where the boards have shrunk over the years. with a few places with some shortish strips up to 1 cm wide, where the wood has been damaged at some point, probably we guess before laying them down.
We thought we would go for the most basic carpet from john Lewis with a Hessian backing. It's about 20 sq metre. (we know the rubber back underlay deteriorate because the carpet we pulled up and threw out was like a mass of decayed bread crumbs underneath). John Lewis's felt underlay is 4.45 sq metre, their basic carpet is 20 a square metre and the fitting charge is 4.65 a square metre, since I don't think I could fit it myself.
Does all this sound a reasonable choice? And what please is it best to do about the gaps between the floor boards especially the larger ones? Since I would like to sort out the gaps in my own time before the carpet actually arrives. Thanks for any advice.
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monrae fordi wrote:
Snip carpety stuff

It's your money. Pick what you like.

Ideally fit new floor boards but that could be expensive. B & Q do sell floorboards but it's not the cheapest option. You could simply put down hardboard and nail it down every yard or so. This would give you a nice even flat surface. OK it won't look anything special but you are planning on covering it up for the next 15 years so it doesn't matter too much. Personally that's what I'd do. Other options involve fitting floor boards or cutting bits to fit in the gaps, lifting the old floorboards and fitting them together properly.
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Did you make a typo? CM for MM?
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Yep sorry. Should read 5 MM. (christmas sherry)

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The best suggestion that I have seen here or that I can think of it to lay down a very thin layer (6 or 7 MM) of whichever of the following is cheapest in your area: plywood, amazonite, waferboard, chipboard etc. Placed in the large 4' x 8' or standard size in your area and nailed into place.
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monrae fordi wrote:

if the gaps are 5mm they probably wont matter after the carpet is installed. A 5cm gap would be about 2" wide and would need to be fixed.
1 cm gap might be a problem .
A fix I have seen done is to use a router and guide strip to route a groove in the existing flooring and insert a new piece. You cut about 1/3 the flooring depth.
A more common method is to use an underlayment plywood nailed to the flooring.
The prices you have quoted seem very high , but I have only ever purchased really cheap carpet :). Get a couple of quotes and you will soon tell if you are getting fair prices.
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I don't know why the British (I was born in England) are often preoccupied with working with the original floorboards. These were installed while the house was being built. In North America they are often weathered and not intended as a finished floor. They are called a "sub-floor" and the finished floor is installed over it. If you have gaps such as you describe, why not install a nice hardwood floor to cover the poor floor you have. If you want fitted carpeting installed out to the walls, do as the other poster suggested (as is done in North America), install a low cost underlay such as thin plywood, hardboard or other sheet material to cover the gaps so they don't start showing as lines through your carpet.

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"monrae fordi" wrote:

That carpet and felt underlay should be fine in a bedroom. My 1900 semi has similar floor boards (some gaps and uneven in places). I laid sheets of hardboard, nailed down, and sealed the gaps between the skirting boards and floor with sealant, to make the floor level for carpets and to reduce draughts.
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