We've just moved into a beautiful victorian house with exposed
floorboards. However, they need refinishing and there are big gaps
between them. What is the recommended way of filling these and should
it be done before or after having them re-sanded and varnished?
Suggetions i've had so far have been:
- Papier mache
- strips of cork
- 'some sort of paste/woodfiller'
We plan to make wooden slips to fill the larger gaps and possibly to
staple old carpet to the roof of the cellar which runs under the hall
to provide a bit of insulation.
None of the other suggestions have come from anyone who has actually
tried them. Suppliers of any specific materials would be appreciated.
"anthony james" wrote
| We've just moved into a beautiful victorian house with exposed
| floorboards. However, they need refinishing and there are big gaps
| between them. What is the recommended way of filling these and should
| it be done before or after having them re-sanded and varnished?
| Suggetions i've had so far have been:
| - Papier mache
| - strips of cork
| - 'some sort of paste/woodfiller'
After sand and before varnish, I would have thought.
Suggestion No 4 (although I haven't actually done it either) is to lift and
relay the boards. You will probably need to poach a couple of matching
boards from an adjacent room which is going to be carpeted to complete the
job (so that new boards are not fitted somewhere visible; I'm not suggesting
you take floorboards out of the bedroom and lay a carpet over the gap hoping
the sag doesn't show).
Some friends of mine used frame filler sealant.
Many hands make light work Too many cooks spoil the broth
I used this too, acrylic frame sealant, natural ( i.e. wood ) colour. I only
found one product that was labelled as "natural" and this was made by
Dow Corning; it comes in a standard tube as used for those "gun" type
applicators. I packed the gaps with twists of hemp before I used the sealant
but that was very tedious and I doubt it was necessary.
Lol. I've seen it done actually. :)
Re the OP's question, I would have thought that filling the cracks is
never going to look anything like as good as relaying the boards close
together. If youre going to go to the trouble of filling you might
just as well relay them. You dont have to actually lift them, on the
whole, they can be unnailed and slid across, knocking any gunk off the
edges before renailing. Use those ringed nails, annular ringed I think
theyre called, and for any that dont lay flat use screws.
Always fill in with used boards, using new ones looks really bad.
Asked the same question of a carpenter friend some years ago. He advised
the relaying close together method. He also advised "wait until the end of
September, the boards are at their dryest & smallest then. I wasn't
prepared to wait nearly a year, bottled and got a professional firm in who,
wierdly I thought, filed the spaces with mastic after sanding. Ten years
later when I left the floor still looked good.
Having now had a good search through previous posts on google (which i
really should have done before posting as it's obviously a regular
question) i'm coming to the following conclusions:
- relaying is probably best. BUT it's too much effort as the boards
are already sanded and polished (but many years ago) so they're really
solidly nailed down. moving them would do a lot of damage (although
we've got to lift a few to do some wiring).
- looking at the floor as it is and thinking what i've seen elsewhere
most filler solutions end up lighter than the prevailing floor. At the
moment the gaps look black so we're probably going to go for
Black/dark brown mastic, with wooden slips in the really big gaps,
string in some of the others and a thinner layer of mastic over the
top where this is done.
- insulation would be good but means lifting the whole floor so we'll
probably go no further than the areas we can reach from the cellar (ie
the hallway but not the two big rooms which will be stripped.) Rugs
over some of the floor will help.
Any final comments as to why these decisions are going to be a
With all due respect, in a modern heated house, this is complete tosh.
Wood inside a house is at its driest around February/march, when the air
is cold outside, gets raised substantially by CH and this gets its RH
lowered to an all time low. ALL my floorboards welled over the summer,
and are now shrinking back.
This of course in complete contrast to EXTERIOR and unheated wood, which
does, in fact, shrink in dry hot weather and expand in the winter..
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