Helpful Tips On How To Fix Hardwood Flooring Gaps

With passaging time, the hardwood flooring gaps and even the plank floors gaps develop between the boards because wood loses its moisture and shrinks. This gap problem is also very common when boards are not tightly laid during the installation process. Another cause of gaps can be water. If water is logged into the wood, the wood first swells and then shrinks. It seems that the wood is drying out.

Wood flooring installed below the furnace room most particularly develops gaps. These gaps not only detract from the appearance of the floor but also collect dirt. This will ruin the beautiful hardwood floor. There are some gaps that can’t be filled, but most gaps can be filled using different methods.

If your hardwood floor also has gaps, then this blog is going to be a perfect solution for filling the gaps in the floor. So let’s get started and discover the most impactful methods of filling the gaps in the floorboards.

Should You Fill Flooring Gaps?

You must know that all the flooring gaps are not meant to be filled. If you are noticing the gaps in the flooring in the dry season and not in the humid season, then the wood flooring is shrinking in winter and the gaps will automatically fill in the summer.

If you fill these types of gaps, then in winter the wood has no space to expand in summer and it will create a problem for the hardwood flooring gaps. So leave these gaps to fill naturally. With time, the wood becomes old, and it shrinks, so we can see the gap in summer.

If the flooring has gaps in summer as well, then you can fill those gaps because in summer the flooring is in its expanded form, so the gaps in the floor are real.

What You’ll Need | Material

The tools and materials that you need for the filling of flooring gaps are mentioned below:

Tape Utility knife
Table saw Putty knife
Cloth Bucket
Hammer Screwdriver
Sandpaper Vacuum
Matching hardwood Jute Rope
Cardboard Wood stain

All this material is not used in one method. You can select the material according to the method that you choose for the filling of gaps on the hardwood floor.

3 Methods To Fill The Hardwood Flooring Gaps

There are 3 primary methods that can be used for the filling of hardwood flooring gaps. These methods are.

  1. With Wood Strips
  2. With Wood Putty
  3. With Rope

1. Fill Floor Gaps With Wood Strips

Fill Floor Gaps With Wood Strips

In this method, use a table saw to cut the narrow wood strips to fill in the hardwood flooring gaps. For the wooden strips, you can use the leftover flooring. If you don’t have it, then buy the wood of the same species or use matching pieces of hardwood lumber.

Cut The Strips Of The Wood

In the first step, measure the length and width of each gap in the floorboards. Set a table saw carefully and then cut the strips of the hardwood according to the measurement of the gaps.

Try to cut the wood from the groove side so it will be easy to fit them in the gaps. In this manner, the groove of the strip can be fixed in the floorboard’s tongue, and the gap is filled.

Point To Ponder: Use of a table saw requires specific skills, so when cutting the strips on the table saw, you must be careful because it can be dangerous. Always use safety measures before cutting. Take help from an expert if needed.

Glue The Strips And Fix Them In Place

After wooden strips cutting, now it’s time to fix them into the floor gaps. Apply the wood glue on the sides of the stripes, and then place them into the gaps. Tap the strips with a mallet or hammer so they completely fit in the place.

After filling the gaps with the strips, remove the excess glue from the wooden floor with a damp mop to keep the surface clean/clear.

Sand And Stain

Now it’s time to make your floor smoother, so apply sand to the floor to make it smooth and comfortable to walk on. Use sandpaper for this purpose.

After sanding, you can now stain or finish the strips so they perfectly match the hardwood floor and never look odd. Apply the stain to the wooden strips so they can give a similar look to the entire floor.

2. Fill Floorboard Gaps With Wood Putty

Fill Floorboard Gaps With Wood Putty

Fill the floor gaps with wood putty is also a very common method for filling hardwood flooring gaps. This is not a reliable method for large gaps but is used for the filling of small holes in the flooring. The opening of gaps again in the dry season is also possible with this method.

Clean The Floor

The first step in this method is to clean the flooring. For the cleaning of the floor, use a damp mop and clear both sides of the gaps completely so there are no dust and wood particles in the gaps.

Apply Wood Putty

Applying wood putty does not involve rocket science, so you can easily apply the putty without taking help from an expert. Fill the gaps with a fine bead of putty. For applying wood putty, fill the putty in the hole, and move the fingers in a circular motion so the putty can reach the depth of the hole.

When you notice that the wood putty is filled in the holes, use a utility knife to remove excess material from the floor. Be conscious of the surface of your flooring so you will not damage its finish.

Tips: Always select a wood putty that is almost similar in color to the color of your hardwood flooring so the holes never get prominent. If you can’t find a putty of similar color, then you can mix two to three different shades of putty to make an ideal color according to your floor.

Clear Floor Again And Let The Putty Dry

After scratching the extra putty, now use a damp mop to clean the residue from the floor. Please take care of the filled putty so it will not pull out again from the holes with any force. Now let the putty dry so you can again walk or run on the hardwood floor.

You can also use varnish or finishing after the putty gets dried to give all the gaps the same finishing as your flooring has.

3. Fill Floorboard Gaps With Rope

Fill Floorboard Gaps With Rope

This is the traditional method of filling gaps on the floors of old homes. The rope method is used in large homes. Using natural fiber rope is necessary, such as jute or cotton rope, because synthetic rope never absorbs stain and you have to stain the rope according to the color of the hardwood floor.

Clean The Gaps

In this process, clean the gaps first, so there is no dirt or dust in them. For the cleaning of gaps, use a flathead screwdriver to scratch all the putty wood from the gaps.

Always make sure that you are not damaging the corners of the floorboards while closing the gaps because it will create another problem for you.

When you have scratched the dust and putty, now use a vacuum to clean the gaps. Repeat the scratching and vacuuming until the gaps become completely clear/free from all the debris.

Stain The Rope

Now, in this step, stain the rope carefully. For this, take a rope that is slightly wider than the hardwood flooring gaps. If you cannot find a wood stain that is an exact match to your flooring color, then choose the nearest matching color.

Pour the stain into the bucket and then put the rope into this bucket carefully so all the sides of the rope will completely dip into it. Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes in the bucket and then pull it out and let the excess stain drip back into the bucket.

Now take cardboard, spread the rope on it carefully, and leave it until the stain is dried completely.

Note:If you are using an oil-based stain, then you should remember not to expose the rope to direct sunlight or heat because it can ignite the rope and will be dangerous to your home.

Fill The Gaps

Now, after preparing the rope, it’s time to fill the gaps in the wooden flooring. For this, use a putty knife and fit the rope in the gaps forcefully to fit in the gaps easily. Stop forcing the rope when it is slightly above the hardwood flooring surface.

Now trim the rope with a utility knife to make it clean and good-looking. After placing the rope in the gaps, now use urethane or clear varnish to make the rope hard as the hardwood flooring. You can also use wood glue in the gaps before placing the rope in them to secure the rope in the gaps.


You now understand everything about hardwood flooring gaps and how to fill them. We have mentioned the three most popular methods of filling the gaps. You can use any of these methods to make your floor look as new as it was before. Best of luck with the filling of the flooring gaps.

FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

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