Gap Filling With Wood Slivers
When to fill, how to fill, which techniques are best and what are the benefits of gap-filling? It is one of those topics that must be discussed thoroughly or not at all. Wood is naturally hygroscopic. It can attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment. As a result, wooden floors lose moisture and shrink during the winter and expand with the arrival of summer. This constant movement during the seasons can lead to the appearance of gaps or even worse - warp the wood and cause the floor to buckle.
What is Gap-Filling?
Gap-filling is an excellent way to fill any spaces left between your floorboards. There are several ways to go on about it but the two most popular choices are by using a filler resin (stand-alone or mixed with sawdust) or by using wood slivers (you can even make them yourself instead of buying). Other options include papier mache, PVA glue and sawdust but this article covers the slivers method exclusively so we are not going to discuss those methods further.
Why Gap-Filling Is Important?
Gap-filling is not simply about improving the look of your wooden floor but is also an effective way to deal with draughts. Most of the houses in the UK have air bricks at ground level and allow constant air movement below your floor. Filling the floor gaps will ensure that the warm air will stay in your house during the winter and save you a lot of money on heating bills. In addition to all of this, gap-filling will not only increase the overall stability of your wooden floor but also improve its appearance. In the end, gap-filling is not just a cosmetic procedure but a welcome and practical solution.
The Benefits and Downsides of Strip Filling
The best use for wood slivers is when you have very large gaps on your floor (around 4-6mm). This method is considered to be the best option for such cases because the strips are permanent feature while the resin, for example, can crack and fall off. One of the downsides is the fact that the slivers tend to split sometimes. Once glued, these strips limit the movement of the floor when it does its seasonal adjustments. The best way to prevent this from happening is by using reclaimed wood slivers. Also, keep in mind that compared to the resin method, strip filling will be more expensive and will take longer to be completed.
Gap-filling With Slivers
If you are having wider gaps in your wooden floor you might like to fill them with wood strips. That would make the gap-filling more resistant and durable.
It is important to note that the resin filling is done after the sanding because it uses sawdust accumulated during it. It is not so with the strips – they are best applied before the sanding begins. The slivers themselves are usually made out of reclaimed pine. Pine is a softwood and has the perfect properties for the purpose.
As a rule, the slivers also have to be a tiny bit larger than the gap between each of the floorboards and, of course, of similar depth. The glue of choice has to be applied on the sides of the floorboards before inserting the strip between them. This is done by hitting the sliver down into the gap with a soft mallet or a hammer. Proceed until all the gaps have been filled and then give the glue an hour to dry. A fine sanding after the procedure is over can ensure that no part of the strip is sticking above the rest. Congratulation! The strip-filling is completed!