Large slivers of wood have broken off leaving big gaps

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Q: We purchased a foreclosed home and it had water damage on the hardwood floors. We have been here 5 years and within that time large wood slivers have broken off leaving big gaps. We were told that nothing could really be done because of the heat expanding it, that it will continue to get worse. Before we go ahead and tile I would like to try and save these floors. I love hardwoods, but can’t afford to put in all new flooring.

A: I suspect the edges are breaking because the floor has been sanded too many times and the stress of the water damage (which does swell the wood) was just too much for the floor. If there is a lot of flex between the oak and the sub floor that would put even more pressure on these thin edges when you walk over those areas. It depends how many areas have splintered as to weather it is worth trying to keep. I have used a polyurethane adhesive in such gaps. It does hold the 2 boards quite well, but expands as it cures. So you would be wise to tape the floor along and around the gap first. This adhesive is in bottles from Home Depot. It’s not the thick adhesive in cartridges. This is moisture cure polyurethane adhesive. Also, you will have to cut the excess away flush to the floor with a sharp knife when dry and spread some wood filler over top of it to try to colour it and fill the air pockets it has a tendency to leave.

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