Thin, long slivers of the flooring coming off

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Q: We moved into a home 2 years ago. The previous owner had installed hardwood strip flooring throughout the main level. The flooring may be about 8-12 years old. We noticed that thin, long slivers of the flooring are constantly popping up and coming off between strips, leaving a crevice about 1/8′ wide, and in some places as long as 2′.

Can you tell me if this can or should be fixed, or should we consider replacing the floor entirely?

A: Is this wood filler that is popping out or are the edges of the boards cracking off? A floor this age shouldn’t have to be replaced, but it sounds, especially if this is filler that something wasn’t done quite right at the time of installation and the floor suffered excessive shrinkage.

Follow-up Q: This is the actual wood, not filler.

A: This is an indicator that the floors have been sanded to the maximum and are now too thin. With any movement in the board, or even a humidity spike, very thin edges can break off. The floors need to be replaced.

Related Q: The hardwood floors in my hallway are chipping. I keep stepping on the fragments at night. Is this a sign of water damage? How should I go about fixing the problem?

A: A sign of water damage would be cupping and heaving. Chipping? Do you mean pieces are breaking off the edge of the boards? That can result from a floor that has been sanded too many times, especially when there is significant movement in the sub floor. In a case like that, replacement is in order.

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