Boards appeared to have shrunk

Q: I just moved into a new house (built in ~1969), and I’m preparing to paint the walls and redo the floors. When I removed the lower wall trim along the floor-wall boundary, I found that many of the floor boards appeared to have “shrunk” (one board end was already visible before I removed the trim).

Is this really “shrinkage”, or just a bad installation job way back when? And what can I do to “extend” the boards, so they terminate well beneath the trim when I finish painting?

A: It could have been an installation error, or work may have been done after the floor was installed, moving walls back or installing thinner trim, thus exposing the board end. Strip usually shrinks/expands from side to side, except for quarter sawn, which can do this end to end.

You may have to cut the board back and install another, or if it is only a tiny gap, use wood filler.

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