Sawdust filler?

Q: Can I use the sawdust from sanding to make my own wood putty for nail holes? Making a perfect color match?

A: You can use fine dust from the existing floor for filler. What will you mix it with? I doubt you will get a perfect match, but probably close.

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: If the space between planks is wide can these gaps be filled without ruining the look? Someone told me carpenters glue mixed with the sawdust from sanding can be turned into a paste. This paste is then used to fill the gaps, then the sander is run over the floor again to heat set the glue/sawdust paste. Someone else told me this paste a complete waste of time as wood expands in summer and squeezes out the filler. What is your experience?

A: I think the glue/fine sawdust mix would be worth a try! I have seen the filler get squeezed upward only once, on my own floors! It was only slight however, and did not detract from the look of the floor. How about trying this: Do the glue/dust mix, but make sure it is packed into the gap below the floor surface. After the initial rough sanding, a latex wood filler is applied to the entire floor, and sanded off when it dries.

A more important factor, in my opinion on having wood filler be successful, is eliminating movement between the finished floor and the sub floor. There is a device one can purchase from the big box building stores (I have seen it once, but haven’t tried it personally) which attaches to your drill. After drilling a pilot hole through the floor, over a joist, you then ream down the provided screw which is set below the surface, and then the head snaps off. It can be used with some success for floors with a lot of movement, and it only leaves a tiny hole.

It is true that wood does expand and contract depending on the climate. Good climate control in the home will eliminate this situation, maintaining relative humidity to between 40-50 percent. That means possibly adding a humidifier in winter and dehumidifier in summer. Central air can help also, but not everyone likes central air.

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Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors:¬† We have a water mark on our wood floors from a leak.¬†Previous owner left some oak sawdust for hardwood floor repairs, but we don’t know how to use it. Do you mix the sawdust with oil, water, or what? Please help.

A: The fine oak sawdust was an old style way to fill cracks and holes. It could be mixed with wood glue, lacquer sealers that some use, or polyurethane.

Now there are latex fillers, in different colors to do that job. Unfortunately, this oak dust won’t help you with a water mark. The mark will have to be sanded or scraped out if possible, and new finish applied. If the stain won’t come out, you may need to change the affected boards.

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