Filling gaps in pine floors and planks

Q: We have pine plank floors in our century home and they all seem to have developed gaps up to 1/4′. What do you suggest to filling gaps in pine floors, so all the misc. floor things (dust, etc.) don’t buildup?

A: You might consider a product such as this:
You no doubt will have to tint it to get it to a close enough color to match the pine floors.

Filling gaps between long planks

Similar Q: Is there a product that will fill gaps between the long planks for a polyurethane covered floor, that can be applied to a large area? Using wax sticks seems like it could take days to apply. I’m wondering if a colored paste wax might do the trick? Any help appreciated.

A: You could apply a product such as from Final Touch with a putty knife or trowel. You would have to wipe off the residue from the finish before it dries with a damp cloth, and you would have to apply stain or finish to the gaps after it dries.

Can polyurethane fill the gaps between pine boards?

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: We purchased our 1930’s home about a year ago. We ripped up carpet from the entire living room, a connecting hall, dining area, and bathroom! Underneath we found red pine flooring all throughout, in alternating plank sizes. It was in really good condition. We recently got it completely refinished and stained dark. Unfortunately, the dark stain really shows the gaps in between the planks and all the crumbs/dirt they catch! We asked our floor guy about applying the 4th layer of urethane to help fill them out. He advised us not to since it is softer pine, but I am really considering going ahead and doing it on our own. Our idea is to apply it thick enough to help fill in the gaps, which aren’t really all that wide, is this a bad idea?

A: Yes, bad idea. Finishes have a recommended spread rate and for polyurethane, it is generally 500 feet per gallon. It is not meant to be a gap filler and won’t work as such. You would be better off to use a wood filler in the gaps, then buff the floor and apply another coat at recommended spread rates.

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What to put in between the boards

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: We want to put down wide pine board planks in our living room. The regular boards, not tongue and groove. What can I put in between the boards so stuff won’t fall in the cracks? We just want that old time flooring look with the cracks. We just cannot afford tongue and groove.

A: You could have the floor sanded and filled with a latex filler. The filler will stay in as long as there is no movement between the boards. I know my next comments are unsolicited, so please forgive my intrusion, and simply disregard these questions and comments if you like. Are you sure it would not be money better spent if you just saved until you could afford a solid 3/4 tongue and groove hardwood floor? You surely are not getting these pine planks for free!

Pine, as you know, is very soft and will mark easily. It is also subject to extreme shrinkage, and you will need to have it in your house and well dried and acclimated before you install it. I heard of a deal on 3″ and 5″ select and better oak for about $3.50 per sq. ft. That is a pretty decent price for something that is going to last your lifetime. Installation and sanding/refinishing are extra, of course. If you feel you could handle the installation, then you would only have the sanding and refinishing, which is really not something a novice should attempt. I hope that helps and gives you something to consider.

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Filler for pine plank

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I have 6-inch old pine plank flooring in my living room. (100yr Victorian house) which also is the subfloor. The planks are close to 3/4 inch they are nailed into the joists. There are large gaps that vary between the planks. I would like to know the following please: 1) Is there a filler out there I can apply to fill the gaps between the planks? 2) I want to sand and refinish these floors, but I’m worried about the nails ripping the sandpaper. Would you recommend I punch the nails through and re-screw the planks to the joists before sanding? 3) Would I apply the filler before I sand? 4) Being a living room, what sealer would be best for such a traffic area?

A: It sounds like this floor is surface nailed and is not tongue and groove. Definitely, countersink the nails before sanding, at least 1/8th. You can use a latex filler to fill the holes. As for the gaps between planks, if they are quite large, perhaps you can rip some thin strips of pine on a good table saw to bang into the gaps. If they are not that big, then use the latex filler instead, but you will likely have to fill them more than once. Oil-based polyurethane is a great finish for these floors and will accentuate the color of the wood. 3 coats minimum.

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