Filler that won’t crack?

Q: I was wondering if you could help me with a flooring wood filler cracking / polyurethane issue. My floor was professionally refinished 1 year ago and was to have a ‘worn’ look to it. We left many gaps and wanted only to fill the gaping holes and to make the entire house seem uniform in its’ ‘old world’ floor appearance.

One year later, however, the filler has separated in several areas, causing an open space for debris and dirt to land. The floor had 2 coats of Poly, but these gaps do not appear to have any poly stopping dirt from entering into the cracks.

My question – The floors still look great and we like them to look old and worn, but we wonder if these gaps are going to soon cause problems or if this is a refinishing issue that should not have appeared so soon. Is there something we need to do, like apply more poly, or is this just typical wear for wood flooring?

A: The only wood filler (I know of) which makes boasts about not cracking out is Timbermate. As robust as this product is, it also can separate if there is shrinkage of the floor, which is what it sounds like has happened to your floors. This has nothing to do with the sanding-finishing job that was done. You might want to buy a color match tube of Color-rite filler/caulking to try. Polyurethane is not a gap filler.

Related Q: Can I fill gaps in a 120-year-old heart pine floor, without the filler cracking?

A: I’ve never found a product for joint filling that won’t crack if there is movement or vibration. I think I would check out some companies that specialize in log homes to see if they have something suitable to use. After all, it is similar to chinking except this is on the floor, not the wall.