Should 1/16 inch gaps between boards be filled with wood filler?

Q: I have a newly unfinished ash wood floor with 4 1/4 planks. I want to use a water based polyurethane finish – 2 coats of sealer and 2 of finish. In the winter there are small (1/16th”) gaps between some of the boards when the heat is on. Should I use a full trowel filler, water based wood filler? With 4 coats of sealer on it, will the filler pop out in the summer when the humidity goes up?

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Dark shadowy spots appearing in wood floor

Q: I have engineered hardwood floors (Robbins) which are about 20 yrs old. We have dark spots on the floor. They kind of look like shadows. We were told it’s moisture coming through the cement slab. We were told that we could try refinishing them in a dark stain to hide them. But, I am wondering, will the floor be rotting and should I be concerned about mold?

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What type of finish do you recommend?

Q: I am going to try your advice and sand and finish a few of my 6″ pine floor boards (the whole board) in a few areas where the finish has worn through and then buff and recoat the rest of the floor. When you suggest applying a thin layer of finish and removing the tape quickly, what type of finish do you recommend?

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Installing hardwood or laminate on top of a parquet floor

Q: In our lounge, dining room and hall we have hardwood parquet floors. The floors were installed when the house was built circa 1962. We have lived in the house for over 30 years and to the best of our knowledge all the above have been carpeted for decades. The parquet floor appears well adhered to the substructure, but there are sizeable gaps. We have been strongly advised not to put a solid wooden floor or a laminated floor on top of the existing parquet floor. Should we accept this advice and if not are there any things we should be aware of?

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Build up of oil soap and filmy greasy prints

Q: I have hardwood floors in my kitchen that have been down for 8 years. I have always cleaned with oil soap. I have never had any issues until about 2 weeks ago! Footprints, dog prints and my son’s wheelchair are leaving filmy, greasy residue. I have cleaned with water, vinegar and water, vinegar and dawn dish soap. The prints are gone but are right back when you walk on it. It gets worse the more you walk on it. I bought Bona, didn’t help, it’s doing same thing. At my wits end. Thank you.

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Cleaning up grimy reclaimed wood (and not using a power washer!)

Q: I reclaimed 500 square ft of Douglas fir from an abandoned building. It has black grime in the tongue and groove. I’ve tried numerous tools and the best thing I have found so far is a toothbrush and elbow grease! Can I power wash it? If not, what do you suggest?

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Sticky refinished floors 3 weeks after coating

Q: We had our wood floors refinished (sanded, stained and polyurethane top coat) about 3 weeks ago and our floors still feel sticky. It’s driving me nuts. I’m cautious about what cleaners are safe to use, I’ve seen mixed reviews about homemade cleaners with vinegar. What can I do to make sure we aren’t tracking the top coat everywhere, including our new carpet!

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Lung-irritating adhesive odor lingering after one week

Q: We recently (one week ago) installed a engineered wood floor over existing particle board with mastic and nails. There has been a lingering odor that is irritating to the lungs. The wood itself is low VOC and has no smell. It must be the glue or mastic that is curing, etc. Is this a common problem and will the smells abate in time?

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Best finish for Douglas fir

Q: We milled second growth Douglas fir in 2016. We are sorting through the pile of full dimension 1×6, to send 2000 away for kiln drying, planing, and t&g’ing for flooring. It is not all edge grain, but a mix of edge and face. We’re wondering about a finish.

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