Mind the Void: What Causes Gaps in Wood Floors

Hardwood flooring is so common in many average-priced homes that we don’t think twice about it. This wasn’t always the case. When builders first began to use it during the French Baroque period, only the wealthy could afford hardwood paneling.

Still, replacing your floors with hardwood is a considerable investment. You want to be sure it’s done right the first time. So when gaps in hardwood floors appear, it may seem like your wallet is in for a beating.

Do you have gaps in a hardwood floor after installation? The causes always tend to be one of a handful. Keep reading as we diagnose the underlying cause of your particular hardwood floor gap.

Mind the Void: What Causes Gaps in Wood Floors

What Causes Gaps in Hardwood Floors? 

Hardwood floor panels should sit perfectly flush with each other. You shouldn’t be able to stick even a fingernail between them. Dust and water shouldn’t gunk up the divide, either.

If there is any gap whatsoever, it tends to have one of these causes:

  • A bad flooring job
  • Moisture under hardwood floors
  • Fluctuations in temperature and humidity

Let’s examine these causes and their fixes one by one. 

A Bad Flooring Job

This is usually the case when there are gaps in a new hardwood floor. Simply put, the handyman may have botched the work. It happens sometimes, especially with cheap labor. 

If you need to fix the gaps in your hardwood after poor construction, then prepare for some bad news. You’ll need to rip it up and realign or replace it. Sadly, this issue has no simple or easy fix.

Moisture Under Hardwood Floors

Moisture is the most common issue. Wood is absorbent, and loves to suck up water and moisture. When it does this, it can create gaps in the flooring.

There may be a leak from a pipe or appliance. Moisture may gather in entryways, bathrooms, or humid basements. In most cases, removing the water can save your panels.

Fluctuations and Temperature and Humidity 

As seasons change, hardwood may expand and contract. This is totally normal behavior. In fact, installers will account for this by creating small gaps to allow size changes. 

If it becomes problematic, though, the issue may be the wood. Wood that lacks proper treatment or acclimation may expand or contract too much. Unfortunately, that would require a complete replacement.

How to Prevent Gaps

There’s a lot you can do to prevent these pesky gaps. Try the following: 

  • Apply a protective layer to the hardwood
  • Make sure to remove all moisture immediately
  • Fix leaks immediately
  • Place a dehumidifier in particularly humid rooms

Hardwood floors can last for decades and often look better with age. Proper care is often the best way to make them glow long into their tenure.

Fix Your Hardwood Gaps Today

Gaps in hardwood floors can be an alarming symptom that may crop up out of nowhere. In most cases, this is an issue of moisture and humidity that you can fix. In some rare situations, though, the contractor did a bad job and it needs replacement. 

Follow our blog for more ways to fix your home.