Let’s get one thing out of the way: hardwood flooring is durable. Able to last decades with the proper care, it definitely is called the “king of floorings” for a reason! That being said, no flooring type is immune to damage, even when it reaches the top of the durability charts, so to speak; if you notice your solid hardwood flooring has sprung a hairline crack, you’ve no doubt learned this firsthand.
So what should you do? Is your prefinished hardwood flooring salvageable? What caused the crack in the first place? E Hardwoods & Flooring, where you can buy hardwood flooring online, is here with the answers below.
Cracks and gapping are not the same thing. Gapping refers to spaces forming between individual floor pieces thanks to insufficient humidity; cracks tend to be the result of physical damage, which is usually impact-related. You can’t handle the two issues the same way because one is systemic and one can be, but is not necessarily so.
Cracks also differ from buckling, which describes boards swelling with excess humidity to the point of becoming convex.
Patching up a small crack is as simple as buying a tub of wood putty. Though it’s not suitable for larger problems, as in that case it’d be quite noticeable, cracks that are less than an eighth of an inch wide can usually be filled and sanded down if needed. Be careful not to wreck the finish of nearby boards!
If the crack is larger than that, it’s usually required that the board is replaced, simply due to the fact that it’d be obvious if it were to be filled with putty. Splintered boards, too, require replacement if they aren’t otherwise filled, as wood in any form certainly is sharp.
If you’ve recently dropped something heavy on your hardwood flooring or dragged a huge piece of furniture across it, you certainly know what not to do again! However, not all hardwood cracks originate from a clumsy misstep. If, for example, the humidity in your house has rapidly changed, it can lead to hardwood planks splitting near the seams.
Indeed, all sorts of things can cause a split, so if you can’t pinpoint the incident that did, check out your air’s moisture content, the age of the flooring, if there is too much space between boards, and how much its protective coating has been worn down.