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ntrainer

02:06AM | 12/16/02
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
Bvflooring
Six months ago, we purchased our first home. There are a few squeaks in the (hardwood) floors, but this was expected. What we didn't expect was that during the winter, gaps would begin appearing between floor boards in many rooms.

I've read that this is caused by the lack of humidity inside homes during the winter months, but the home has a humidifier attached to the furnace. In any event, my question is this: at what point should I start worrying that we need to perform serious repairs on our hardwood floors? How large do these gaps have to be before we should deal with them? The gaps weren't visible during the summer months... does this mean we shouldn't be concerned?

oldhaus

03:36PM | 01/09/03
Member Since: 12/06/02
3 lifetime posts
How old is this house? Did you ask the previous owners?

What is this flooring on top of?

I have more questions (for now) than answers...

please provide more information.


ntrainer

03:55PM | 01/09/03
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
Asking the previous owners is of no help at all. I've asked them all sorts of questions and... let's just say they're "hands off" homeowners. We have heating problems in the basement which they told me they solved by adjusting the registers; there's no way that's true, since I tried to adjust the registers and was still left with a 5-7 degree difference between the basement and the rest of the house.

Which is to say... let's not talk about the previous owners. But I'll try to answer your questions.

The house was built in 1959, and I believe the floors were never replaced, although they may have been refinished at some point because they're generally in good condition. They're probably oak (based on color, grain, etc.)

As for what the floors are built on top of, I'm sad to say I don't know how to answer that.

In any event, please tell me what you know about how large the gaps between floorboards should be before I should get worried about them.

JayF

04:32PM | 01/09/03
Member Since: 11/19/02
59 lifetime posts
All wood swells and contracts with varying levels of humidity as the material seeks to get to what we call equilibrium moisture content. Humid weather will probably see the boards butted up tight to one another and dry weather (winter, when the house is all zipped up and you're running the heat)will promote shrinkage of the boards. How large are the gaps you're talking about? An eighth of an inch? Sixteenth? One inch? And what type of floor is it? Tongue and groove?

ntrainer

01:44AM | 01/10/03
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
I'm not a home repair expert, so I don't really know whether we've got tongue and groove flooring. I assume because the planks are staggered and because they're real wood, not laminate (I've drilled down in a closet to re-set a door), these are tongue and groove floors. But truly, I'm not sure.

As for the spacing of the gaps, some of the gaps are as large as 1/8"; there are a few of these in quite visible public areas of the home (i.e. dining room, foyer). But they don't get larger than that.

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