Can I fill the gaps in a tongue and groove pine floor? - May 28th 2002



Question from Pat in Prince George, BC -----

Dear Shell,

I bought a log cabin with a tongue and groove pine floor that was put in a little sloppy. The spaces in between most of the boards are 1/8th and some a little wider. The floor has a medium brown stain with a varathane finish on it. I plan to drum sand the floor and have the natural pine colour. I'm not sure what to fill the cracks in with. The bigger spaces I was thinking of filling in with small strips of wood perhaps. Could I buy a separate piece of pinewood and sand it and with the sawdust mix it with a paste that you could recommend and fill in the cracks BEFORE I drum sand, or do I have to do this after I drum sand? Would it match good enough, or would I have to sand first and use the sawdust from the floor. Which method would not be as convenient? Could I clean the cracks and fill them in with the polyurethane finish that I would use for the finish without putting anything in the cracks? What do you recommend to fill in the cracks? Should I use a wood filler of some sort? Since this 20 x 18 floor is a cabin that we live in and all the furniture, TV, stove, fridge, couches, stereo, dishwasher, computer is in the one room. The only other living space is just the bathroom and bedrooms. I would like to know if we could do half the room at one time, (sand and put on the finish) so we would not have to move the fridge, stove and heavy hide-a-bed couch outside.

Thank you, Pat

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Dear Pat,

I am assuming you do not live in this cabin all year round. Pine tongue and groove flooring when laid without being properly seasoned and dried to 3%-5% moisture content, will shrink considerably. It is not advisable to use a filler of any kind because the floor will continually expand and contract through the seasons. My suggestion is to sand and finish the floor with a solvent based polyurethane. Consider the current appearance as character.

Itís just that easy