We had hardwood floors installed in our home recently. At first, the floors looked great but now there are gaps between the wood planks. What can I do to fix this problem? The flooring contractor says he did nothing wrong with the installation, and refuses to come and check on the problem.
George T. ~ Grand Rapids, MI
George, although most wood flooring naturally contracts and expands throughout the year, it does not seem right that your newly installed hardwood flooring has gaps between the boards already. If your flooring was not installed correctly, or if the wood planks were not kiln dried and acclimatised prior to installation, then it may be very difficult for you to completely hide these gaps. If your home has underfloor radiant heating coils, then the boiler temperature may need to be tempered so that the wood flooring is not constantly drying out. If there is some other issue that is causing the problem, then at the very least your contractor should be helping you find a solution.
Oftentimes homeowners are advised to use color-matched wood filler to plug the gaps in their home's floors, but I find that the filler material usually cracks when the floor boards eventually expand and the results look worse than the original problem. If your wood floors have contracted in width (causing the gaps) it could be a sign that the air in your home is significantly drier than it was when the floors were first installed or perhaps it could be an obvious indicator that the flooring was not fully dried when installed. If you can not get the original flooring contractor to revisit the job, then perhaps you can enlist the help of a reliable flooring contractor in your local are who can inspect the floors and offer you some potential options.