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I am looking for the best way to fill some small gaps left between flooring and wall in new house, see image. Guessing the previous owners installed the flooring themselves hence why the finish is not always right against corners and walls. The floor is still close to new so definitely don't want to be relaying it.

Gaps are no bigger than 1cm. Was thinking of either caulk or silicone but have read that silicone is easy to do badly and very difficult to cleanup and correct. Caulk easier to install but less flexible and liable to crack.

Any tips greatly appreciated.

enter image description here

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    where is the base molding / 1/4 round? – dandavis Oct 30 '19 at 17:11
  • Looks like this might be around a door frame (see upper right), so 1/4 round here would stop door from closing. – Marc Bernier Oct 31 '19 at 13:29

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Wood flooring is usually installed with a gap to the actual wall - this is important, because it allows for differences in expansion/contraction between the flooring and the materials used to frame the building. If you tried to make a perfect tight fit, the floor would either buckle, crack, or pull away from the wall.

The gap is typically covered with trim (molding) when finishing the room after installing the flooring.

Problems arise when people try to install new flooring without replacing the trim. It looks like that's what has happened here, since it appears that your flooring is butted up against the trim, not the actual wall itself. The most common method of dealing with this is to install more trim, up against the existing trim - typically, a piece of quarter round molding as seen in this photo:

quarter round molding

It appears that the photo you've posted shows a door frame. For cases like this, where a quarter round would block the operation of the door, it's typical to undercut the existing molding so the new flooring can be slipped under it. Here's a photo of a piece of flooring slipped under an undercut door jamb:

undercut jamb

Of course, in your case, it's too late to undercut the jamb. Unless you're willing to rework the door there may not be much you can do that won't run the risk of looking like a hack-job. I would be tempted to cut small pieces of the floor material and lay them in the gaps (leaving them free-floating so they can move with the floor). Or, you could use small pieces of flooring cork (or any cork, really) or even foam rubber. Once the gap is filled, your eye won't pick up on it as easily. Caulk won't be easy to get a good looking finish with, and will likely shrink or pull away in a gap that large anyways.

If you do try to fill the gap, make sure it's with a material that can still allow for movement of the flooring.

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  • Thanks for the detailed reply. Would you be tempted to try something like this? wood-finishes-direct.com/product/bona-gap-master it gets good reviews, says it is flexible and can be used on holes of the size I wish to fill – Joseph Haynes Oct 29 '19 at 15:19
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    That looks like just another acrylic caulk. Honestly, it's really up to you if you want to try it. The gaps look pretty big, so it might end up cracking or shrinking. And it might be hard to get a good smooth surface appearance if you're not used to working with caulk. But if you are going to try calk, that product is probably as good as any. – dwizum Oct 29 '19 at 15:23
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    quarter round +1. aka, base shoe molding, which goes against the base molding. – Mazura Oct 30 '19 at 2:48
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    @Mazura: quarter round and shoe molding are similar, but not the same thing, though people often mean shoe molding when they say quarter round for applications like this. If the gaps are big, though, actual quarter round will give you more coverage, but it's less flexible if the floor is uneven. thecraftsmanblog.com/quarter-round-vs-shoe-molding – Bloodgain Oct 30 '19 at 19:29
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    I agree with this answer and have used the "flooring slipped under an undercut door jamb" technique in my own home. To add to this a potential quick fix which will look less unsightly to the gaps is to simply use flooring cork. It comes in thin strips and can pack the gaps, it certainly won't look perfect but nicer than the gap. – Alex KeySmith Oct 30 '19 at 20:46
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What I would do is take up and replace that area. You should have some wood left over from install--check your attic or garage. Installers usually leave a box for repair because the color dye lot will never be the same over time. If you don't have any then remove some from a closet or under staircase or pantry. Replace that area with plywood or a flooring of your choice.

No caulk will work. Caulking doesn't cover gaps that wide and it appears there is a never ending hole, as in no subfloor there. If not, wood putty and stain or paint.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 30 '19 at 12:27
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I got some wood putty. Then I took a piece of the laminate to Lowes and had them color match with a sample size paint. I sanded the wood putty and painted. You can't even tell unless you are right up to it. I am struggling to add a picture

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    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Post the URL of a picture, and someone will be along to edit it in. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 30 '19 at 2:33
  • Click edit. Put the cursor where you want the pic. Click the icon of mountains. Now C&P the URL, or browse your computer. – Mazura Oct 30 '19 at 2:44
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You should be able to buy some rectangular strips of cork from the shops that sell laminate flooring. Cut some squares and put it in the holes. This also allows the floor to expand.

I had to do this when I put some flooring up to a banister and had no neat way of putting edging over the space.

Cork expansion strips: enter image description here

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Very simple. If is a door frame? Get a dremel tool and cut the bottom of the frame carefully so you can place the flooring and around the walls remove the old baseboard or place a brand new one like it was mention before to cover the small gap left by the flooring.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 30 '19 at 14:02
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Baseboard for the areas where it won't interfere with any door. It looks like you'll have to do a couple of miters but it will look loads better than caulk.

Unsanded grout caulking where baseboard is not possible. I would use caulking instead of putty because the caulk can flex.

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In this case I'd try the grout. Caulk has a shiny finish to it and it would stick out like a sore thumb. You can get grout in many different colors and have a better chance of matching the color,or at least getting closer to matching it. I'd also use painter's tape or masking tape over the actual wood so you don't get the grout residue in the wood grain. You don't want to fill in all the cracks because the floor has to expand and contract bit, just fill in the over cuts around the door frames. If you're creative, you could even try to add some grain lines into the grout when it's almost hardened. I'd use the sanded grout and would mix it stiffer than normal. Good luck

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  • Using filler against a floating floor, which is likely to move in all three dimensions, isn't a good idea. It'll always and forever look like it's falling apart. – isherwood Oct 30 '19 at 16:23
  • @isherwood With all due respect, the OP originally asked how to "fill" the square gaps. The OP stated he didn't want to be relaying it. I gave him a way. – JACK Oct 30 '19 at 17:06
  • You did, and I don't think it's a good way. Grout is almost certain to crumble in that situation. – isherwood Oct 30 '19 at 17:28
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I would try wood putty. It comes in many different shades and colors. It can be found in Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 30 '19 at 10:51
  • Using filler against a floating floor, which is likely to move in all three dimensions, isn't a good idea. It'll always and forever look like it's falling apart. – isherwood Oct 30 '19 at 16:23
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You can use a tile grout with a similar color to the hardwood or laminate flooring. Small bag cost around $15 and can be found at your local hardware store or any tile supplier.

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    Using filler against a floating floor, which is likely to move in all three dimensions, isn't a good idea. It'll always and forever look like it's falling apart. Also, this has already been suggested in earlier answers. – isherwood Oct 30 '19 at 16:24
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Get a small tub of window glazing. Its a putty you can form a ball of in your hand. Press it into all gaps . leveling not important just be sure its not bulging above. And putty knife it smooth. Let it harden up for a couple of. Weeks. Then take auto body smoothing cream for scratches. Its at any auto shop and walmart. Tube is squeeze and its red. Wet. And pink when dried sanded. Sand. All the spots. Have paint mixed to match primary color. Use a black felt tip pen to create grain lines . works without fail.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 30 '19 at 10:52
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    Using filler against a floating floor, which is likely to move in all three dimensions, isn't a good idea. It'll always and forever look like it's falling apart. – isherwood Oct 30 '19 at 16:23

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