We live on the 4th floor of a pre-war, 1935 apartment building in NYC. On one outer wall, the oak floor is separated horizontally about 1/2" from the wall/baseboard. The floor is also little sunken all over the apartment, but that's not the issue. It looks like floorboard is missing, but its technically not. The wall is flat but must be pulling away. There is even an area where an ancient paper, dry-leaf-like material even sticks out at times! (see 2nd pic) What is that????
We've lived here 7 years with this problem, but i cant tell if it's getting worse or not. I just cant live with it anymore.
The white stuff in the cracks is boric acid i poured in after we started getting a waterbug vistor every night at the same time. The boric acid stopped it, thankfully, but it draws your eye right to the area.
The heater is just to the left of this area, and the floor and wall do get warm in one part. However, the area that has the biggest separation from the wall does not get hot at all, and is always cold to the touch.
I have zero DIY skills, and I dont even know who to call to fix this. Does it need "diagnosing" first? or will any "floor specialist" be able to fix this?
I want to know:
1) What is the world is holding the floor up, because when i shine a flashlight down, there doesnt seem to be anything connecting the floor to the outer wall!
I used to fill this crack with a piece of cardboard because its a perfect color match, but once a piece started falling in ( no subfloor here??), so i pulled it out, except for a piece in the corner.
2) Is this dangerous? Or can i just get something to fill this in?
3) How would i get a filler material like wood ( or cork?) to stay in place if theres nothing beneath it? I dont want to start ripping up my floor because one thing always leads to another in this building! And i'm sure there is lead paint underneath a few layers on my baseboards.
4) Could that ancient papery material sticking out be toxic/dangerous in any way? Anyone know what it is? I think my walls are lathe.