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Recent home purchase with new hardwood floors throughout. The kitchen used to be vinyl sheet flooring which was also replaced with solid hardwood.

Problem is, the contractor installed baseboard and quarter round in the enclosure where the refrigerator goes. I had to detach the baseboard and quarter round to make it fit.

Now there's a rather large exposed gap where the floor meets (or doesn't in this case) the wall.

I'm thinking of filling with 1x2 furring strips and sealing. After all, it doesn't have to look pretty. It won't be visible at all behind the refrigerator. It just needs to fill the gap. Would this work? Or is there a better approach?

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If it is behind the refrigerator and it cannot be seen there is no real need to fill it. The gap is actually there to serve a purpose. If the floor is in fact real hardwood the wood is going to expand and contract with humidity and temperature. When the wood expands it need to go somewhere and if there is no gap then what would happen is the floor would buckle.

Floating type floors like Pergo and some engineered flooring also require a gap between the wall and the flooring. This is because the floor floats (moves) so it also needs a place to move about into. when dealing with the latter kinds of flooring there are spacers that should have been placed between the wall and the flooring to keep the flooring from separating at the seams but have a flexibility to them.

The only reason why you might consider filling that gap is because of a possible leak occurring from your fridge. The leak can come from either a water leak from the ice maker or something like the condensation pan under the fridge overflowing. If the gap is not closed up in a manner that is water tight water could makes it way back there into the gap and end up underneath your hardwood floor. if that happens you may never even know that there is a problem until it is too late the the flooring ends up needing to be replaced and possibly end up with damage to anything under that area.

Clear silicone in a tube is what I would use to full the gap. It will not impede the movement of the wood and it will close up the gap and not allow any moisture to get into it. Use Painters tape to tape off the wall and also the floor before putting it in. and once it is in and before it has cured remove the tape. Have a roll of paper towel handy to clean up any mess and make sure to have a garbage can within arms reach to dispose of the tape.

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  • The possibility of a leak and pests are actually the two reasons I wanted to fill the gap. It is true solid hardwood (not engineered, laminate, etc). I know it expands and contracts but the gap in the rear section is about an inch from the wall. For comparison, down the length of the same wall the space they left between the floor and wall is about a quarter of that. That is to say, the gap is large enough that I'm afraid that silicone would just spread and pool under the wall and not actually fill the gap. Apr 18, 2023 at 12:11
  • @isntThisAPickle, attach a pic to your question. We can't see what you see. Maybe some foam backer rod is needed, but the answer provided is excellent.
    – RMDman
    Apr 18, 2023 at 12:45
  • You don't contain leaks with hardwood flooring. The joints are not sealed anyway. That's not a valid reason to try and make your kitchen a bathtub. If leaks are a concern, use a drip tray.
    – isherwood
    Apr 18, 2023 at 13:17
  • You know, the baseboard and quarter round deal wasn't leakproof either...
    – Huesmann
    Apr 18, 2023 at 13:35
  • not trying to make it a bathtub. didn't know the gap was an inch wide either. make me wonder how 1/4 round covered it?..
    – user165826
    Apr 18, 2023 at 13:53

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