I live in a mid-1800s house, which I plan to sell this Spring. The original (I think) wood flooring has gaps between the planks, some pretty sizable (photos follow).

Is there any good fix for this? I've seen people use wood filler/epoxy, and it didn't seem to turn out well. Perhaps doing that and painting/dying it black might work better.

I've heard the "old" solution was to pack those spaces with rope, but I don't think that would look better than the status quo.

Any suggestions?

Photos, big gap:

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Medium gap:

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Small gap:

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I think those gaps in the floor are part of the charm of old wood flooring. I definitely would not slosh epoxy all over them. I guess it partly depends on the style of the house and the type of buyer you're trying to attract. Original wood flooring may be attractive to some people if it's restored nicely.

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    I agree. It isn't like the wood was "broke" and needs fixing. This is how it was laid. You either like it or put something over it. – DMoore Mar 15 '14 at 4:44

you might be able to make some shims, and stain them to match, but frankly I don't think it'd turn out well... but best bang for buck is a juggle between fix it properly (which'll cost a mint but up your house value), cover it up if you think it's that bad, or leave it. Some people will find it to better demonstrate it's "antiqueness"


I have a house just like this.

We do all of these:

  1. fill with wood filler - definitely doesn't look great - no matter what folks say

  2. leave - but then you get bits of paper and crap in them so you have to vacuum

  3. spend some time putting a piece of pine wood in there with wood glue - it won't match at first.

Note, don't stain a piece of wood you put in. Just get some pine and put it in. It will darken over time to match.

Also, your floors will look awesome if you get them sanded and varnished...


I have seen flooring experts for old homes using different sizes of rope in the gaps. They actually dye or stain the rope to match the floors and then glue them into place. I have seen the results and I have to say that it looks good and adds character.

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    OP specifically states they have reservations about this method. Maybe you could post some pictures of the finished technique. Otherwise, I think I'd personally have a hard time trusting a stranger on the internet saying, "Trust me, it'll look good!" – Doresoom Apr 30 '15 at 14:15
  • That kind of rope chinking is indeed a very traditional solution; you can get material specifically made/sold for the purpose. (Websearch quickly found at least one brand.) I haven't done it so I can't give any specific advice. I would suggest checking with the local historical society to find out whether this was common in your area and what materials would be appropriate. Or leave it and suggest that the buyer might want to do a historically accurate restoration of this sort. – keshlam Jun 28 '15 at 1:52

I have the same issue in my early 20th century home. When we had the floors refinished, they used wood fill for the gaps. It does not hold up over time - perhaps only 2-3 years at best. Our gaps are not wide enough for rope. There is no subfloor (the floor is attached directly to the joists below), so I do have direct access to the underside of the floor from the basement. I have decided to use black round window spline of various widths as a "backer rod" in the gaps along with Gorilla Tape (rated stickier than duct tape) to seal the gaps from below. Not sure how long this will last, but this should prevent dirt/dust from filtering down through the cracks and will eliminate the basement light from peaking up through the gaps as well. Inexpensive, tedious, DIY project - I'm hoping for a minimum of 5-7 years. I'm planning to cover the taped areas with a removable ceiling in between each joist due to a low ceiling height in the basement.

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