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Old 02-12-2014, 11:17 AM   #1
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floor boards separating


a few floor boards in my home (#3 red oak, probably), on the first floor over an unheated crawl space have separated by as much as 3/16 inch - the gap tapers to zero in some cases. it is more or less over a kicked out section of the house, so there could be a structural transition at that point - havent looked yet. house has a high quality dehumidifier and ditto humidifier, so the interior RH is between 40 and 55 percent all the time. not sure if it's thermal expansion/contration, or structural shifting. what is the best way to fill the gap?
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce_hyman View Post
a few floor boards in my home (#3 red oak, probably), on the first floor over an unheated crawl space have separated by as much as 3/16 inch - the gap tapers to zero in some cases. it is more or less over a kicked out section of the house, so there could be a structural transition at that point - havent looked yet. house has a high quality dehumidifier and ditto humidifier, so the interior RH is between 40 and 55 percent all the time. not sure if it's thermal expansion/contration, or structural shifting. what is the best way to fill the gap?
Ayuh,.... How long has it been like that,..??

Does the crack change durin' the seasons of the year,..??
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:40 AM   #3
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uh, dont know, and dont know (yet). if it expands and contracts between now and the end of summer, then i will seek a caulk-type solution. if it stays as is, then a more rigid filler would make sense.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:55 AM   #4
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Wood does not move significantly based on thermal (temperature) changes. Dimensional changes in wood have to do with changes to the moisture content of the wood, which in interior situations such as you describe are due almost entirely to changes in the room relative humidity. Since you say you maintain the humidity relatively constant, there should be little dimensional change in the wood, regardless of temperature.

If you post a picture, with a scale next to the boards that have separated, it would help considerably. It is most important to determine if the movement is continuing, or has stopped. This is easy to determine by measuring the size of the gap over the next few months. Separation such as you describe is probably not due to structural movement, since movement in houses usually shows up in the form of sagging or out of level conditions, not separation of flooring, but perhaps I misunderstand what you are referring to, which is where a picture would really help.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:10 PM   #5
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i *imagined* that expansion and contraction could have been due to temp or humidity for the entire house. the humidifier and dehumidifer are fairly recent, and the house is 20 years old; so it could be an old problem. there is no meaningful sagging. yes, i will "mind the gap"
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:33 PM   #6
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Can you post some shots taken from farther back of that general area? Also a couple of shots from outside if possible. Looks to me like it is a settling issue and seeing that angled trim wood in the back ground suggests that this may be a bay type of kickout on the side of the house
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:16 PM   #7
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it is a kickout including the concrete block structure. snowing right now, so no exterior shots. floor is level across the affected area. i've put the scale on the floor at the wide spot. the gaps get narrower as you get closer to the dishwasher.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:45 PM   #8
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how old is the floor itself.. it may have had too high a moisture content when it was installed..
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:57 PM   #9
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floor is original to the house, 18-20 years. best guess is what you say - shrinkage after installation. sounds like the best bet is to chip out all the existing filler (visible in some of the close up photos), reinstall new filler and varnish... AFTER the summer cycle, to see what' is going on.
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