acceptable gap size in new wood floor

iowakateJuly 23, 2011

Hello experts. In my new home 5"wide x 3/4" Prefinshed Maple wood floors were installed. I went over to see them today and noticed quite a few gaps between boards both on sides and end to end. I realize there will be some change with the seasons but thought they would start out without gaps since it is summer now and the dryness of winter has not hit us here in Iowa. What is the acceptable standard for gaps on the newly installed floors in this season. Is there some coin size that closely approximates this standard that I could use to check them? Thanks.

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There should be no gaps side to side or end to end on newly installed floors. Could you be mistaking the eased edges for gaps? If they are truly gaps then it was installed improperly.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 10:18AM
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It is also possible that the tongue in groove profile was not milled correctly and it may have been impossible to install the product tightly. The face that the gaps are on the edges as well as the ends leads me to suspect poor milling as the cause. If that is so, then the installer should have noticed that when installing the product. Or it has nothing to do with milling.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Thanks for the replies. I went back over today and looked and I can easily slip a dime into some of the gaps. I will post a picture if I can later. My final walk through is on Tuesday night. Hopefully, they will fix this for me, but now will have to be after I move in. I close on Wednesday and movers coming Thursday morning.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 7:14PM
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"There should be no gaps side to side or end to end on newly installed floors. "

Only if the wood is measured and known to be above its final moisture content.

If the wood is slightly above it will shrink after installation and can be installed with minimal gaps.

If the wood is drier it will expand and must be installed with at least some gaps.

Without a wood moisture meter to check the floor and the sub-floor there is no real way to tell what is going to happen.

You still have some risk with what the final equilibrium moisture level will be.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 10:05AM
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I could have bored you to tears with moisture content and such but seeing how you saw the job a few days after being layed, no matter how acclimated the floor was to the room or the moisture content of the wood you should have no gaps anywhere that you could drop a dime into unless as glennsfc said, it was milled incorrectly, and then it was up to the installer to see that.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:05PM
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If it is brand new, it it installed incorrectly. For the record, inspectors normally will use a credit card for thickness as a gauge. I believe it is a shoddy job by an installer.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:16PM
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Thanks for all of the expert information. I feel "armed" with knowledge now. The flooring is Century Hardwood/Yardley Maple Collection, 5" , eased edge/eased end. Here is an attempt to share pics.

Here is a link that might be useful: wood floors

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 10:04PM
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That is a BAD install job! It should be redone. Just wondering if they used a nail gun instead of a floor nailer. The boards would not tighten up without the force of a floor nailer behind them.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:45AM
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That's what I thought but wanted to be sure I wasn't being too picky. I have the walk through tonight. Suppposed to close tomorrow. My current home is sold. I have to move out Thursday, no choice. Hopefully, they will just agree with me and have it redone after I move in. Are there wood floor "expert inspectors" that I could insist be hired for an unbiased opinion if they don't agree with me? And have that as an amendment at closing.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:12AM
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You should state an independent flooring inspector...There will be someone who will service your area. may cost 150 bucks for the inspection but that picture makes it an absolute no brainer. It is an installer issue as even if it is a milling problem, the installer should not have installed it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:07PM
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The salesperson came to house today and saw the installed wood floor for the first time and thankfully agreed with me. They say they will make it right and will replace what is needed. One more question. Is it any more common to have improperly milled boards ( not straight) with the wider widths, in my case-5", than with narrow boards?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:18PM
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No! All boards should be milled correctly and by saying that we are not necessarily talking about the "straightness" of the board. Many boards are likely to have a curve in them that gets straightened out during installation with a floor nailer.The milling issues wood be in the planing and routing of the board and would include things like chattering of the surface and tongues and grooves inconsistently cut. There will always be some culled boards but any reputable manufacture will have consistent milling of all size boards

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 6:55PM
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