Q: How do I fill the gaps between my floorboards? – Bob, London, England

A: Tom Silva replies: That depends on the floorboards that you're talking about. If you have strip flooring, it's pretty difficult to fill the voids because filler products will usually pop out. This is because the wood shrinks and expands with the weather, and the filler gets so beat up from the movement that it starts coming out. Wider floorboards in older houses ? in the Milton House, for example, where the wood is antique and 12 to 18 inches wide ? also shrink in the winter and you do get a lot of drafts. But what they did long ago is they actually took rope ? jute rope ? rolled it tight, and jammed it into the joint. So we did the same thing. We took rope, put it between the joints, stained it to match the floor, and now, when the wood expands and contracts, the rope shrinks and gives, comes back and forth so there are no gaps. And visually, the rope doesn't jump out at you, because it's stained to match the floor.

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