How to Fill Gaps In a Wide-Plank Wood Floor | This Old House

General contractor Tom Silva shares ingenious tip for plugging floorboard gaps. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)
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Shopping List for How to Fill Gaps In a Wide-Plank Wood Floor:
- Natural rope of various diameters, used to fill gaps between floor planks
- Wood stain,
- Wet/dry vacuum, used to collect debris scraped from floor
- Latex gloves
- Bucket, or staining rope

Tools for How to Fill Gaps In a Wide-Plank Wood Floor:
- Putty knife
- 5-in-1 painter's tool
- Utility knife, used to cut rope

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How to Fill Gaps In a Wide-Plank Wood Floor | This Old House
How To Fix Home Repair
149 комментариев
I fill my cracks with dog hair and toe jam stained with coffee.
Buckhorn Cortez
I can see none of you has ever caulked a deck or planking on a wooden boat.  That's really what he's doing.  You can still purchase oakum, caulking cotton, and cotton caulk wicking for different size gaps in decks and planking.  The problem with any type of hard filler is that it will crack at the edges where it meets the flooring from expansion / contraction of the wood and movement from walking on the flooring.   Ultimately, it will break up into small pieces.  Cutting filler strips is nearly impossible as the width of the gap is variable over it's length.   You need something that will move with the floor - the rope will do that.   That's why oakum, and cotton caulking is used on wooden boats, it's flexible.
Once again... beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  If I ever jammed rope in our wood floor to fill cracks, my wife would go ballistic... 
Dewey Hudson
Outrageous! Why not just use peanut butter?
Commn Sense
If someone did that to my floor that rope would be around their neck.
"What do you guys think?"
"I think it looks great!"

there's better ways- GATTA BE
Sarabjit Riar
If I did this - my mom would start crying:(
Sukhwinder Singh
Good idea! I used this trick for leaky pipes too.

Boe Dillard
The guy - "why the hell didn't we just carpet? I don't want to constantly work on this f'n floor."
William Smith
I think I will just go ahead and tile over the whole floor. The video really turned me off the idea of trying to fix gaps in floor boards.
Fredrik Rambris
If you want to go full boat style you could pour on hot tar in that gap too (over the rope). Don't know how it will work inside but it lasts a long time outside on boat decks.
This is great way to fill those cracks and if it doesn’t work you could always hang yourself with it.
thank you! I have a wide plank floor I am redoing and was wondering what to do about the gaps without using epoxy to fill them.
What the heck is this kind of video making. You did not zoom at the end of the video on the wood surface to show how it looks like after you were about to finish .
nameirakpam dhananjoy
Incomplete video ,can we use gum for fixing thread
I actually like this idea, i used the caulk and not that impressed, with boards with this larger gaps i like the difference, of rope and wood, old with old style.
why not just use oakum? its what boatbuilders use
Iman rahimi
cool stuff :)
for electrical/Aircon work in WA call 0401935569
Mr Sandless AU Brisbane
Or just use Sikaflex Polyurethane Sealant. If its a deep gap you can fill it with rope first.
Patrick LastName
It looks great??????? REALLY...LMAOROF, you gotta be kidding right?
The Period Home
that's a cool idea but I wonder what it would look like after 12 months.
mustafa alam
I was about to say.. Why not wood filler??
now Tom, I can tell by your work and actions I have saw on other vids, and TOH episodes.. you in my opinion are top notch,,,  and I been in this buisness bout as many decades as you,,,but come on now,, rope in the cracks????
did you have a bad night before you did that vid,,lol,,,, no coffee that morning???,  but rope????
now you can do better than that.
Cholly Figoletto
For a very old house, this would be how they did it back when and there's probably no better way. They used ship lap joints or just butted the boards together. No fanct tongue and groove milling. For a modern house...get some new Home Depot floors.
I used rope to fill cracks between floor boards in a previous house, a Cape style relocated from Massachusetts. I got a natural fiber rope as thick as the widest cracks, and as the crack narrowed, just removed some of the strands. It looked pretty good, it sealed the cracks and it eliminated the drafts coming from the crawlspace beneath. But another possible method might be to use a router to even the width of the cracks their entire length, and then install strips of wood which could be stained the same color as the floor. More work than using the rope, which does have some historic validity, but also a more "modern" looking finish.
Dillyn Leake
That’s so sh****. Thanks for the tip
Fuzz Zeballs
dont use your hand get a light hammer you may easily dammage the nerves in your hand irreperably
Bad Xerge
My greatgrandmother had this kind of floors, they just left the gap under, it would crack when you walked on it and if the light was right you could see the sand under the floor.
Paul Valente
Just buy a nice carpet problem solved
Ineke S
It works in combination with a filler, first rope and cover with a wood filler or car bog
W Martin
He should have used cheese whiz! It stains well, and it will get harder than rope over time. Rope a Dope.
Charles Damery
That must be a Shiplap floor, like on the old sailing ships, it would make sense since New Englanders were the fiercest whalers in the world.
they should use the rest of that rope to hang him for what he did
This show has been losing the plot.
Clay Cool
I suppose you could then fill it with your filler and sawdust mixture OR leave as is..
z moore
I would try brown caulk OVER rope
I would have cut a thin strip of wood to fill in that crack and glue it in with flexible caulk. To me, it looks like rope got stuck in the crack by mistake maybe by a little kid.
Lauren Highfill
This is the flooring we have...and let me say its a pain! No wood filler, or any other fancy fix has worked..why? Our house is 150 years old or more and so it moves. The wood expands and shrinks. Now if you live in a climate that you have dry warm weather all year round you might get away with a wood filler but here you won't...what happens? It gets cold and it cracks and if your lucky enough to have kids they will pick at it day and night and what your left with is not pretty. The rope is a good idea for those large cracks. I'd much rather push the rope down on occasion. The many spots that have cracked on ours have left it looking terrible...wish I had some rope to push back in. 'Flexible epoxy' is not as it sounds and it has cracked for us too so this would be a good solution. One thing I am wondering though is why a flexible caulking wouldn't work...I'm not willing to experiment though.
terrible idea...i wonder what he smoked right before he came up with something like that !!!
Leanne Archer
This is beautiful. I am from a long line of fishermen, and they would love this. And since I just bought a 200 yr old house with wide plank floors, I will be doing this!
I had to check the upload date.. Yet no 1st of April..? If a pro came up with a rope to repair cracks in my wooden floor i would give him one more chance to be serious or get out of here.
I think Ben Dover and Phillip McCrevice could have done a better job.
Doc Riley
that type of rope will grow mold when wet
Chris Mckeehan
Toms first video
Viztag Kuul
I mean....I've seen this done before and it actually looks good, but I'm pretty sure the rope would start to rot if it got wet.... Maybe this was a trick he knew about for a while and really wanted to show off?...
Steven Rivera
What the he'll did I just watch😂😂😂😂
Ryckygee Garrigosa
Did I see this correctly, ,and this guy is an expert, please ask somebody , like a Hardwood Floor Guy ,,
Back yard water leak
Joe Alvarado
Maintenance? Replace rope as needed...
Shawn Ballee
I have a penny to replace that old blown fuse
Billy and Johnny
John Snooks
Im a frayed knot.
Rob D
Wood filler would be a better option..
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I'd rather fill my gaps with dirt.
Mike Builds
That’s a unique one.
Asheville Glamping I watched this video two years ago and did it in my house. Here was the problem- the width of the cracks in my pine plank flooring was not evenly spaced throughout. I knew that going in so I bought a few different rope sizes. It was a major fail looked terrible and they didn't stay in place. I just actually got up from the computer to look around and see if any of the rope was still in place. It's all gone. Back to dog hair and dirt which we just vacuum up. With another floor that I have painted I used caulking and that actually looks great (only because it's a white floor with white caulk) the floor is actually deck boards (it's a tent platform).
USAGeorge Pa.
Ugly and sloppy patch job that belongs in a wood shed...This is what is called shoddy work in my book.
nothing wrong with that great trick nice work those gaps are well gone
Fabian Morales
Thats what you call a Mickey's Mouse Job lol
Ron Wells
Really! ... it'll pop up. This is a joke.
Joe Guzman
Fiberglass resin will 1000% better
David Scott
that's the wrong way. Should have cleaned them and swap them out and leav that's the proper way.
Sia Nas
That is ridiculous
No NameGiven
Carpet whole area... cracks gone.
James Gatsby
Andy Sanders
wow. what?! this is hilarious. I was looking for a fix, not a cheap ghetto rig. "here throw this rope in the crack!"
Nicolaus Johnson
Very disappointed..... You all are WAY better craftsmen than that,, stop selling yourselves short!
Mr. Larry
Ha, ha...terrible!
bushman wannabe
Lmao wtf. Woodglue and saw dust would even be I better fix.
Madden Scrubs
You should be embarrassed for posting this let alone thinking this was a good solution
Rediscover Film
Looks awful.
I beg to differ! It IS rocket science if you happen to have wide gapped pumpkin pine flooring in your rocket ship.
Jose Herrera
Rope !!!! Hell no they make floor filler for that know!
John G
lol no , looks terrible
Matt Havens
stupidest thing I ever saw....
I don't like it, why because who wants to be constantly pushing the rope back down into place as Tom mentions the possibility . Why not cut strips of  similar wood and placing into the gaps as you are sanding the floor and then coat the whole thing in one step. Otherwise live with the "Rustic gaps " .
nicholas torres
Just terrible! What the hell were they thinking!?
The Velo In The Vale
That looked hideous ... horrible solution ...
Rosie W
It looks awful!
White Tara
David Anderson
He wore what looks like vinyl gloves to dunk the rope in the wood stain. Chemicals travel perfectly well through vinyl gloves. What he should be using instead is Nitrile gloves.
rope? you filled a gap in the floorboard with a peice of rope? rope... holy wow
Omfg, the point of filling the cracks is not for cosmetic appeal; it's to seal the flooring so that you don't have mold, mites, insects or other wildlife colonizing the dark/humid crevices under your floorboards. Rope is just gonna accelerate that, because who knows where the f it has been? I DO know that it's wet, so let the mold diaspora begin, I guess!

Use a silicone sealant to fill the damn thing. Or just leave it as it was; even that's better as it's easier to clean/vacuum.
That is the dumbest thing I I have ever seen
"Filling Floorboard Gaps With Rope
Filling large gaps with natural-fiber rope is a traditional method commonly used on wide plank floorboards in very old homes. While the rope doesn't look like wood, you can stain it to blend with the floorboards, and the filled gaps are much less noticeable than the dark, empty gaps. Be sure to use natural rope, such as jute or cotton, because synthetic rope won't accept a stain."
His Words In Red
Obviously " Tommy" has no clue when it comes to flooring. Try using Epoxy ( wood Flour cement) mixed with fine saw dust. This will fill large gaps and match the floor exactly!!
this is ghetto
Justin Toole
Way to loose all credibility.
This old house is such butchers
Fuck it, I'm just going to get laminate flooring installed on top. Can pick a new color while I'm at it and it'll protect the old floor underneath.
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Looks ropey as fuck.
Andrew Myers
You've got to be shitting me. If I ever see Tom Silva in my front yard with a piece of rope and a bucket of stain I'm locking the damn door and pretending I'm not home.

"Oh yea it looks great".... Bullshit, she's just as much in shock as the rest of us. If I hired a contractor to fix a crack in my floor and this is what he did I'd fire his ass right down the front steps and call the Better Business Bureau.

Bring Norm back, if nothing else I can at least laugh when he hurts himself; this was just appalling.