Hardwood Floor Filler

Hardwood Floor Filler

This filler has the same ingredients as latex wood floor filler except the water has been replaced with satin water based polyurethane. Therefore this filler stays almost the same color after it dries as it is when it’s wet. The nice attributes of this filler is that after if hardens, it becomes water proof, therefore it needs no top coat and it has a very low shrink rate. If you’re filling a wood floor between coats of water based polyurethane then this is the filler to use. If you’re filling an already finished floor or a prefinished floor with this product always, wipe the filler and area off with a damp rag or a shinny spot will appear around the spots that were filled. When using this filler, it helps to carry small amounts of this filler around in a damp rag, the damp rag will keep the filler from drying out while using it. This stuff will dry in your hand and stick to your skin. You need to be careful not drop crumbs of this filler onto the floor, if you step on them they will stick.
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Hardwood Floor Filler

There is one trick that I have used colored latex filler for that is time consuming and labor intensive but it works. When you work for home builders you will always be asked to do things that are not right. You can protest but in the end if you don’t comply they will find someone else who will. The situation is that you have a floor that has been finished and sitting in a house for a long while that has no humidifier. The floor has gaps between most of the flooring boards because the floor and the house are overly dry and the floor boards have become dimensionally smaller. To properly swell the flooring back to the original sizes would require the installation of a whole house humidifier and take at least three months. To fix the problem I took several different colors of floor filler, using them all and a putty knife, I filled the gaps in areas of about nine square feet of flooring at a time. After filling each area I washed the excess filler off of the floor using wet rags. I washed it again to remove most but not all of the latex residue. When I was finished I would look at the areas and if I could see the filled gaps too easily I worked a different color of filler into the area to change the color of the gaps to be less noticeable. I did this to the entire hardwood floor area. This process took so long that by the time that I was finished filling the floor, most of the filler had dried. Then, starting where the filler is the driest, I took a used 180 grit abrasive screen under a heavy floor buffer and screened, vacuumed and coated the floor with oil based polyurethane. Although not perfect, the improvement to the floor was huge.
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Hardwood Floor Filler

We used to make our own wood putty on the job site, calcium carbonate and linseed oil are cheap, but over time it proved easer to buy wood putty already made. This product is very similar to window glazing compound, years ago wood flooring contractors would mix universal colorant into window glazing compound and use it as a wood floor filler. If your filling a floor between coats of oil based polyurethane, then this is the filler of choice. Never use this filler under water based polyurethane. If you’re not coating over this filler with polyurethane, you will need to wash off the oil smudges that will appear on the floor around the filled areas.
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Hardwood Floor Filler

It’s true that rope won’t crack and fall out like filler, but it won’t look like wood either. At best, it will reduce the amount of sand and debris that can collect in your floor cracks, but it won’t do much else. You can use rope as a way to fill up a big crack and then just top up with filler (so you don’t have to use as much filler), but the filler itself will still crack and fall out over time; there will just be less of it. If your gap is truly wide enough to even consider filling it with rope AND the gaps don’t close up in summer, use cork instead. It’s sold in strips of different thicknesses, it’s easy to cut and you can use a cheap dental tool (Harbor Freight has good ones) to push the strip of cork into the gap. You can even use a little paintbrush to apply finish to the cork when you’re done. If you’re using cork on gaps, do it after you sand and finish the surrounding floor. (threshold gap photo from customer). Cork is also a great material to use where leaving an expansion gap might be unsightly, for example when wood is installed flush against a fixed obstacle like a fireplace or a sliding glass door
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Hardwood Floor Filler

Latex wood floor filler is not an adhesive, it will not glue the floor boards together and can not be used to glue a chip or sliver of wood into a floor. This filler can be thinned by adding more water to it, if your want to skim the entire floor, full trowel filling, to seal the grain during the sanding process more water will be needed, but realize that the more water is added the greater the amount of filler shrinkage you will get. Large voids require several applications.
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Hardwood Floor Filler

Using fillers – such as putty, powdered filler, which is mixed to a putty or paste form, or even caulking – can rid your hardwood floors of gaps if done properly. Fillers are best used when the gaps are narrow and the floor is not riddled with them. One thing to note about using fillers to fix floor gaps; as the humidity changes and the floor expands and contracts, the filler may actually be forced out when the floor expands to accommodate additional humidity.
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Hardwood Floor Filler

This is the perfect juncture to explain that there are two different kinds of putty or filler you can use on a floor. Up until this point we’ve been talking about the kind that starts out soft and pliable so you can work it into all the holes, but it dries hard and must be sanded flush to the level of the floor, and to remove all the extra filler that went into the wood grain around the hole. This kind of filler comes in a few colors and you choose the one that best matches the background color of your wood, and it should then take on color (stain or finish) as your wood does. Color Putty and other soft putties are designed for wood that is already finished. These fillers are already pre-tinted in a much wider variety of colors than hardening fill. Because you simply press them into the hole and you’re done, you need to have a precise color match to the finished tone of your wood
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Hardwood Floor Filler

There is a relatively new product, prefinished wood filler. It is designed for already finished or prefinished floors. It dries out if the container is left open will ruin if it freezes. However, it has a relatively low shrink rate. The color is easy to determine because it dries at almost the same color. Prefinished wood putty is similar to latex but instead of using water, it contains satin water-based polyurethane. Often a prefinished floor manufacturer will sell the floor with a small tube of proprietary prefinihsed wood filler. Woodwise makes a prefinished wood filler that is commonly available in many different colors and is fairly inexpensive.
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The most common and widely used wood floor filler is latex. Latex filler is water based, stainable similar to soft wood, easy to apply and sand. All manufacturers produce their fillers is several popular colors, many provide colored fillers to match most wood species including imported woods. Almost all fillers come premixed and ready to use, a few can be purchased in a powder form that need to be mixed by the user. If your filler is not properly matching the color of your wood floor, you can mix different colors together or add something else to affect the color.
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Wood has grain; woodfiller does not, so large areas of woodfiller look nothing like the wood that surrounds it. Even when it does take on the color of the stain or finish you use, it will still look like a big, undifferentiated blob on your floor. When you use filler on nail holes and chipped board corners, it camouflages well in the grain pattern of the wood. But large areas will stick out like a black eye. This is especially important if you have hollows or depressions in your floor – these are better simply sanded clean and left alone. Hand-coat those spots if you must to keep the finish from getting too thick, but do not try to “level” a hardwood floor with filler.