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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.

The rope is also a bit softer, so when the planks shrink or expand during the year, the rope and withstand the “movement” of the plank, keeping the gaps filled and not creating new ones.

Be sure to use natural rope, such as jute or cotton, because synthetic rope won’t accept a stain.

  1. Scrape out the gaps with a screwdriver, painter’s 5-in-1 tool, or a similar tool to remove all dirt, gunk, and old putty from the gaps. Be careful not to damage the edges of the floorboards.
  2. Vacuum the loose debris from the gaps with a shop vacuum. Repeat scraping and vacuuming until the gaps are clear.
  3. Select a size (diameter) of rope that is slightly larger than the gap.
  4. Pour wood stain into a small bucket or cleaned plastic food container.
  5. Dunk the rope into the stain so it is saturated. Carefully pull out the rope, letting the excess stain drip back into the bucket.
  6. Layout the stained rope on clean cardboard and let it dry completely. Do not expose the rope to direct sunlight or intense heat, as this could lead to a fire.
  7. String out the rope along the gap, then force it into the gap with a 5-in-1 tool or a putty knife, stopping when the rope is flush with (or slightly below, if desired) the wood surface.

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