Anyone have antique floorboards with gaps between?

(21 Posts)
Fagin99 Mon 06-Jul-20 17:05:01

Hi all,

I'm just moving into a new house (build c. 1800) with old, antique exposed floorboards. Obviously they look nice but they have gaps in between most of the boards. Some worse than others, but no more than 1cm at a guess.

Should I get them filled in? Or did you just live with them? I'm worried about dropping something down them!

I originally wanted to put carpet over it (especially in the bedrooms) but I was advised it might spoil the look of the house. Of course, I can put rigs down but it wouldn't cover the entire floor.

Did you have any problems with the gaps?

Finally, how do you clean such old boards??

Many thanks!

OP’s posts: |
Fagin99 Mon 06-Jul-20 17:06:05

Sorry - rugs - not rigs!

OP’s posts: |
Therollockingrogue Mon 06-Jul-20 17:12:12

I have them... it’s a nightmare and I haven’t found a solution other than to cover them. The biggest problem for us was freezing air blowing up and loss of heat... the energy bills were a fortune . In the end we had to board over entirely and fit a new floor on top.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Mon 06-Jul-20 17:14:29

Sorry to be of no use but following as I'm in the same predicament. The gaps aren't uniform, some look like they could do with a wedge of wood shoved in them, others aren't as big and I'm thinking it's going to look shite if I mess with it. Plus the big gaps positively have a proper breeze whistling through them! As if accidentally dropping things and them falling in the gaps, 3 yr old DS has been posting anything he can get his hands on through ours - you'd think he wasn't the owner of an actual post office toy hmm

Veterinari Mon 06-Jul-20 17:15:53

Draughty and mice.

Re-flooring is the only solution unfortunately

sequinednostrils Mon 06-Jul-20 17:17:14

You can buy floorboard slivers that you tap into the gaps. I did this with success, they are long thin bits of wood. I'll try and find a link

Therollockingrogue Mon 06-Jul-20 17:17:35

Yes... my kids had some sort of fishing rod toy which they used to go floorboard fishing to find treasure left by previous occupants .
I always feared a mummified rat being dragged up, given that as toddlers many an old biscuit had been posted down.


sequinednostrils Mon 06-Jul-20 17:20:03

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Mon 06-Jul-20 17:27:13

Oo thanks sequinednostrils, didn't even know they were 'a thing'. Opens a can of worms about varnishing in a matching colour though 😬

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Mon 06-Jul-20 17:28:16


Draughty and mice.

Re-flooring is the only solution unfortunately

Draughts AND what!!!! shock

coffeewithmilk Mon 06-Jul-20 17:30:07

We had them in my family home growing up and they were a nightmare. We had them in the kitchen and if anything spilt on the floor, the wood would get damp and leave horrible stains.
I do remember the kitchen always being freezing cold too.
My parents replaced them when I was a bit older

Echobelly Mon 06-Jul-20 17:30:12

We have them, suprisingly OK regarding temperature, but we have put rugs over some areas of it to help with that.

Not lost anything important under them yet, but time will tell!

ovener Mon 06-Jul-20 17:43:48

I spent ages coming up with a solution in our house. Our boards are very old and gnarly and some of the gaps are huge. I scrubbed them hard with sugar soap to get the paint splatters and dirt off. Then I gave them a couple of generous coats of osmo oil and they look wonderful. Full of character and very forgiving with spillages and dirt.

For the gaps, I painstakingly cut cork expansion strips into the right width with a stanley knife and then wedged them between the gaps, as far in as they would go without falling through. (Plenty of them fell through but I persevered!) Then I made a mixture of pva glue and dark grey paint (use any colour you deem least noticeable - I was going for the colour of shadow!) and used a glue bottle with a thin nozzle to squirt it all over the cork. Worked a treat!

You may have found there are some products on the market designed for filling floorboard gaps but I thought they were kind of pricey and some of our gaps would have been miles to big for them. I think my method is less noticeable too - I really wanted to avoid the stripy look you get with the wooden slivers and rubber cord.

Handsnotwands Tue 07-Jul-20 10:05:22

We used stop gap, it’s a v shaped plastic thing on a reel. You poke it down the gap and it holds itself in. Has worked perfectly well for a decade

GreyishDays Tue 07-Jul-20 10:08:16

If you have a crawl space you can get them insulated underneath fairly easily. They tack a hammock underneath for fibreglass insulation. That would sort out the draughts.

You can fill the spaces, I’d try and sit any filling a bit low so you can’t really see it.

WhatKatyDidNxt Tue 07-Jul-20 15:46:40

Draughty and slugs was my experience confused. A large rug in the centre helped

Fagin99 Tue 07-Jul-20 16:12:23

Thank so much everyone for your help!

I will definitely look into the various methods of filling in the gaps and a nice big rug :-). Fortunately it is just two of the bedrooms that have this issue.

I guess this is one of the downsides to living in a period property, but I'm a complete sucker for character!

Now I just have to figure out how to clean them..

Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Didyousaysomethingdarling Tue 07-Jul-20 16:58:58

I saw this on the news yesterday, and thought of your post.
Rishi Sunak's £5k Per Household Government Energy Saving Grant

Fagin99 Tue 07-Jul-20 20:10:16

Ah amazing! Thanks for thinking of me! :-)

OP’s posts: |
Shmithecat2 Tue 07-Jul-20 20:17:09

Yep, 1870s house. This is the biggest gap we have so not huge (maybe 3 or 4mm). I've just chucked some rugs down and hope for the best 🤞🏻

googledontknow Wed 08-Jul-20 12:24:29

I had this problem.
I hate feeling cold, so I covered up the floor with a new layer of wooden floor (my house isn't as old as yours - so my floorboards didn't have a much character.
It made such a difference to how warm my house felt, no draughts!

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