Uncovering the Truth: Are Gaps in Hardwood Floors Normal?

Yes, gaps in hardwood floors can be normal due to various reasons such as fluctuating humidity levels, settling of the foundation, or poor installation techniques. Hardwood floors are popular for their stunning appearance, durability, and long-lasting nature.

However, gaps between planks can occur, leading homeowners to wonder if it’s normal or a sign of trouble. Gaps in hardwood floors are a common occurrence and can happen due to different reasons, including humidity levels, subfloor issues, and installation methods.

In this article, we’ll explore the most common causes of gaps in hardwood floors, how to prevent them, and what you can do if you already have them. Whether you’re considering installing hardwood floors or already have them, understanding why gaps occur can help you take appropriate action to maintain your floors’ quality and beauty.

What Causes Gaps In Hardwood Floors?

Are Gaps In Hardwood Floors Normal?

A hardwood floor is not only durable but also adds a touch of elegance to any home. It’s essential to maintain it regularly to keep it looking its best. However, if you notice gaps in hardwood floors, it could cause a homeowner to worry.

We will cover the potential causes of gaps in hardwood flooring.

Moisture And Humidity

One of the primary causes of gaps in hardwood floors is moisture and humidity. When the climate turns hot and humid, the air’s moisture level rises, leading to moisture absorption by the wood. As a result, the wood expands, creating gaps between the panels or boards.

Uneven moisture levels can result from spills, subfloor moisture, or even drastic temperature changes.

What you can do:

  • Use a dehumidifier to control the humidity level in the room.
  • Clean up spills immediately to avoid water damage.
  • Maintain a consistent temperature in your home.

Installation Issues

Improper installation of hardwood floors can also lead to gaps. When installing hardwood planks, experts typically pick out boards that are about the same size to ensure gaps will not form later. Uneven stalling of the flooring or the use of boards of varying sizes can cause gaps to appear between the boards.

What you can do:

  • Hire professional and experienced installers.
  • Always inspect the boards before the installation.
  • Make sure the floor is leveled before installation.

Floor Age And Wear And Tear

Age and wear and tear can also lead to gaps in hardwood floors. Naturally, hardwood floors might expand and contract over time as a result of use, changes in temperature, and humidity. This is true for both old and new floors, but you can expect more gaps on old floors.

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What you can do:

  • Make sure to sand and refinish the floors periodically.
  • Do not wear shoes with cleats or high heels that can potentially damage the wood.

Gaps in hardwood floors are not uncommon and can be caused by various factors, including humidity, installation, and age & wear. By maintaining your hardwood floors properly, you can reduce and even prevent the appearance of gaps.

Are Gaps In Hardwood Floors Normal?

Hardwood floors are beautiful and durable. They give a warm and natural feel to any room. However, you may notice gaps between the floorboards after some time, which can be concerning. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether gaps in hardwood floors are normal.

Proportionality And Severity

Gaps in hardwood floors are a common occurrence. They usually occur due to changes in humidity or temperature that cause the wood to expand and contract. However, the proportion and severity of the gaps differ from floor to floor.

Here are the key points to consider:

  • Gaps that are wider than 2-3mm can indicate a problem.
  • Large gaps can be due to a faulty installation or a problem with the subfloor.
  • Proportionality is essential, and there should be consistent gaps across the floor.

Types Of Wood

The type of wood used for your hardwood floors can affect the occurrence of gaps. Some hardwoods are more susceptible to gaps as compared to others.

Here are the key points to consider:

  • Softer woods such as pine and fir are more prone to gaps due to their natural tendency to expand and contract.
  • Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry are more stable and less likely to experience major gaps.

Average Gaps

Gaps are part of the natural hardwood floor aging process and are acceptable up to a certain degree. So, what is the average gap size for hardwood floors?

Here are the key points to consider:

  • Gaps up to 2-3mm are considered reasonable and may not be a cause for concern.
  • Seasonal changes in humidity levels can cause gaps to open up or close.
  • Gaps smaller than a dime (around 1mm) are cosmetic and do not impact the floor’s integrity.

Gaps in hardwood floors are normal, but their severity and proportionality should be monitored. Knowing the type of wood and the average gap size can help you identify and address potential issues. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and controlling the humidity levels can prevent the severity of these gaps.

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Remember, gaps add character and charm to your hardwood floors, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The Impact Of Gaps On Hardwood Floors

Are Gaps In Hardwood Floors Normal

Hardwood floors are popular for their durability and aesthetic appeal. However, gaps in hardwood floors are a common issue that homeowners have to deal with. It’s essential to understand the impact of gaps on hardwood floors to ensure their structural safety, appearance, and functionality.

Structural Safety

Gaps in hardwood floors can compromise their structural stability, which can lead to several issues, including:

  • Uneven flooring leading to tripping hazards
  • Excessive squeaking and creaking of the floorboards
  • Decreased insulation leading to energy loss
  • Inadequate support for heavy furniture causing sagging or cracking

It’s crucial to address any gaps in hardwood floors to ensure their structural safety and prevent further damage.


Hardwood floors have a unique aesthetic appeal that adds elegance to a home. However, gaps in hardwood floors can affect their appearance negatively. Some ways gaps can impact the appearance of hardwood floors include:

  • Dirt buildup in gaps, causing unsightly black lines that are challenging to clean
  • Shifts in the flooring boards creating uneven strips that can make the floor look worn out
  • The gaps can get wider over time, leading to the floor’s overall appearance looking shoddy

Regular maintenance is essential to minimizing the gaps’ appearance, protecting the floor’s texture, and maintaining its overall look.


Gaps in hardwood floors can also have an impact on its functionality. Some examples of how gaps affect the hardwood floor’s functionality include:

  • Gaps in hardwood floors can make the use of wheeled chairs difficult and challenging.
  • Gaps can increase the risk of water damage that can lead to rotting of the subfloor
  • Gaps in hardwood floors can reduce the insulation, which can lead to drafts and energy loss in the home

Fortunately, many solutions can address the gaps’ functionality issues, including filling gaps with a hardwood gap filler, refinishing the floors, or replacing the boards with new ones.

Hardwood floors are beautiful and sturdy, but gaps can compromise their structural safety, appearance, and functionality. It’s essential to address gaps in hardwood floors to ensure their longevity, appeal, and functionality in the long run.

How To Prevent Gaps In Hardwood Floors

Flooring Installation

When it comes to installing hardwood floors, there are some steps that you can take to prevent gaps from occurring. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

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  • Acclimate the wood to the room for at least five days before installation.
  • Use the correct subfloor material and thickness.
  • Use the correct nailing or stapling technique.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Regular Maintenance

Once your hardwood floors have been installed, regular maintenance is crucial to prevent gaps from forming. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Keep the floors free of dirt and debris.
  • Clean up spills promptly.
  • Use a humidifier during the dry months to prevent the wood from drying out and shrinking.
  • Trim pets’ nails regularly to prevent scratches.

Humidity Control

Controlling the humidity levels in your home is one of the most important things you can do to prevent gaps from forming in your hardwood floors. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Keep the humidity levels in your home between 35% and 55%.
  • Use a dehumidifier during the wet months to prevent the wood from absorbing moisture and expanding.
  • Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your home.
  • Avoid exposing your floors to extreme temperatures and humidity levels.

With these tips, you can prevent gaps from forming in your hardwood floors and ensure that they look beautiful for years to come. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.


After careful consideration, we can say that gaps in hardwood floors are normal, depending on various factors such as the wood’s age, moisture content, and installation method. In some cases, it’s just a matter of the wood settling down or expanding and contracting under different weather conditions.

However, if the gaps are too large or frequent, it’s worth having it inspected for any potential issues. It’s also essential to maintain the correct humidity levels and care for the wood to minimize gaps and maintain its durability. Lastly, if you’re looking to install hardwood flooring, make sure you choose the right installer and ask for their recommendations on the best type of wood and installation method that suits your requirements.

Ultimately, with proper care and maintenance, hardwood floors can last for decades and continue to look beautiful and add value to your property.

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