Wide Plank Flooring - Flooring with Character
Filling holes and cracks in wide plank flooring
Wide plank flooring is typical style used well over a hundred years ago - so yes it can be said to have an antique look about it. The dimensions of wide plank flooring can be anything from 7 - 24 inches wide and up to seven feet long.
More and more people today are going for this type of style - and surprisingly most of the wood used is being recycled from old barns and other old buildings. The thought behind this is that the overall effect is a more natural and provides a more authentic appearance.
Wide Plank Flooring - Keeping in Character
There are one or two considerations that do need to be made. Wide plank flooring that is derived from old barns etc are likely to host nail holes, knots and are probably are damaged from wear. These features need only be toned down and not completely removed, as they give the wood character. Therefore only very gentle milling and grading is required.
Some of this "character" though may be a danger to walk on and will either have to removed or fitted far from high traffic areas within rooms. With regards to holes, care is needed to ensure that the correct colored epoxy is used to fill the hole and therefore maintain the character of the wood. In other words where a nail was, it should look like one still resides there - the same applies for knot holes. Ideally you want to retain as many of the natural features as possible, without sacrificing safety.
Filling Holes and Cracks in Wide Planks
This is done once fitting is completed but before the final sanding. Some people believe that a mixture of sawdust and wood glue will do the trick - it will not and will look like just that. Most DIY stores will stock an epoxy filler kit - containing pigment resins, hardeners, etc.
Make sure that you use a piece of paper towel to act as a backing - this can be stuffed in with a pencil. What the backing does is it reduces the epoxy leakage. Try and keep your epoxy mixtures small as they set quickly - and it is a very expensive thing to waste. All you need to do now is empty a little amount into the backed holes (this is what is known as the initial fill) - and then leave them for about 4 hours. Once set these can be filled to the top left to set overnight.
Sanding - After all that hard work installing all those wide plank floor boards the last thing that anyone wants is to damage them in the final stage - so take it slow. It is advised you stick to using a drum commercial sander.
There are generally three stages to sanding: course, medium and fine. Course removes dirt and any unsightly / unnatural markings. Course sanding should be done at a 45 degree angle. The medium stage removes any traces of the course sanding, and then finally the fine stage finishes the surface.
Once this is done you may want to use a wax polish or oil to further enhance the rustic look.