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When a floor consists of cracks, gaps, knot-holes, and other various imperfections, there are a number of different ways to address them. Filling a floor is perfectly normal and fairly straightforward. However, the process varies depending on how it is done. Wood patch is the most common product used in wood flooring. Wood patch is a thick, water-based product designed to fill specific spots. Like fillers, wood patch is readily available in a variety of different colors/species to match your wood and accept the stain color. You can mix colors together in order to form new colors, and most products can be tinted with colorant for all types of color choices. Keep in mind; if you will be staining the hardwood, it is good to match the wood/specie, not the actual stain color. Next we have fillers, which are very similar to patches. However, fillers are normally thinner in order to allow, “trowel filling” for the floor. This is the actual process where one skim coats the whole floor, allowing the product to fill imperfections, voids, and gaps as you are working. Lastly, putties are typically oil based and are made for light to medium touch ups. For instance, many times it is forgotten to fill the nail holes and other minor openings or cracks. Have no fear, because putty is simple and its here. Putties come in many more colors than traditional patch or filler systems, and it simply matches over to the stained color. You just want to simply fill the hole, and clean away with a damp rag. Putty is a very common product that the homeowner themselves can even use, or the contractor may immediately touch-up after a pre-finished hardwood floor has been installed.
Indiana Floor, Inc. is dedicated to providing the flooring professionals of trade with wood filler systems that bond tightly, fill smoothly, dry evenly & hard, and cleans up easily with water. Wood filler is really good for evening out the grain in large or open-grained hardwoods like ash, oak, rosewood, poplar, walnut and hickory. These hardwood species tend to absorb wood stains and varnishes unevenly due to the pores (large & open) that tend to suck up the finish while the rest of the floor surface does not. Applying wood filler before the staining process helps to create an even and smooth surface. This is done by filling the pores throughout the hardwood, and leading to a minimized look of grain lines. When using the wood filler on a hardwood floor or other large surface area it is highly recommended to spread the filler with a trowel type of grain filler. A trowel designed for grain filling is a bit thinner and as a result is much easier to use and apply. No matter the kind or type of wood you are doing a job on, it is possible to achieve a different finishing effect depending on the color of filler you use. To shift attention on the grain, pick filler colors that contrast with the natural color of the wood or the color of the final stain being applied. On the other hand, to de-emphasize its wood grain, use a filler color that sharply matches the final finish you are going for. With all that said, it is important to check for grain raise around the inconspicuous areas of the wood when using filler, especially wood filler that is thinned with water.
Many fillers that are readily available on the market were developed for water and solvent-based finishes and stains. Most, if not all of these wood fillers and patch systems are environmentally friendly and they do not contain harsh solvents, and perform an outstanding job of filling nail holes, cracks, gouges and broken edges. Wood filler that designed for hardwood floor species are easier to sand down, and the finishing process goes quickly because the edger papers don't become dull or clog up.