Flooring and Carpeting gaps in new floor installation, maple wood floor, maple floor

Flooring and Carpeting gaps in new floor installation, maple wood floor, maple floor

Flooring and Carpeting /gaps in new floor installation


Expert: John Michaels — 9/24/2009


QUESTION: Dear Mr. Michaels;

I had new 3″ prefinished Hard Maple floors (from Mullican) installed in June and right away I noticed rather wide gaps between several of the floor boards. The gaps are between 1.5 and 2mm (I think that’s about 1/16″ and more) and the carpenter filled them with putty which is already falling out. The floor boards also show deflection and movement and an inspection discovered that no nails were used in those areas. Still, the carpenter insists that the floors were installed up to industry standards and he quoted some guidelines that say, gaps of 1/16″ are fine and even gaps up to 1/8″ are acceptable.

Unfortunately, the inspector just said the gaps are totally unacceptable and substandard installation but he did not clarify how wide a gap is acceptable in a newly installed maple wood floor. He did mention that these gaps might get even wider once heating season begins.

My pre-finished birch floor which was installed in 2001 does not have any gaps between floor boards and that is what I expected from my new maple floor also.

Can you please clarify the gap issue for a newly installed hard maple floor (in the Pacific Northwest during summer)?

Thank you so much!


ANSWER: Hi Mechthild;Gaps of 1/32 to 1/16 inch are usually acceptable, however gaps of 1/8 inch are not acceptable. Since I can’t see your floor, I can only guess the problem, however, from your description, it does sound like an installation issue. I would need to know a lot more about the installation before I could give you any more information, however, perhaps the inspection report indicates those issues, some of which would include acclimation, type of installation, type of underlayment, type of moisture barrier, method of installation, type of maintenance, etc. which should be covered on that inspection report. If those and other important issues are not covered on that inspection report, you need to get a report that addresses those other important issues.

So now, what do you do. First do NOT have any more verbal conversations with anyone involved in the sale and/or installation of your flooring. Should the matter require legal action, verbal conversations are usually hearsay evidence that is not admissable in a Court of Law. I am NOT an attorney, so I can not give you any legal advice. I just get involved in legal matters regarding floor covering, and can only speak from experience. You made an investment, so you must now protect it. If I were in your place I would seek the advice of an attorney. You can obtain, for free, on Mullican’s website, the installation specifications for your flooring and the free maintenance manual for your flooring. Download those two publications and thoroughly read them.

Then make certain the inspector addressed all needed issues. If your sales contract includes product and installation, great. If you have a written contract for installation only, you better make certain the installer has the funds to properly repair any installation issues. If you don’t think the installer has the funds you better start the ball rolling by seeing your attorney. If you have no written contract for the installation and everything was done verbally, you have a serious problem so be doubly fast to contact your attorney.

If the inspection report didn’t address all needed issues, you need to obtain an inspection report that does, by contracting with your own independent floor covering inspector to issue a certified report as to the possible causes of your problems. If you can’t find an inspector in your area, please get back to me for a suggestion. If you wish, you can send me a follow-up to this response and attach the full inspection report so I can comment.

Flooring and Carpeting gaps in new floor installation, maple wood floor, maple floor


John Michaels

flooring inspection


here is the second page of the report by Mr. Dunlap.

Please let me know if you have problems reading the file. I could attach the original pdf to a regualr email message. Unfortunately this sysemts does not allow for pdf attachemnts.

Visit our website at, mbdinspectfloors.com. Indicate on your fax to us where we could fax our answer to you.

Leave a Reply