Draught Proof Wooden Floors

You wouldn’t leave your windows open on a winter’s day while the heating was on, would you? But if you have hardwood floorboards, engineered or even laminate floors, unless you’ve got them draught proofed you’re doing the very same. Cold air naturally circulates below floorboards allowing draughts to come through the gaps, into the room and chill your toes! Small gaps between the floorboards soon add up to a large area, perhaps the same size as a medium window, which when left open, day and night you’re sure to feel the draught and certainly wasting energy.


The Energy Saving Trust, an organisation in the United Kingdom devoted to promoting energy efficiency, estimates that by filling the gaps between the floor and skirting boards alone would save £20 per year, and if insulation was used underneath the flooring and the gaps between wooden floorboards filled, a further £40 could be saved annually, not to mention the added comfort draught exclusion brings to your home.


There are several draught exclusion products for use on floorboards found in DIY stores and many more found online, all of which claim to provide a quick, neat and reasonably priced solution, as with most things there is also a traditional DIY method that is virtually cost free.


The first product that’s most popular with DIY enthusiasts and floor fitters is like a squishy and stretchy seal, available in various thicknesses and roll lengths, along with a range of colours to suit your floorboards. This gap filler is easy and quick to push between the floorboards, however as gaps between floorboards tend to be inconsistent in size you will need to make sure you purchase various thicknesses and during application switch from one thickness to the other as the gap size changes. Using squishy seals provides amazing results both for reduction in energy loss and look.


Another product that can be used is cork expansion strips, a little harder to insert in the gaps, and slightly more expensive, cork expansion strips are available in different lengths and thicknesses. Similar to the gap filler seal above, cork strips can be used on hardwood, laminate and engineered floors. Providing great results both in terms of exclusion of drafts and appearance, ensure you buy various thicknesses to allow for variance in gap width while make sure to allow several hours to get the job done properly.


The third product we are going to mention is perhaps the easiest to use and most attractive of all, yet also the most expensive at almost £20 per ½ metre roll. An innovative gap filler for wooden floorboards that leaves the gap between the floorboards looking unfilled. Manufactured from flexible V-shaped plastic that springs apart to fill gaps from 1-8mm, easily pushed into the gap using a debit card or similar tool, once in place the draught excluder is invisible. Providing great results wherever it’s used, similar to other gap fillers this type of floorboard draught excluder can be used under the edge of skirting boards.


A traditional DIY method of filling gaps between floorboards is making papier-mâché from shredded newspaper and wallpaper paste. It’s messy and slower than shop brought solutions but costs virtually nothing and great for use on floorboards where the gaps are large and vary considerably. For convenience you may choose to buy ready to use wallpaper paste, but you can also buy powered adhesive, ready to mix.


Once you’ve got an apron on and ready to get messy, tear up newspaper into shreds and mix it with the wallpaper paste leaving it for a few minutes to absorb the glue. If you have plain white newspaper, similar to that’s used in a chip shops then that’s preferable, you can also add dark brown, grey or any other colour stain you like for an improved look. Once the newspaper has absorbed the paste take a few strips at a time twisting them together and pushing them into the gaps between the boards.


Papier-mâché gap filling is best suited to areas under furnishing, rugs or carpets where it won’t be visible, if you do choose to use this method throughout the room then make sure to push the papier-mâché right to the bottom of the gap to remove it from sight.


For ease of application and results the V-shaped plastic gap filler that springs apart to wins hands down, but for those on a tight budget or for those that have funny shaped gaps wider than 8mm then the papier-mâché solution is best.


Now you’ve draught proofed your floorboards, or at least have some ideas on how to go about it, why not read our post on fixing a draughty door.