1st time ever laying Bruce Hardwood Flooring and have gaps!

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New Member
Sep 18, 2019
Rocky Mountains
Link to pictures: https://imgur.com/gallery/ticFWqW

This is my wife and I’s first attempt at laying nail down hardwood flooring or any flooring for that matter in our bedroom. It’s 3/4” x 3 1/4" solid maple we bought from Home Depot. We let it acclimate in our master bedroom for literally 3 months. I know we should have measured the humidity of the subfloor and flooring, but we are in a really dry area and installed it on a day with 14% humidity outside…not ideal, I know.

At its widest this gap is the width of a dime. I watched a ton of videos showing how to install it correctly, but never heard anyone mention that widths of the boards could vary enough to cause gapping on install!

The rest of the room has a bunch of seamless rows and a few smaller gaps from the width differences, which was really hard to do with the quality of these boards (lots of broken tongues, cupped/warped boards, but worst of all is the differences in widths). We factored in the 10% of expected waste, but are right around 20% even using a fair about of boards with dings and visual defects in areas that will be under our bed. We are almost done with the room and were really good about staggering adjacent board joints 4-6” like the instructions recommend until we screwed up and foolishly put two boards literally right next to each other (as seen in the photo) after a long day installing and didn't notice it until we installed a few more rows.

I’m a custom furniture builder and somewhat of a perfectionist so this gap is really pissing me off. On previous rows, slight gaps would pull in with the flooring stapler, but even prying our hardest and trying different boards we couldn’t get these gaps to pull-in. I didn’t realize how much of an effect this width difference had until I had installed about 4 more rows and at the time didn’t want to rip it all up.

I’m mad at myself for not reading reviews about Bruce before purchasing…my folks have it in their custom house and always told me what a great product they got for the price. After reading reviews I see a lot of people have issues with varying width boards….some guys mention sorting each row based on these varying widths, which would be a real pain in the ass but wishing I would have known to do it! Also wish, I would've known to inspect the widths with my calipers and just reject the order and saved myself all this frustration.

Is there anything I can do at this point to get these gaps to pull in? I may be going crazy overthinking this. I'm contemplating ripping tiny strips off waste boards with either my tablesaw or bandsaw and gluing them in to lessen the gap, but leave a hair for expansion. Figure I could even use my tapering jig to match the angle of some gaps. Any thoughts on this?

After reading way too much info online, some manufacturers say a dime width is not that huge on pre-finished flooring so maybe it’s just something I need to live with? Figure I may be able to put a rug there and cover some of it I guess. Am I expecting way too much wanting my 1st install to be flawless with a product like Bruce?

Thanks for reading and any help that can be provided.


Jun 25, 2011
, AZ
It's just going to happen on solid. Typically on an unfinished solid sand an finish job installers use a filler, then sand it off so the gap is nearly invisible. You can buy some filler like caulking to fill them with.

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