How to mask gaps in solid hardwood

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Old 10-15-16, 08:30 PM
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How to mask gaps in solid hardwood

I started installing LL's Bellawood matte hickory 3/4" 3-inch-wide hardwood yesterday, above grade (2nd floor), on 1/4" cork underlayment glued to cement underfloor, using Bostik's Best polyurethane adhesive recommended for this wood.

I only installed 1 room (~150sqft), and in the morning there were a lot of 1/32"-1/16" gaps in the wood. The wood was acclimated in the house for ~6weeks, and then for 1-2 weeks in the room I was going to install it in. It's pretty dry, it's about 70F.

What could I have done wrong? It seems that the wood is either sliding on the glue, or else shrinking or otherwise deforming from this glue. Some planks butted together look like they have slightly different width (small difference, maybe by 1/128"-1/64"), or they bent and created those 1/32-1/16" gaps, especially the very long planks. The glue is water-free, it's not supposed to affect the wood like that, is it? It's moisture activated, maybe it pulls moisture out of the wood and the wood dries up in hours? I couldn't nail anything because it's on pretty thick cement underfloor from the original construction.

I still have ~400sqft to lay down, and 15 stairs to install. I can't really return this hardwood as it's way past 30-day return period. So any hints as to how to minimize the gaps by installing it differently would be very welcome.

More to the point, what's the best caulk/putty/etc to mask the gaps? Since I don't think I can avoid them...
 
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Old 10-16-16, 05:43 AM
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This is prefinished hardwood, correct? If you used a colored caulk or putty it will attract dirt. I suspect the gaps are caused by installation error but I don't know a lot about it. Hopefully some of the others will have better advice for you.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for your reply!
Yes, this is prefinished 3" wide 3/4" thick hickory.
And yes, I hope some of the pros will have an advice how to avoid this. I only installed 1 room, but these gaps keep opening up as I install further rows of wood.
It was acclimated for ~2 months, but it still "breathes" after installation.
And I'm using Bostik's Best polyurethane glue which is supposed to include moisture barrier. It's above grade, with cork underlayment, which is supposed to stabilize and provide some amount of moisture protection as well. I'm flabbergasted and heartbroken.
 

Last edited by migdalskiy; 10-16-16 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 10-20-16, 07:41 PM
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Well, I decided to change the glue from Bostik's Best to the new(er) Taylor MS+ on the theory that it's pretty much the only thing I can easily swap at this point. And I'll clamp and tape the hell out of it, with much more rigor than before. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

If anyone has any pointers, please share.
 
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