Wood floors and draughts?

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Georget79

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Hi there, we have wooden floorboards in living room and hall, which I spent a lot of time restoring recently with the good help from this forum.

However, now that winter has returned I'm reminded again at how cold the living room gets even with heating on at 30 constantly. Other rooms in the house, although smaller, are carpeted and don't ahev the same problem.

There are gaps between the skirting and floorboards, a few gaps between the actual floorboards themselves too, although mainly just the skirting. I was thinking of just getting it carpeted but my mum has carers that use a Sara Stedy machine to move her, and apparently it's hard going for carers on carpet.

Does anyone know of the gaps I mentioned would cause much heat loss in wooden floors? Has anyone had a similar problem and maybe some solutions? Getting a bigger radiator too soon so hopefulky that will help. It just feels so draughty in this room and can't get to the bottom of it. Chimney blocked, radiators on full...
 
If you have air bricks below floor level then cold air will come through every gap, you would have been better off putting an engineered wood floor down if you prefer the wood look
 
I’d agree with the above post as far as. External Air vents but these usually to maintain the airflow and keep everything dry below the boards. Blocking these vents could cause other issues like damp . Long and short of it is to remove skirtings and fit a decent thickness of laminate flooring with a good quality underlay . Then refit the skirtings if you have been carefull removing them or replace with new . You would need to leave a 10mm expansion gap but you should get a closer fit . Re heating thermostat at 30 deg . This will be expensive to maintain and doesn’t give you much wriggle room if we get a severe cold snap . A bigger radiator or if it’s single change to a double is a better option but you need to address the floor 1st .
 
Agree with the above as a solution given the situation, though clearly all the hard work put into restoring the floors is lost. A couple of alternatives to ponder are, firstly you could use some laminate floor silicone sealant to fill the gaps. It is available in a range of colours/shades and might just cut the cold air flow enough for the heating to be a little more effective. The second option is to look at underfloor insulation. If you have access to the space underneath the floor (one of those unheard of things now called a cellar) you could diy it. Or have look at a company called Qbot and the government warm home grants.

edit, warm home grant now known as The Great British Insulation Scheme
 
Great call from @sawdustandwax re the warm homes grant but these are usually means tested . I did think of just sealing the gaps but this can take as long as fitting a new floor but it’s a decent idea as it will prove if the draughts are from below or elsewhere ( doors/frames window frames - even with double glazing the exterior seal between the frame and brickwork can fail or sometimes never actually of been done .. it’s one thing feeling cold but sitting in a drafty room is very uncomfortable even worse if you mobility is reduced ..good luck
 
Had a similar issue with the skirting edges, when I was replacing the skirting I first stuffed rockwool into the gap all around the edges, easy to do with a ruler to push it down and plugged the gaps really well.
 
I have the same issue with our upstairs rooms, all wooden floored. The prevailing blows through whatever gaps are in the external walls and whistles through gaps in the floorboaatds and skirting boards. Previous owners used copious amounts of silicone to reduce the effect.
We're getting in laminate next week, with a quality underlay and new skirting. Local fitter assures us this will eliminate the problem (as well as reduce the dust circulating).
 
Old house, same issue. Carpets make it better but the carpet edges still get dirty showing the air ingress that is occurring. The best room in the house is where I fitted new plasterboard and skirtings that were installed over a layer of resilient tape at the floor edge. This sealed the gap between floor and skirting in an airtight way that is flexible.
 
30?!
Jeez! Am I glad I haven't got your next bill!

I actually love the idea - and look - of real wood floorboards.
In reality, having lived next door to a female in heeled shoes, they are an awful idea....
 
If carpets are an issue for the carers, have you considered a good quality lino? Sealed around the skirting with a bead of something or other flexible, it can be a good flooring and has the advantage of being washable. There are some nice looking types around these days.
 
I had a similar problem and fitted vinyl cushion flooring all over the downstairs flooring it has been great, a quick run over with the vac and if needed from dirty shoes a quick wipe over with the mop I would not use anything else now.
I did have lino in the kitchen but found some cracks from floor board gaps, so that was were I started from with the C/F.
 
If you have air bricks below floor level then cold air will come through every gap, you would have been better off putting an engineered wood floor down if you prefer the wood
Damn, i wasn't getting notifications so didn't think I was getting replies to this post. I've no idea if it's air bricks below, is there a way to find out?

I mean, when I put my hands over the gaps, I do feel a slight cold breeze. I've applied draught excluder along the skirting boards around the room, it seems to have stopped the slight breeze there. Also probably going to get a bigger radiator. I'm kind of looking for more of a quick fix rather than whole new flooring, although I do see how that would be beneficial
 
I’d agree with the above post as far as. External Air vents but these usually to maintain the airflow and keep everything dry below the boards. Blocking these vents could cause other issues like damp . Long and short of it is to remove skirtings and fit a decent thickness of laminate flooring with a good quality underlay . Then refit the skirtings if you have been carefull removing them or replace with new . You would need to leave a 10mm expansion gap but you should get a closer fit . Re heating thermostat at 30 deg . This will be expensive to maintain and doesn’t give you much wriggle room if we get a severe cold snap . A bigger radiator or if it’s single change to a double is a better option but you need to address the floor 1st .
Thanks, we are going to go for a bigger radiator. Not too keen on the laminate just now as it seems a big job and esp as we have live in carer and my mum in the living room all day, it would be quite tricky to get around all that. I really feel with a bigger radiator, fill the gaps in the floorboards, and a big rug, we could get to the temperature we need. We can manage bills of 30c but it's when we need to start using the fan heater it gets expensive
 
You can also get this rubber strip that you can cram into gaps, comes in various thicknesses and has a weird little applicator tool. I didn’t use it, but a pal did and said it was great. my floor was getting painted so I went down the pine spline and bit of caulk route.
Rubber strips -

https://www.draughtex.co.uk/what-is...RRAx09QNdDYFMQ9rgVztZs-q8YF8jpCxoChaIQAvD_BwE
Yeah I've seen that rubber strip before, but I can't see how it will fit, because all the gaps are different sizes, even on one gap between one floorboard, it varies in size from almost no gap to a bigger gap further along. Same with each floorboard. So much variance
 
Great call from @sawdustandwax re the warm homes grant but these are usually means tested . I did think of just sealing the gaps but this can take as long as fitting a new floor but it’s a decent idea as it will prove if the draughts are from below or elsewhere ( doors/frames window frames - even with double glazing the exterior seal between the frame and brickwork can fail or sometimes never actually of been done .. it’s one thing feeling cold but sitting in a drafty room is very uncomfortable even worse if you mobility is reduced ..good luck
I did seal the edges of the floor around the skirting boards with draught excluder, and I can't feel any air coming through now but there are still the gaps on the actual floorboards, and when I put my hands over them I can feel very slight cold air coming through, so I'm wondering if filling the gaps, getting a big rug, and bigger radiator can take us to a high enough temperature so that we can avoid using the electric fan heater during cold spells
 
Ideally it would be floor up, insulate between the joists, a roll out breathable membrane on top of the joist and then re-lay the floor. But we know that is not going to happen. Next option would be to neatly cut hatches in the floor, get underneath and insulate between the joists, but again I'm guessing that is impractical.
Final and most realistic option is to spend a long time on the internet, searching out what I think unfortunately may now be no longer be available. Clear Decorators Caulk. In the stripped flooring era of the 80's a decorator friend of mine swore by the stuff for the very problem you are trying to solve.

Colin

Edit - I think I've found it:-
https://www.sealantsonline.co.uk/Products/Decorators-caulk-filler/PARA70
 
I re-finished a pine floor and as I wasn't taking it up had to do the insulation from underneith. I couldn't get celotex through the access hole so used glassfibre. Just pushed it up between the beams and put strapping bands across (make sure you have a decent mask and coverall - or use the plastic alternative which isn't itchy). At some point I intend to use breathable membrane to create a complete cover on the underside. There is breathable multi-foil insulation now that is equivalent to almost 100mm of celotex. But for now it works.

As for air bricks, these will be visible from outside your house and will be below the damp proof course. It'll likely be an air brick on the outside course and a hole on the inner course. If your cavities aren't filled then the air will blow around this also and you may have air bricks higher up on the wall.
 
Damn, i wasn't getting notifications so didn't think I was getting replies to this post. I've no idea if it's air bricks below, is there a way to find out?

I mean, when I put my hands over the gaps, I do feel a slight cold breeze. I've applied draught excluder along the skirting boards around the room, it seems to have stopped the slight breeze there. Also probably going to get a bigger radiator. I'm kind of looking for more of a quick fix rather than whole new flooring, although I do see how that would be beneficial
Wall outside will have air bricks in but blocking air bricks is not an option unless you want joists to rot
 
Ideally it would be floor up, insulate between the joists, a roll out breathable membrane on top of the joist and then re-lay the floor. But we know that is not going to happen. Next option would be to neatly cut hatches in the floor, get underneath and insulate between the joists, but again I'm guessing that is impractical.
Final and most realistic option is to spend a long time on the internet, searching out what I think unfortunately may now be no longer be available. Clear Decorators Caulk. In the stripped flooring era of the 80's a decorator friend of mine swore by the stuff for the very problem you are trying to solve.

Colin

Edit - I think I've found it:-
https://www.sealantsonline.co.uk/Products/Decorators-caulk-filler/PARA70
Super, thanks for that. Is there a reason why this is better than other gap fillers? Better insulation?
 
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