First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room. I went 30 years without knowing the word ‘sliver’, I thought it was ‘a slither of cake’, not ‘sliver of cake’.
So, imagine my horror when I met a sliver for the first time and was confronted with this gaping hole in my vocabulary. Dreadful. Can I blame it on ‘sliver’ and ‘slither’ sounding identical in a Bristolian accent? Probably not, but that’s my excuse.
Anyway, I might not have known the word ‘sliver’ until embarrassingly recently, but I do know how to sliver me timbers.
What are slivers?
Slivers are strips of (usually) pine, cut into a tapered wedge shape designed to fit between the gaps of floorboards.
They come in different widths, but usually in one metre lengths. You can buy them made of reclaimed floorboards so the colour blends more evenly, but we opted for the cheaper untreated pine slivers.
Why use slivers?
Ultimately it’s personal preference. We chose this method because our gaps were quite wide, it makes the floor more solid, and we like the professional and clean finish.
We have a cellar underneath the entire house, which is great for ventilation, but it is very draughty. So something that was going to stop the freezing cellar draught was a must!
How do you fit slivers?
It’s very easy, and incredibly satisfying!
What you will need:
- Wood glue (in a bottle with a nozzle)
- A rubber mallet
- Eye protection
- Ear defenders
- Your ‘angry playlist’.
First up, nail your floorboards down securely and scrape and sweep out all the crud from between the boards.
Next, glue down each side of your sliver. Make sure you apply the glue to the lower ¾ as you’ll be shaving the top off later.
Then place the sliver in the gap in between the floorboards, give the sliver a wiggle to make sure the glue is coating both sides and then smack away at it with your rubber mallet until it’s firmly in place.
Once the glue has dried, slice off the excess with very sharp chisels, leaving a few mm above the surface. This will even out during the sanding process.
The end results
Here are some ‘after pics’ of our living room floor. The slightly stripy look of the new pine with the old pine might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we like it, and it looks good now the floor is stained and treated.
Ross nailed down all the floorboards beforehand with traditional cut clasp floorboard nails – but now with the slivers, the floor does feel more solid and like ‘one thing’. There also isn’t a noticeable breeze coming up from under the floor anymore, which is a sliver win!
Of course it’s a wooden floor, so it’s going to move, contract, and expand in this climate of ours. It probably would have been a good idea to have done this work in the summer when the boards would be at their most contracted – but that wasn’t an option for us.