Wide plank hardwood flooring has been growing in popularity in recent years (see Part 1). Thanks to its natural beauty and the enlarging effect it gives to interior spaces, it’s no wonder homeowners and designers alike are gravitating to this versatile flooring choice. There are also some other important advantages that wide plank wood flooring has to offer besides those found in the realm of aesthetics.
Practical Advantages to Wide Plank Wood Flooring
Because the planks are wider, each plank will naturally take up more space. That means that the entire hardwood flooring project should take less time overall to install than a narrower plank hardwood flooring installation. As a homeowner, having a shorter installation time frame could be important to you when it comes to getting back into your home after a remodel or getting your new home construction project completed and move-in ready.
Due to its current popularity, flooring manufacturers and distributors are constantly coming up with greater varieties of wide plank wood flooring to meet homeowners’ needs and desires. That means you should have a wide selection of sizes, species, and colors to choose from should you decide to choose wide plank hardwood flooring for your home or office. The different choices are designed to not only satisfy customer demand for new and exciting looks but also help consumers with different budgets to be able to afford this unique and attractive look for their properties.
Drawbacks of Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring
While it’s true that wide plank hardwood flooring has many positive features, it also has a downside. For contractors, these planks may not always be easy to get at decent prices and in large enough quantities to meet demand. This is because they’re more difficult to mill. Another drawback is that wider planks allow for greater movement once they’re installed. When it comes to flooring, you want to minimize movement as much as possible, so the floor will stay flat and even for many years to come.
Tips for Success with Wide Plank Flooring: Choose the Right Species
Not every species is readily available for wide plank hardwood flooring projects. If you need a large number of planks to cover a significant amount of space, it makes sense to pick something durable that’s not going to end up being unreasonably difficult to obtain. Walnut is a very popular choice for hardwood flooring, but due to it not being the heartiest of trees, it’s challenging to get many high-quality planks that are more than 8” wide in this species. Suppliers or homeowners may be better off going with a heartier alternative that mimics the appearance of Walnut, such as Wenge. This species offers a similar rich, dark, rustic appearance as Walnut, but it’s more obtainable than Walnut in wider planks. If you end up going with a lighter wood alternative, you can always stain it to get a Walnut-like appearance.
Be Prepared for Imperfections and Color Variations
When dealing with wide planks, homeowners need to have realistic expectations. Since more of the natural wood grain will be showing in each plank, you’ll naturally be able to see more unevenness when it comes to color and grain. Many people like this kind of added character, though others are searching for a more uniform look. Wood flooring dealers ought to be upfront with potential customers about the reality of variation that they can reasonably expect when it comes to working with wide plank wood flooring.
In our final installment of this three-part article series on the pros and cons of using wide plank hardwood flooring, we’ll explore some more of the potential drawbacks to working with wide flooring planks. We’ll also point out some creative ways these challenges can be overcome to yield impressive results.