Wide Plank Flooring Review
When installing wood flooring, you’ll have decide on the wood specie, the finishing color and the size of the planks. Wood planks have become wider over the years and today most have a width between 2 1/2 to 4 inches. Wide planks can be as much as 20 inches wide.
Decades ago, wide planks were made from solid wood boards that were hand-scraped and had a rough-hewn texture. Today, there are several manufacturers that offer that vintage, distressed and rough-hewn look of yesteryear wide plank flooring. Wide wood planks with a smooth surface texture are also available.
Benefits and Disadvantages of wide plank Flooring
Wide plank floors are beautiful and with a larger surface per planks, they reveal the wood grain and natural beauty of the wood much better than narrower planks. Solid wood planks that are 10 to 20 inches wide are not cheap. This is due to the relative scarcity of trees from which such wide planks can be milled, the milling process itself and the waste produced from the process. Because they can be really expensive, wide planks are often milled from reclaimed wood such as oak, hickory and other hardwood species.
Benefits of Wide Plank Flooring
If you have a large space you want to cover with hardwood floors, wide plank flooring is a great option as wide planks visually look better than narrower planks. Because the planks are wider and longer, wide plank flooring looks continuous with less seams which puts more focus on the wood grain and the natural beauty of the wood. Wide plank flooring works well in a rustic setting and will definitely add substantial value to any home. You are more likely to find wide plank flooring in a custom luxury homes than a regular suburban home.
Disadvantages of Wide Plank Flooring
The main disadvantage of wide plank flooring is cost. The milling process, excessive waste and the limited amount of trees that can be used to mill wide planks all contribute to the high cost of wide planks. Limited availability of wide plank flooring also contributes to high cost as well as delays in procurement and installation. If you want wide plank flooring installed in your home, you’ll need to plan well in advance to avoid delays in installation. Because wide planks are also long, there are prone to warping in locations where there are extreme differentials in temperatures.
Installing wide plank flooring is substantially more expensive in both material and labor than regular wood planks. When installing reclaimed wide wood planks, you might save up a bit on material as compared to new milled wide wood planks, but the labor to install reclaimed planks will cost more as robust skills are required to choose pieces, match the wood grains, and eliminate cupping and gapping between planks. The cost of newly milled wide planks flooring is between $15 and $50 or more per square foot for the material alone. Reclaimed wide planks costs much less depending on the wood species but will cost more in labor because of all the additional work needed.
Maintenance and Repair
Keeping up with wide plank flooring is no different from taking care of regular size wood floors. Spills should be wiped promptly. Planks should be coated with a polyurethane finish regularly and the interior temperature should be kept consistent to avoid excess heat and moisture or cold which could cause warping. Because wide planks can be difficult to procure, it is strongly recommended to keep a few extra planks on hand in case repairs are needed in the future. Wide planks can be sanded and refinished just like any other types of wood floors.
Installing Wide Plank Flooring
Installing wide plank flooring requires solid skills especially if using reclaimed planks which involves dealing with cupping, cracking and installing planks without gaps. Because reclaimed planks do not have tongues and grooves, they must be installed by nailing them down from the top into the floor joists. On the other hand, installing newly manufactured wide planks is much easier since they are tongues and grooves. Newly manufactured planks are available pre-finished and unfinished.
While pre-finished wide planks can make the installation process faster and somewhat easier, unfinished wide planks that are finished onsite allow for seam-filling with a top coat to provide protection against moisture infiltration. This is especially important since wide wood planks are particularly prone to moisture damage. Pre-finished wide planks have a hard shell that must be chemically stripped if you want to sand and refinish the planks a different color. That process is not need with unfinished wide planks.