Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring - Types & Styles
Wide plank hardwood floors are making an enormous comeback after years and years of standard skinny strip flooring popularity. For those that may have much older colonial style homes or converted farmhouses built in the 18th and 19th century, older more prized heart pine, eastern white pine, and other variations can be found.
Wider planks provide more of a country motif. Older more valued floors are not your standard 3/4 inch thickness either. In earlier days settlers just wanted functional flooring and thicker stock was the norm. Lumber was rough sawn because electric power and milling technology hadn't reached the building trade or interior design of the time.
Reclaimed Wide Plank
Today many wide plank floors can be obtained from reclaimed lumber, at much higher costs. Prices are high because of supply and demand. In addition, reclaimed lumber and specialty flooring mills utilize every aspect of hardwood that has been saved from older buildings. They may saw large 10 x 16 inch beams into today's more standard 3/4 inch thickness. Transportation costs are high. Many of these specialty flooring manufacturers may be thousands of miles from the source, opposed to being practically in the forest.
Newer milled solid 3/4 inch wide plank products can be obtained in widths up to twenty inches in several hardwood species. When it comes to cost of any hardwood floor, the greater the width the higher the price will be. Variations are available from the more expensive and harder to find clear grade to what seems more popular, rustic varieties. Manufacturers often place their own grade name because of the variances opposed to common graded hardwood.
If you're considering wide plank flooring it is important to know the characteristics of such. Some wider plank floors can be more problematic because of their properties. Manufacturers that utilize material such as straight grain (type of log cut) will not react to seasonal movement as standard lower priced wide plank flooring.
Engineered Wide Plank Floors
In recent years, many of the more common hardwood floor mills have begun producing wide plank engineered flooring and selling them prefinished. Engineered in that they have a stable cross ply base with a veneered surface. Veneer thickness will vary, but many manufacturers only provide a 2 mm veneer. Specialty mills on the other hand, are now making unfinished engineered with thicker veneers, or ones that can be successfully refinished if need be at a later date.
Short Boards, Long Boards
For those preferring a factory finished wide plank, prefinished engineered may be the way to go, but don't expect the real authentic look. Mass produced prefinished products generally have lengths that don't exceed 42 or 48 inches, but there are a handful that go near six feet and longer. Few go over five to seven inches in width. Conversely, mills that specialize can offer lengths up to 16 feet! Naturally with the longer lengths, costs will increase, much the same as getting into wider width planks.
Random Width Plank
Random width products are more common in the 3, 5 and seven inch format in both prefinished and unfinished flooring. This does not rule out other possibilities as custom mills can provide anything to your desire, but will take longer to receive. Typically minimum orders are only accepted.
Bevels, No Bevels
Depending on what look you're trying to achieve, prefinished engineered hardwoods for the most part will be beveled or micro beveled. Also, few if any, larger wide plank floors will not offer a seamless appearance unless absolute climate control is followed. Still we have our doubts.
Top Nailed Antique Look
Nearly all excessive wide plank floors will have to be top nailed.
• Labor Costs: Installation and Refinishing
• Hardwood Flooring Types, Options - Construction
• Engineered Hardwood Floors
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