Autumn is America’s favorite season. This is according to most polls and for reasons that many of us can get behind—fall offers a reprieve from the summer’s heat while cooler temperatures abound, and fall colors sprinkle our days with magic. We don’t know about you, but we can almost feel the chilly air and smell the pumpkin spice.
In addition to all that seasonal goodness, fall is one of the best times of year to install wood flooring. There is less moisture in the air and less of a chance for buckling or cupping because we aren’t running our cooling and heating units like we do in summer and winter.
When folks are looking into new floors, one of the first questions we hear is: “What is the best width for my hardwood flooring?”
This is a great question. Ultimately, it depends on you and your home.
In most cases you will want to decide on and stick with one width—whether wide, standard, or narrow—so that your home looks uniform. (There is always the exception to the rule, and we’ll speak to random-width flooring in our next blog!)
So let’s break down the specifics, so you can make the right choice for your space.
Sticking with the standard.
These days, the standard width in hardwood flooring is the 4- or 5-inch wide plank. Curious minds may know that the standard has grown wider with time.
These widths are often the go-to because the boards can fit nicely and effectively in most rooms. For kitchens, dining rooms, and bedrooms, a 5-inch-wide plank will work quite well.
Hardwood floor widths like these are often more popular, more often stocked, and you can usually find a good deal. As well, they come in a wide array of colors and design features.
Wide planks continue to be popular, and that trend doesn’t seem like it’s going to go away anytime soon. And it’s easy to know why. For instance, wide planks in open spaces can be breathtaking, given the majestic feeling from these wide boards of dazzling natural wood.
Wide planks start at 6 inches and can go up to 10 inches or even more than a foot.
If you want to go wide, think about your design style and what you are after. Wide planks can be both super rustic and conversely super hip. We say rustic because think about how wide planks come from one cut. These boards will show a lot of features of the wood such as knots and natural movement in the grain. If you want that kind of natural look, then wide boards are going to be a good choice.
For example, wide planks in a rustic home are just gorgeous the way they flow in harmony with classic or farmhouse decor. In a contemporary home or modern loft, wide planks offer a real sleek look with fewer seams. The boards can feel like they stretch farther, giving you a really magnificent, stunning feeling when you see them. So both of those styles are well-suited for wide boards.
The difficulties with these types of widths primarily have to do with installation. Wide boards can cup more often than smaller ones. If you are putting this flooring down in a small room, then the wide planks will sometimes seem like they’re shrinking the room down, giving it a cramped feeling. These are some drawbacks, but we certainly believe they can be managed well especially if you’re passionate about wide-plank flooring.
Narrow planks (sometimes called strip planks), 2- to 3-inches wide, have a long history and were the industry standard for many years. In addition to having history on their side, they are great for small spaces.
Narrow boards are cleaner with fewer knots and fewer natural wood qualities than you’ll find in a larger floor simply because of the size. A narrow plank is cut from smaller pieces of wood that show fewer blemishes.
Again, think about what kind of space you have. If you have large, airy rooms, then narrow boards are not going to be a good choice because they will make the room feel too busy. However, if you are looking for a sleek clean look, then narrow floors are a great option. If you have an older home with smaller rooms, narrow hallways, or a funky kitchen, then it’s a classy, time-honored choice to go with these smaller planks.
Costs and Engineered Flooring Options.
Costs will always vary, and especially now with the pandemic and subsequent shipping shortages; however, wide plank flooring will cost you more than standard or narrow floors. Because prices fluctuate, we won’t go into cost here.
We will say that remember to account for installation costs in your budget. So that you are not surprised by installation fees, we recommend finding a professional flooring contractor who can come out and give you a project quote.
Engineered flooring is an excellent option to consider for its price point, including its straightforward installation with tongue-and-groove boards. Engineered product is versatile and fits many design styles since the flooring comes in a wide assortment of colors and finishes.
It’s up to you.
The choice is up to you. You need to consider your design style, the size of your space, your budget, hardwood or engineered flooring, and installation conditions before making your choice. We hope this blog has helped make your decision easier.
If you are thinking about getting creative by using random widths for your flooring, a unique concept with advantages and challenges, then stay tuned as we’ll talk about it in our next blog.
For any questions about flooring width or our collections, please visit our website or contact us by phone, 877.215.1831.