Common questions on wide plank timber flooring.

Pushing the boundaries of design, wide planks give a modern spacious feel to an interior space. Commonly-used narrow plank flooring offers a more traditional look but often creates a ‘busy’ look and feel.

We are going to cover some of the main questions we get asked about wide plank timber flooring:

Does wide plank flooring make a room look bigger or smaller?

Many people make the misstep of using thinner planks in their small rooms, which can sometimes emphasise how small the space actually is by making it look busier and more crowded.

Wide planks are perfect for opening up an interior space. Using a wide plank causes an optical illusion making your space appear bigger than it is. We always recommend wider planks for bigger and more vast, open spaces. Don’t forget that picking the right colour of your wide plank will also affect how ‘big’ your small room feels.

If you are still concerned though, here are a few other ideas to give your room an open feel:

  • Make the flooring the star! A minimalistic design will make your wide plank floors more noticeable and make it feel like there is more space.
  • Lighter is better! When it comes to wall colour, go with lighter colours to make the room seem more open and spacious.
  • Simple is better in small spaces! Don’t opt for larger furniture and make sure you limit the amount of clutter in your space.
  • Be aware that dark hardwood flooring can be wonderful in a limited space. Unlike darkness on walls, deep colouring on floors makes a light ceiling appear higher and seems to elevate the entire room.
  • Lighter shades of hardwood flooring tend to brighten up a space and make it feel larger. Bright and creamy floor tones can help modernise a small room, adding an element of airiness.
  • Lighting! Snag as much natural light as you can or install warm artificial lights to make your small space as attractive and inviting as possible.
  • One flooring type for all rooms – Using the same hardwood flooring in several rooms in your home is proven to create a seamless effect that helps each room flow which makes smaller spaces in the home appear larger and part of something bigger.

What is the widest plank wood flooring?

Wide plank flooring refers to hardwood flooring sold in planks that are notably wider than the 120-190mm boards that make up the vast majority of the wood flooring market. While the tendency for hardwood flooring is now toward 180mm planks up to 220mm wide, true wide-plank hardwood flooring is a relatively small subset of the hardwood flooring market, with boards that range from 260mm to 500mm in width.

Traditionally wide plank flooring boards were made from solid wood boards that were hand-scraped, so they typically had a rough-sawn surface texture. Wide plank flooring boards can now be made with a variety of finishes, including brushed and smooth textures that are commonly found on modern hardwood flooring.

We have a large range of wide plank flooring options available, ranging from a narrow 120mm plank to a massive ½-metre-wide plank. Our most common stocked size is between 180-190mm. We also have a few options that are available in a random width boards. Explore our wide plank flooring options here.

Is wide plank flooring more expensive?

Yes wide plank flooring is most often more expensive than narrow plank flooring.

The width of the boards is the reason why wide plank flooring is notably more expensive than other forms of wood flooring. Wide boards call for long plank lengths in order to be visually proportional and give it dimensional stability. Achieving boards this wide and long means there is a limited number of trees that are suitable, and there is considerable waste involved in milling such boards because it produces fewer planks. Hardwood boards 350 to 500mm wide are expensive given the relative scarcity of trees suitable to their manufacture.

However, just because wider planks have a higher purchase price, it doesn’t mean it will drastically increase the installation costs of laying the floorboards, since wider planks cover more surface area, it’s reasonable to expect that they won’t take as long to cover a surface and there will be fewer seams.

Common issues with wide plank flooring?

There are no problems specifically related to the width of a flooring plank. The fact is that all wood flooring problems can usually be traced back to one or more of these factors:

–          Poor wood quality
–          Insufficiently cured wood
–          Improper installation
–          Improper acclimation to regular climate conditions

Quality

Better wood makes better floors. There are no compromises when it comes to selecting the trees and the cuts of wood to make a Wide Plank Floor. Old-growth trees in the prime growing region for each species are carefully selected with the planks cut from the center of the tree. This way the planks have the maximum amount of vertical grain density for superior strength and stability at every width and length. This minimises the chances for shrinkage and expansion.

Curing

Natural wood is organic… it breathes! As it does, it can absorb or give off water as it tries to match it’s environment. Green or insufficiently cured wood can contain excessive moisture and/or be damaged by internal stresses associated with improper drying processes. This can lead to excess shrinkage, warping, splitting, cracking and other ugly problems.

Installation

The process of installing an engineered wide plank floor is relatively easy, especially with engineered wide boards – after all, there are fewer boards to install. However, certain attention to details during the installing process will ensure the best possible outcome and long-term stability and performance of your wide plank floor. From acclimating the wood, to subfloor preparation, laying the boards, and using the proper adhesive methods, every step needs to be followed correctly. We advise you to let your local flooring contractor organise and install your timber flooring.

Acclimatisation

Wood works in all stable interior environments if acclimatised properly.

Acclimation: To gradually become more comfortable in a new place, especially where physical conditions are very different.

Acclimatisation is a valuable step in the process of installing a new timber floor. Like installation, the exact acclimation process will vary depending on your location, environmental factors, subfloor, and the type of flooring being installed. The period of time required for installation can vary depending on these factors as well. Wider planks usually need more time to acclimatise than narrower planks. The best way to understand the proper acclimatisation process for your floor is to contact your local installer.

Pros of wide plank floors

  • Wide planks are great for unique wood floor designs, and they really stand out as a significant feature in any space. Wide planks are awesome for creating non-traditional wood floor designs. They tend to be popular in more rustic-inspired design themes, but there’s really no limit to where wide planks can look appealing.
  • In some ways, wider floorboards are more durable than narrow planks. The reason for this basically comes down to simple physics – wide planks have more surface area so they’re better at dissipating impact forces. Of course, if you’re looking for the most durable wood flooring, the species itself is still the determining factor. And wide planks aren’t a more scratch-resistant flooring choice either – so if you’re looking for the best wood flooring for pets, don’t feel restricted to wide plank options!

Cons of wide plank hardwood flooring

  •  Humidity can have a larger effect on wide plank wood flooring Wider planks can be more susceptible to expansion and shrinkage in climates where the humidity level fluctuates widely over the seasons. That being said, all timber flooring performs best in environments with stable humidity. Warping and cupping can be a problem for any timber flooring in some areas where steamy summers are followed by cold, bone-dry winter air. Now, the good news here is that wide plank engineered timber flooring actually counters humidity much better than solid timber. The optimal moisture/humidity range for wide plank hardwood flooring is between 28 and 48 percent.

You may well ask yourself if wide plank floors are the right flooring type for your house and if the cost of genuine wide planks is worth it. The question is really a matter of the value you put on the authenticity of the flooring. Wide plank flooring is for homeowners who place a premium on natural luxury and want to demonstrate it. This flooring ranks up there with expensive stone flooring as a material that shouts high-end construction.

Get in touch if you have any further questions!

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