How to Choose the Best Hardwood Floor Width

May 10, 2024 | By Bruce Product Expert

When selecting solid or engineered hardwood flooring, focusing your energies on species and color is straightforward and logical. But there’s another essential consideration that impacts your decision — wood plank sizes.

Wood flooring size impacts your decision in two ways.

How Plank Size Impacts Your Selection

First, plank thickness, in great measure, impacts floor quality and longevity. Solid hardwood comes in sizes ranging from 5/16 to 3/4 inches thick.

Generally, thicker flooring lets you sand and refinish your floors multiple times. And that dramatically extends the life of your hardwood, so you get the most from your investment.

Second, plank widths significantly impact the look of your hardwood floors. For example, it used to be narrow plank flooring of 2-1/4 inch to 3 inches wide was the norm.

And that flooring was typically solid white oak with its consistent, clean grain pattern. The narrow widths worked with virtually any style owing to their clean lines.

Today, wide plank flooring has taken center stage with homeowners. Standard boards today are generally four to five inches. But wide boards from seven to even 24 inches have become stand fare. It’s interesting to note that engineered hardwood flooring often uses wider planks in its construction.

So let’s look closer at choosing the best floor width for your space.

Consider the Room Size

One of the primary factors to consider when selecting hardwood width is the size of the room. For smaller rooms, narrower planks (around 2-3 inches) can create an illusion of space and make the area feel more open.

For example, narrower planks laid length-wise in a small hallway create the illusion of a longer and more expansive area. However, you can place the boards perpendicular to the walls if you prefer wide planks.

You can undoubtedly use wider boards, but your best bet is at most six to eight inches. Consider using a lighter color to help maintain an airy look in that event.

In contrast, wider planks (around 4-6 inches or more) are better suited for larger rooms as they provide balance and grandeur. You can add that grandeur using random-width planks that add even more character to your floors.

For instance, wider planks boldly appear in larger open-plan areas like living rooms and dining spaces.

What Style is Your Home?

For example, a traditional home often dictates narrower planks. The narrow widths reflect a classic look while making a room more elegant.

Narrow planks are also perfect for creating patterned looks in your flooring, like parquet, herringbone, or chevron.

On the other hand, wider planks suit a rustic style perfectly, and the wider, the more rustic. Nonetheless, they’ve become equally popular in contemporary or modern homes, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication.

What’s Your Budget for Wood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring costs vary based on factors such as the species, grade, and, yes, plank width.

Wider planks are typically more expensive than narrower ones. That’s because they require higher material costs and additional milling. Still, you’ll likely save on installation costs because installers can lay wide plank flooring more quickly than narrow planks..

What Hardwood Width Do You Like?

Room designers can give you all the reasons why you should be using narrow or wider plank flooring. But there’s one essential item that trumps their recommendations — you.

It’s your home, so it has to reflect what appeals most to you. If you like to keep things clean and simple, narrow planks accomplish that. Because their cut from smaller pieces, narrow planks show fewer blemishes than wider planks. They’re also more formal and refined.

Wide planks show more of the wood’s features, like knots and graining, adding to their personality. Finishes like wire brushing or hand scraping increase their natural look even more. For example,
hickory flooring makes its boldest statement with a wide plank installation.

Whatever Hardwood Floor Width You Like, Bruce® Has You Covered

We have solid and engineered hardwood in planks ranging from 2-1/14″ to more than 7″. And we have every popular species: red and white oak, maple, hickory, ash, birch, cherry, and walnut.

You can visit our website to order samples, shipped free to your door. Or stop by a local retailer to see our extensive hardwood and luxury vinyl tile flooring firsthand.

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