Are you ready to redecorate your home? Have you been longing for hardwood flooring for years?
Hardwood flooring is something many Coloradoans long for in their homes. It’s elegant. It’s beautiful. And it can up the resale value on your home if you plan on selling in the future.
But once you decide on adding hardwood flooring to your home, don’t think your decision-making process is complete. Making a decision on the right hardwood flooring also includes type, style, color and plank width. Because every decision you make will impact how your home looks. And if you select the wrong hardwood plank width, for instance, it can change the aesthetic value of your home right along with it.
What are hardwood plank widths?
Depending on which manufacturer you select, you’ll find a number of choices in hardwood plank width.
When hardwood flooring first came into style, all manufacturers kept their designs to a 2 or 3 inch width. No more. Today, you can find hardwood in a variety of lengths and widths. Known as “random widths”, you’ll find hardwood from anywhere a 4 to 10 inch width. Want wider? There are products with widths all the way to 24 inches wide. But these are considered more specialized, and aren’t often used in our modern structures.
Width often depends on what hardwood you choose – looking for oak, hickory, or other more traditional hardwood? These tend to be narrower due to the nature of the source of the wood. Hardwood trees are softer than softwood trees, which means the final product will be narrower as well.
Width also determines the cost. The wider the hardwood plank, the larger the tree needed for production. Larger trees need a longer time to grow, which increases the cost due to more extended harvesting.
With cheaper hardwood planks, they often come from the fastest growing trees. And in a lot of cases, they use every part of the tree: trunk, branches, and limbs. The wider the hardwood plank width, the more it’s produced from the thickest part of the tree. That makes it more expensive due to processing.
Of course, larger trees in diameter are also the tallest trees in the forest. When manufacturers create wider hardwood plank widths, they usually increase the length with it. This is partially because they have the length to work with. But it is also because longer lengths are visually more appealing when installing wider planks.
What about hardwood plank width installation?
If you’ve ever installed hardwood in your home before, you know one of the top tips is to bring in the hardwood several days before installation to acclimate the hardwood to your location. That process is needed no matter what the width, and is especially true the wider planks you choose.
Hardwood flooring does best when kept at a relative humidity range between 28 and 48 percent humidity. For wider planks, it’s even more important.
But it’s also important to remember that wider planks are created from higher quality trees. That means there’s a greater chance the hardwood was properly prepared. The timber was processed, cut and dried in the proper way, which means it has a higher chance for success once it’s laid into place.
Like every project, it’s important to understand your surrounding area before you make your selection. Does your home fluctuate throughout the year? Do you have a humidifier in place?
Humidity stability is important with wider plank widths. And while wide planks can be a challenge due to Colorado’s varying weather patterns, knowing your space well can help make installation a success.
Should you choose unfinished or prefinished?
There’s something appealing about walking through a flooring store and finding the perfect color for your floors. A lot of people like that process; that’s why prefinished hardwood choices are growing.
But it’s not always the best flooring choice for your situation.
For a do-it-yourselfer, finding the perfect prefinished floor boards can mean an easier project for you to take on. You won’t have to mess with the messy part of the project, and can have instant results as you lay each board into place.
However, factory finished flooring comes with stain and sealant already in place. They produce a hard shell for protection, but that’s more difficult to take off in the end. That means if you desire to strip and refinish your hardwood down the road, you’ll have a much more difficult time.
By going with unfinished, you can choose to finish the hardwood in any way you choose.
For wider planks, that means you can play with the look and placement before you stain and seal. That can ensure you get the flooring pattern you like before you finish off the project.
Another advantage of installing unfinished is seam filling. After the boards are laid into place, there are tiny seams between each board. Water and spills are one of the worst enemies with hardwood. Prefinished leaves these spaces open and can cause problems down the road. But with unfinished, you stain and seal the flooring after it’s installed. That means the tiny cracks will be filled in with sealant too, giving your entire floor a better chance at withstanding years of wear and tear.
What’s the right choice for you?
Selecting which hardwood to install in your home is a personal decision. It’s based on your personality, your decor, and your lifestyle.
If you choose a hardwood plank width too narrow or too wide, it’s not something you can easily change. So it’s important to spend time considering your choices carefully before you say “yes” to a plank size.
Have questions about what flooring is the best choice for your home? Want to learn more about hardwood plank width and how to incorporate it into your decor? Stop by today.