Guide to Wide Plank Flooring – Pros & Cons

kitchen with wide flooring planks

Guide to Wide Plank Flooring – Pros & Cons

Getting a floor with wider planks for your home or office not only accentuates the spaciousness of a room, but it also helps to complement contemporary and rustic ambiances alike. Recent advances in technology have also meant that wide plank floors are more resistant to changes in humidity and temperature while coming at a price that’s cheaper than ever.

Nearly all flooring types can come in a wide plank format, including solid timber, engineered timber, hybrid and laminate floors. (If you’d like to know the difference between each flooring type, we have a Guide to Choosing a Floor for you here.)

Benefits

One of the largest benefits of wide plank flooring is visual appeal – they certainly make a statement in your home! Wide plank floors exhibit a feeling of sturdiness and quality that standard floors can’t. This is particularly true with floors that use real timber, as wide planks allow you to showcase the unique and natural texture of the wood. This includes the grain of the timber, colour variations, knots, gum veins, and spirals.

Here are some examples of wide plank laminate flooring from the Luxflor Hugo range in European oak styles:

Oak Smoke Oak Natural Oak Grey
Oak Smoke Oak Natural Smoke Grey

You can also get Australian hardwood styles which have stronger tones and different grain patterns:

Blackbutt Spotted Gum Blue Gum
Blackbutt (Matte) Spotted Gum (Matte) Blue Gum (Matte)

Wide plank floors can also drastically change the feel of a room by making it feel bigger than it actually is. Planks that are even wider can even go the opposite direction and make your space feel smaller and more cosy.

As fewer planks are needed to cover a given surface area, installation can be quicker than normal-width planks. You also get fewer seams within your room, although with the caveat that these seams can become more prominent as the planks naturally expand and contract. Having fewer seams can mean that your floor looks less busy to the eye.

With the advent of flooring technologies like engineered timber and hybrid floors, wide plank floors have become much more accessible to the average buyer. This also means that you have plenty of choice, as there are now many flooring models that come in a wide plank format.

Wide plank floors can be more environmentally friendly than standard width floors. How, you ask? As getting wide planks from trees is quite a difficult process due to scarcity, some wide plank floors are made from wood that’s been reclaimed from disused constructions like railroad ties and old houses. Not only does this bring wide plank floors into an aesthetic of their own, but you’re also doing your part to reuse the limited resources available on Earth.

Wide planks are also slightly more durable as any impact force on a plank is spread out over a larger surface area.

Hamptons living area with wooden flooring

Drawbacks

Despite the great advantages of having a wide plank floor in your home or office, wide planks do come with a few drawbacks.

First, wide plank floors are more vulnerable to moisture, and water ingress can cause issues such as creaking, warping, and buckling. Higher quality wide plank floors that use kiln-dried wood can cope a little bit better as they have a lower moisture content and don’t absorb as much moisture as their counterparts. As such, you won’t find solid timber floorboards wider than 130mm as they are less resistant to swelling.

As you would imagine, wide plank floors in solid timber, engineered flooring and oak flooring are more costly to produce and supply. This is primarily a result of added difficulty milling wide floorboards and there being a limited number of suitable trees that are old and large enough to produce wide plank floors. In fact, although you use fewer planks, wide plank floors may cost more than their standard width counterparts, although it isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Although installation can be faster, extra care needs to be taken during installation to ensure that there are sufficient expansion gaps between floorboards and the walls. We recommend a minimum of 10mm for most flooring types, especially wider floorboards. This is more of an issue for flooring types like solid timber and engineered timber floors that use real timber in their construction, as the wood fibres can expand and contract due to changes in their environment.

installing wide laminate floors

So should you get wide plank flooring?

Compared to standard flooring planks, wide plank floors look beautiful and exude an unmatched quality of construction. However, they just aren’t for everyone, especially if you have narrow hallways or have a room that’s relatively small.

If you’re thinking of getting wide plank flooring, it’s important to think about what you want your space to look like. Contemporary and rustic designs in particular work well with wide plank floors, as well as when you want to enjoy the natural character of the timber.

If you’re not sure on whether you should get wide plank floors, a flooring specialist can definitely help you out! On-site consultations and getting a feel for how a floor will interact with your particular space will help you determine whether it’s right for you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Wide plank floors can be suitable for humid environments, but you need to take extra care in choosing and installing your floor.

First, choosing the right flooring type is essential – hybrid flooring and engineered timber floors are generally more stable and don’t react to moisture as much as solid timber, although certain species of solid timber floors are still quite suitable.

When installing, make sure to leave appropriate expansion gaps (10mm) to prevent warping of your wider floors – follow your flooring model’s installation guide for more detail. Installing a moisture barrier underneath your floor may also be useful in limiting water ingress to your floor.

Whether or not wide plank flooring is better than standard floor will depend upon your priorities when choosing a new floor.

However, wide plank floors do offer a number of advantages.

  1. First, wide plank floors are more premium-feeling and make a statement in your home – not only do they showcase the unique beauty of natural timber, but they can also make your space feel wider and more contemporary.
  2. Wide plank floors also come in a multitudinous range of designs, some of which are made from environmentally-friendly reclaimed wood.
  3. Finally, wide plank floors can be quicker to install as fewer planks are needed to cover a given area.

Both, actually! Generally, wide plank floors make a room look bigger – as there are fewer seams in a given area, your floor looks less cluttered and busy. However, going too wide can mean that your space actually looks smaller because your eyes are used to seeing standard-sized floorboards.

It’s always a good idea to book a consultation with a flooring expert to help you find a wide flooring option that’s right for your space.

Interested in more flooring ideas? Check out our guide to European Oak timber flooring design ideas!

From rustic to contemporary designs, wide plank floors are so versatile that they might as well be a continuing trend in 2021 and beyond. Wide plank floors are not only great for exhibiting the natural beauty of timber in your space, but they also make rooms feel more airy and inviting.

Hardwood timber flooring is commonly found between 80mm – 130mm as this is the optimal range for both design and dimensional stability against swelling.

If you are looking for something wider, laminate flooring or hybrid flooring can go up to 230mm or even higher! This is because the designs are printed onto the floorboard rather than naturally grown like real timber. Laminate and hybrid floors come in the same designs as hardwood flooring.

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