There is no doubt that wide plank floors can be an effective way to introduce visual drama to a space. Unfortunately, if the flooring system is not properly designed and installed, wide planks can also introduce emotional drama to your project!
It is important to understand the special requirements of wide plank floors prior to specifying them on a project. While solid wide planks have all the same physical characteristics as narrower solid planks of the same species, their greater breadth may make some of the characteristics become problematic.
For instance, all wood species expand and contract with changes in ambient humidity. If a 2” wide plank expands to 2.02” when exposed to high humidity, a 10” wide plank of the same species would be expected expand to 10.1” under the same conditions. When less humid conditions return and the flooring contracts once more, some gaps will likely remain between the planks. The 10” wide planks will have gaps averaging 0.1”, but since gaps are not presented uniformly across a floor, some gaps may be up to 1/4” wide!
Other wood characteristics such as shape deformation and appearance defects (knots, grain deviation, sapwood, mineral streaks, etc.) are also more prevalent in solid wide planks. Shape deformation is normally controlled by setting the planks in a full bed of adhesive, followed by face fastening – screwing down the planks, then concealing the screw heads with wooden pegs.
Use of high quality engineered flooring can eliminate the need for face fastening, and alleviate some of the problems associated with solid wide planks. But be forewarned, the vast majority of engineered wood flooring products are poorly designed and utilize low quality materials. There are only a few engineered flooring manufacturers offering durable, high quality, well designed products, so product selection must be made carefully. While there may be some high quality products from over-seas manufacturers available, there are great advantages to choosing a domestically produced product. Not only can we assure the quality of the production, but turn-around time for custom orders can be much faster, AND you will be supporting U.S. manufacturing!
Please contact us at 212-627-1818 for further information and guidance.