For the past few years, wide plank hardwood flooring has been trending. It’s been popular with many different homeowners and only growing in popularity. However, it’s now being challenged by its polar opposite: skinny plank. Wide plank flooring is typically defined by planks that are over six inches wide. Four to six inches is about the standard plank width. Now, many homeowners are choosing to go with skinny planks. Skinny planks are usually two to four inches wide. Why would they be choosing this width?
Hardwood flooring is susceptible to damage from moisture. When the wood itself absorbs moisture, the edges tend to curl up. That is known as cupping. When the floor bends asymmetrically, it’s known as buckling. Lastly, a floor can also bulge, which is when the center rises higher than the edges. All of these can be caused by moisture. The rigidity of the wood will resist this distortion. Much as longer boards are weakest in the middle, wider boards are also weakest in the middle. So, a wider plank hardwood floor is more susceptible to distortion from moisture. If you want to avoid that, you could choose skinny planks.
They’re especially popular in basement apartments and attic lofts. Basements and attics experience the widest range of humidity and temperature swings. Skinny planks could be ideal for those applications.
Some people just like the way skinny planks look. Paradoxically, they achieve something of a similar effect to wide planks. Wide planks create a more unified look to the floor because they have fewer lines. Skinny planks have so many lines that it creates a unified look. The busy look of the floor sort of blends together into one canvas.
Hardwood installation of a skinny plank floor will likely take longer than a standard width or a wide plank floor. Each plank has to be nailed down. So, if you need to cover 120 inches of floor width with planks that are two inches wide, you’ll need 60 planks. You would only need maybe ten planks of a wide floor. That’s six times as much nailing. However, they can be simpler to install in rooms that are not easy rectangles. If the room has several tight corners or an odd shape, it’s easier to cut skinny planks to fit against the wall. Each plank will need to be cut much less to accommodate for odd shapes.