Traditionally, hardwood flooring planks are about six inches wide. However, there is a trend towards wide hardwood planks emerging. Wide planks are typically between six inches and twelve inches. Wide hardwood planks are popular because the floor has fewer lines, producing a cleaner look. Also, it is the style that was more popular in past centuries, which makes the floor look rustic and antique. There are some concerns, though.
Hardwood floors tend to absorb moisture from the air as well as from the subfloor. If moisture is absorbed by the wooden planks, the planks can cup. Cupping is when the edges of the wood planks lift up to create a bowl shape. The wider the plank is, the more likely it is to cup because there’s more surface area. You can reduce the likelihood of cupping through several different methods. You can install a waterproof subfloor that blocks water vapor from passing through to the wooden planks.
Also, you can choose to top nail the planks to prevent cupping.
Top nailing is a process of nailing the planks to the subfloor through the top of the plank instead of through the side. Most floors are blind nailed now, which is nailing through the side of the plank at a 45 degree angle. Top nailing is the process that was used predominantly before the 20th century. The look of rows of nails holding down your floor will make the floor look very antique. It’s a perfect pairing for a wide plank floor if you want the floor to look antique.
In addition to planks being wider, wide planks are often longer as well. The longer planks take a little more work to install but they create a more seamless look. There are fewer vertical and horizontal lines throughout the floor. Fewer perpendicular lines means fewer breaks in the floor’s surface.
Wide plank floors are often stained in a way that looks rustic or antique. The stains used are often tinged with gray or green. A stain with gray and/or green hues reflects the changes that wood undergoes as it ages. These stains are often named after driftwood or swamps because they are designed to make wood look as if it has aged for decades. They pair very well with wide planks.
Wide plank floors will likely grow more popular in the future. Getting on the trend now will give you the widest range of options.