We’ve spent a few posts on the blog talking about flooring, especially covering the material choices between hardwood, carpet, tile and other materials. Without a doubt, hardwood flooring is the preferred choice throughout the barn home. However, within the category of hardwood floors there are many choices you can make that determine the feel of the flooring and how it impacts your home. While wood species and stain are obvious factors to consider, flooring width also has a great visual influence. Here are some tips on picking the right flooring width.
For around a century and a half, narrow plank flooring has been the most popular choice in hardwood flooring. This style uses floor boards that are typically 2 ¼ or 3 inches wide. Since this narrow style has always been easier to mass produce, it has also become a standard look for hardwood flooring. This means narrow plank hardwood floors are a timeless choice, one that feels like it belongs in any style home from any era. Similarly, it can have a classier feel than a wider plank, making it ideal in more formal rooms like dining rooms.
In contrast, wide plank flooring (with widths typically between 5 and 10 inches) is an older style that has recently seen a great surge in popularity. Since wide planks were easier to hand manufacture, they were common in older homes and barns. So, if you’re looking for barn home style, a wide plank floor is a good choice. The number of older homes and barns with this style of flooring, combined with its larger size, also makes it a better candidate for reclaimed flooring than narrow plank flooring.
A nice compromise between these two styles is commonly called “random width” flooring, although mixed width would be a better name. This style uses rows of flooring with differing widths, usually with three or more distinct widths of flooring. By using multiple widths, you maintain some of the rustic feel of a wide floor while maintaining a somewhat formal feel.
Cost tends to scale with width. While installation takes slightly more effort with narrow flooring, the material cost is lower so it tends to be less expensive than wide flooring. Again, mixed width floors will be somewhere in between these two on costs as well. Also, wider flooring means fewer seams between boards, which many homeowners find desirable. However, wider planks need longer length boards to look right in a room, so you should avoid it in smaller rooms.
We hope this look at hardwood flooring widths has helped shed some light on this important aspect of home design. If you would like to discuss this or any other aspect of designing your very own barn home, please contact us.