Five Things You Should Know When Choosing Wide Plank Wood Flooring

1. Know the size of your project. Estimate the square footage of  wide plank flooring you will need based on your room’s dimensions, then add 10 percent.   (By knowing  your square footage needs, we can figure out whether we have enough material in inventory to process your order ASAP. With custom made-to-order floors it’s important to order early – two to three months ahead ideally –  to ensure you get exactly the floor you want and that you get it to your home in time for it to acclimate prior to installation.)  Also be sure your site conditions are appropriate for wood flooring (for example, we don’t recommend installing our solid wood floors below grade).

2. Think about wood species.  Look at a lot of pictures. Spend some time browsing photos of different wood species, and learn about the properties of the woods. Does the wood you like make sense for your needs? (If you are a perfectionist who can’t stand the look of distressed floors, you probably want to go with a harder wood that won’t show wear easily).  Don’t get too hung up on the color of a particular floor you see in a photo, as the same wood can look very different depending on the finish you choose.  Applying a stain can also change the color of a floor dramatically.You may want to experiment with different finishes to make sure you get the look you like best. (Hull Forest Products offers free unfinished samples-just go into one of our species galleries, click on any photo, and select the “more details” button to order samples). Figure 2, below, shows the range of coloration between various types of clear satin sheen finishes. The finishes were applied to samples of our unfinished Select grade White Oak flooring.

White Oak floor boards labeled with different finishes applied for comparison purposes

Figure 2: Note the color variation between these different types of clear satin sheen finishes when applied to identical planks of our select grade White Oak. From the left: Bona Mega Waterborne satin finish, Lenmar polyurethane oil-based satin finish, Sutherland Welles tung oil satin finish, and Waterlox tung oil satin finish.

3. Consider grades of wood. Once you’ve decided on a species of wood, you’ll have a choice of grades within that species.  All of our flooring grades perform well; the grade is purely a matter of style and cost. We call wood with clear grain and few to no knots Select grade. Wood with natural character markings like knots or bark pocket is called Natural grade.  Premium grade is a midpoint between these two grades.

4. Consider plank widths. Plank widths affect the price of your floor and they have a big visual impact as well.  Choosing a range of plank widths (known as “random widths”) is less expensive than requesting floor boards that are all 7″ wide, for example.  This is because the material does not have to be sorted as much or ripped to 7 inches. Figure 3, below, illustrates the look of a floor with random widths.  The planks are a mix of 5 inch, 8 inch, and 12 inch widths.

rift and quartersawn white oak wide plank floors random width

Figure 3: Rift and quartersawn White Oak wide plank floor with random plank widths from 5 to 12 inches.

Compare the look of the random width floor boards in Figure 3 above to the floor shown in Figure 4, below, which features plainsawn White Oak floor planks that are each 10 inches wide.  This gives you an idea of the visual impact of random widths vs. equivalent widths.

White Oak wide plank flooring, all 10 inch wide planks, from Hull Forest Products, hullforest.com.

Figure 4: Select grade plainsawn White Oak wide plank flooring, all 10 inch wide planks, with a satin sheen poly finish.

5. Do you want unfinished wood flooring or prefinished wood flooring? In some cases, such as an apartment in a high rise that doesn’t allow on-site wood finishing, this question may already be answered for you. It may depend on whether you are building a new home or already living in an existing one.  The up-front cost of prefinished flooring is higher, roughly $3.00-$4.00 more per square foot.  On the other hand, if you are hiring a professional to finish your floor on site, it may cost at least $3 per square foot. Some people prefer the look of a site-finished floor because it has a snug, square edge with no bevel, compared to a prefinished floor, which will have a slight microbeveled edge on the sides of the planks.  It’s up to you, so weigh your options.

Related posts:

Choosing a Wood Floor for Your Kitchen

Why Plank Length Matters in Wood Flooring

As always, we are here to answer your questions!  Happy browsing, and when you’re ready to find the perfect wood floor for your home, give us a call or send us an email.  1-800-928-9602  Browse wide plank wood floors anytime at hullforest.com.

 

Comments

  1. I love the color of unfinished white oak floors. Is there any way to finish them without altering the natural color of the wood? If so, what specific product do you recommend?
    If not, can floors be installed and left unfinished in a home? Bottom line for me is I really don’t want any stain or added color to my floor. I want the exact look of the wood inside the trunk of the tree 🙂

    • Water based poly finishes provide more of a clear coat that highlights the floor’s natural color. Oil-based poly finishes can impart an amber glow over time. There are many great finishes out there – and the function of the finish is to protect the floor from wear, spills, and stains. You can leave your floor unfinished if you like, but it will quickly develop wear marks so make sure you are comfortable with this patina.

  2. what kind of amber effect will the oil based finish impart on a grey stained white oak

    • It could give it a yellowish cast over time, so you probably want to stick with a water based poly if using a grey stain over White Oak.

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