Wide-Plank Engineered Wood Flooring Pairs Style and Function

High-end unfinished and prefinished engineered flooring has been gaining steam for the last few years as has the wide-plank type of wood flooring. Put the two together and you have a perfect marriage of style and function.

Generally, wide planks refer to board widths of 5 inches and up, with maximum width topping at about 20 inches. Most wide planks, however, are on the lower part of the scale, in the 5-8” range. The greater width truly draws attention to the wood’s aesthetics, putting the spotlight on the knots, grain, worm holes and other character marks. Many people find that wide planks make a space appear visually larger and more open, making this style ideal for smaller spaces as well as tighter bedrooms and living rooms.

One aspect of wide plank flooring that poses a challenge is its greater susceptibility to cupping (edges lifting up) and crowning (board bowing up) when compared to the narrower planks. Temperature and humidity are two factors that determine the extent of the shrinking and swelling. This is where 3-ply engineered wood becomes the ideal choice for wide-plank flooring.

Engineered wood is designed to expand and contract less, thus reducing the amount of cupping and crowning. But a multi-layer plywood base with a 4- to 6-mm hardwood top layer can also introduce room for bonding failures, friction and adhesion issues. The 3-ply engineered wood flooring addresses these problems. The 3 layers of solid-sawn hardwood are cross-plied and glued to create a solid, balanced board. With only 2 glued “joints”, the flooring can better tolerate temperature and humidity variations. The thicker top veneer can also be re-sanded multiple times and finished.

There are a number of applications for 3-ply engineered wood flooring. I can be used in spaces where solids can’t be, like below grade. It’s also been a popular choice for radiant heat floors in high-end homes, condos and lofts, thanks to its stability and heat tolerance, and brings visual interest to kitchen and bathrooms where moisture is a factor. Keep in mind that, in this application, it is important to monitor and control the humidity levels, particularly during the winter season in Northern regions where the heating months last longer. A hygrometer is an expensive tool to measure humidity at home.

Best of all, 3-ply engineered wood flooring can be a budget-friendly option compared to other flooring systems and comes in many species of wood. If you are looking for wide plank flooring with emphasis on performance and longevity, give us a call.