In times past wide plank flooring was as wide as the trees from which the planks were cut with the narrowest ones at least six inches but often times they were much wide, Today because there are few trees large enough to make wide plank flooring salvaged boards are often used to make this type of flooring. These salvaged boards can come from old building like warehouses, barns, or factories, or from older floors. The wood that is most desired for renovation and new construction are heart pine and oak.
Other flooring types that are also salvaged include ash, hemlock, maple, elm, and beech. The planks will usually be dried in a kiln and then cut to standard sizes before they are installed. Having solid wood wide plank flooring can be sanded and refinished many times so they will last a long time.
Wide Plank Flooring
In todays market when discussing wide plank flooring they are talking about solid wood flooring that is greater in width than three inches and is usually unfinished. Most are between three and twenty inches in width and sold in random widths. Random widths generally mean an amount of three or more widths that are different. You will get a tally sheet with your order telling you how much square and lineal footage you have, which will let you know how many of each width you have. If you just want one width they do sell single width floors. They also offer repeating pattern orders. Either of these are considered a special order so there is often a surcharge because the manufacturer will have to do more sorting of the planks to make the order that you requested.
The lengths will vary by manufacture with the higher end wide plank flooring coming in longer lengths, which can range from eight to sixteen feet long. Because the length of the flooring varies between manufactures you should ask the manufacture some questions to make sure that you get the lengths that you want. You should ask them what their plank length range is from the shortest to the longest board possible, what their minimum average plank length is, and what percentage of your order of planks will be minimum average length or longer.
Overtime all wood floors develop wear marks, which is part of wide plank floorings charm. If you want the flooring to develop a patina quicker you should choose a softer wood. One type of popular soft wood is pine because is develops an “aged” feel quickly. The other wood to choose from is called hard wood and includes hickory, ash, oak, and maple. Where you are going to install your wide plank flooring will also make a difference in your wood selection. For an area that has high traffic the better choice would be a hard wood but a softer wood would be ideal for a bedroom. You also need to know what color you want the finished floor to be and the statement that you want your new wide plank floor to make.
Source: Flooring Downriver Michigan