The Skinny on Hardwood Flooring: Which Width Works for You?

Ever stood in the hardwood flooring section of your local big-box home improvement store, looked at all the different widths of hardwood flooring, and suddenly remembered the lawn really needed to be mowed? You’re not alone. In fact, “What are the advantages of different hardwood flooring widths?” is one of the top questions homeowners ask us here at SMART Carpet and Flooring. Today, we’ll discuss each of the popular widths so you can determine which one would work best in your home.

Common Hardwood Flooring Widths
Today’s hardwood planks and tiles come in a variety of widths, but there are some standard hardwood flooring widths the majority of homeowners will prefer:

  • Narrow: 2 ¼” Hardwood Strip. Narrower wood strip flooring is making a comeback, thanks partly to its affordability and partly to the complex and vintage looks it can give a hardwood floor. With a wide variety of finishes available, oak and maple remain popular choices.

  • Mid: 3” and 4” Hardwood Plank. These are popular widths and have been for many years—and for good reason: These widths are nearly as affordable as the narrower hardwood strip flooring. Plus, with more planks across the width of the room, any natural expansion and contraction of the floor will be less noticeable. Oak and maple are also perennial favorites at this width, along with highly sustainable bamboo.

  • Wide: 5” and 7” Hardwood Plank. These wider planks appeal to homeowners with a modern aesthetic as well as those who want a more rustic, historical feel to their floors. Hickory in particular beautifully walks the line between rustic and modern, but wide plank flooring is also striking in birch, cherry, walnut, and pecan. Consult a flooring expert if you live in an extremely arid or humid climate: Natural expansion and contraction of hardwood flooring can become more noticeable with fewer planks to distribute the space between.

Mix and Match or Go for Uniformity?
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a hardwood floor installed in your home, you may be surprised to learn that, although many homeowners opt for the uniform appearance that comes with using all one width of hardwood flooring, a growing number are choosing to install a mixture of widths.

Today’s homeowners often randomly mix the 3” and 4” widths in the same floor, giving a more natural look with greater visual interest. Increasingly, we’re seeing homeowners choose even more variation, mixing and matching 3”, 4”, 5”, and even 7” in the same floor. However, when installing mixed width flooring, you normally wind up purchasing more product in order to keep the variation consistent.

The Bottom Line: It’s Up to YOU!
What hardwood flooring width is right for your home? It really boils down to your budget and your personal tastes. If you’d like to see how the different widths look in your home before you buy, schedule an in-home consultation with our SMART Carpet and Flooring mobile showroom staff. Our flooring experts will show you a variety of hardwood widths and finishes in the comfort of your own home (and, just as importantly, under your lighting and against your walls and décor). We’ll answer all your questions and stay within your budget. All you have to do is decide how wide (or narrow) you want to go.