I went with my son to a local seafood restaurant that had been converted from an old warehouse. From the exposed beams to the wide plank flooring, it was authentic. Looking at the plank flooring made me realize how truly rough-hewn real
plank flooring is. You could lose a small child in the spaces between those planks--I nearly did. But a different type of plank flooring has become popular in recent years in residential applications.
What is Plank Flooring?
Traditional plank flooring generally has the following attributes:
- It's wide, six inches or more.
- It has gaps between the boards.
- It is hand scraped.
What is Hand-Scraped or -Planed Plank Flooring?
Plank flooring was originally sawn into shape at a sawmill, then further hand-scraped or hand-planed to smooth out the roughness. This gives the flooring an attractive, rough-hewn texture that is missing from much of today's wood flooring. Now, plank flooring is distressed by hand to give it that antique look.
Do You Want Wide Plank Flooring?
Before purchasing 2,000 square feet of old-growth wide plank flooring, think about a few things. First, real wide plank flooring is a speciality item; you won't get it at your local Home Depot or Lumber Liquidators
. As such, orders for wide plank flooring require a long lead time (2 months average) and it is very expensive ($15-20 per square foot, and I'm being conservative here). Also, wide plank flooring does have imperfections that come with the territory--the gaps and the texture--and you will need to see that as part of your everyday life. But wide plank floors are a real showstopper, and well worth the investment if you're doing serious remodeling.
Are There Alternatives to Genuine Wood Wide Plank Flooring?
Yes. I am continually amazed at the inventiveness of laminate flooring manufacturers. Since they can apparently duplicate any type of natural material, it does follow that they can duplicate distressed wide plank wood flooring--and rather well.
What Can Be Done About the Gaps in Wood Wide Plank Flooring?
Yes. There is a traditional way of filling in wood plank gaps
that may surprise you.