The Difference Between Strip Flooring and Plank Flooring

IMG_8605Years ago, wall-to-wall carpeting was viewed by many as the ultimate flooring for new homes – a vast expanse of soft, warm, cushiony flooring that seemed ideal for young families moving into new homes in the suburbs.

However, hardwood flooring has seen a revival in recent years as homeowners have rediscovered the beauty and value of durable, attractive, versatile hardwood that remains long after carpeting has worn out and faded. Today, hardwood flooring is recognized as a highly-sought-after, top-quality flooring that maintains its value over the years and helps homes appraise higher and sell faster than homes with synthetic carpeting. Also, many individuals with allergies and asthma have turned to hardwood flooring over carpet because of the reduction in allergens associated.

If you’re a builder or buyer looking for high quality hardwood flooring, there are two types in particular that are popular but can be confusing because of their relatively similar look and names: hardwood strip flooring and hardwood plank flooring. We’ll explain the difference here and why plank flooring is the better overall value.

Strip flooring is a type of wood flooring that is generally milled from lumber that is cut from less desirable parts of the tree, such as large limbs and the upper portion of the trunk. Because these pieces of wood contain less heartwood (the durable core of the trunk), strip flooring is often cut into shorter lengths (approximately 12-84 inches depending on the manufacturer) and narrower widths, typically no more than 3 or 4 inches wide. Hardwood strip flooring is commonly found in two primary thicknesses: half and three-quarters of an inch.

Wide Plank flooring, in both hard and softwoods are milled from lumber cut from the main trunk of the tree and contain more heartwood and can be produced in wider widths – sometimes as much as 10-20 inches wide – and lengths up to 16 feet. At Bingham Lumber, we specialize in the production of wide plank hardwood flooring in a variety of species and grades. Thickness can be custom ordered, however our flooring is typically three-quarters of an inch. Anything material finishing at less than three quarters of an inch can still be utilized as a paneling for a ceiling or wainscoting.

There are many reasons why wider plank flooring is generally perceived as having greater value than that of the strip flooring. Although they are both made from the same tree, as mentioned previously, wider planks often mean more heartwood which in turn means a greater density and durability. Wider plank floors were also used long ago, as they took less time to put down and utilized the larger old growth timber harvested from the virgin forests of the time. This has given the wide plank floor a timeless look and feel which is enhanced even more so when milled from reclaimed lumber, originally harvested during a similar time. This reclaimed flooring features characteristics such as nail holes, slight surface checking, and insect markings much like that of the old colonial floors.

Whether it be a Classic Select Maple Floor or a Reclaimed Pumpkin Pine, wide plank flooring will bring value and tradition to any home. To learn more about the differences in hardwood flooring and how to select the specie and finish that is right for you, contact the hardwood flooring experts at Bingham Lumber.