Wood is one of the best flooring materials because of its durability and low maintenance requirements. There are numerous varieties of wood flooring. However, knowing the thickness of each flooring option is critical in determining the best solution for your home.
You may have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a wood floor for your home. What kind of floor do you want? Do you want your floor to be smooth or distressed? What color would you like? However, one of the most crucial questions is what kind of “construction” you want for your floor.
However, there is one question that you may not see as often: how thick is wood flooring? Although sellers may state the thickness of hardwood flooring, few manufacturers rarely provide alternatives. Is it better to use a solid or engineered wood floor? That’s definitely up for debate.
There are many different types of wood flooring, including laminate flooring, vinyl, engineered wood flooring, and solid wood flooring. All these options come in different thicknesses.
Solid Hardwood Flooring and Engineered Wood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is constructed from a single solid piece of wood. Although it is sometimes considered that solid hardwood flooring is less sturdy than engineered floors, this is not necessarily the case. Before deciding on the floor to invest in, we recommend researching the quality standards that apply to it. Also, keep in mind that solid hardwood flooring is not a good option for below ground level.
Engineered wood is a flooring board made from a range of wood products such as fibers, strands, and veneers. To attain the necessary thickness, each flooring board comprises many component layers, including plywood or other hardwood. Engineered flooring is frequently thought to be more sturdy than solid wood flooring. However, this might vary depending on the manufacturer, structure, quality, and subfloor.
Engineered flooring may be less sturdy when installed in dry regions. Due to excess moisture, it has an installation benefit in basements and flats with concrete subfloors. It may also be placed on existing floors as a floating floor, which means you can take it with you if you move. Floating floors do not raise the floor height as much as solid boards.
You might not realize it, but solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring measurements are significantly different. Engineered flooring may not be available in the same widths and lengths as solid wood flooring. This, however, is dependent on the manufacturer.
For example, most engineered wood floors are only available in sizes of six inches long, with roughly two inches thick average board length. Similarly, each board is usually no more than four to five inches across. Short, thin flooring boards, such as the hickory flooring, will result in a floor with more seams and joints, and this will make your entire space appear cluttered.
When choosing wood flooring, thickness is a significant factor to consider. The thickness can help you in a variety of ways. Reduced sound migration, improved insulating characteristics, and better bridging of subfloor flaws are all benefits of thicker flooring.
When it comes to natural hardwood flooring, you’ll notice that all the different types may be of different thicknesses. 3/4 inches is the most standard thickness of natural wood flooring, and some can be as thin as 5/16 inches in thickness.
Solid hardwood floors are available in many thicknesses, including 1/2′, 5/8′, and 3/4′. Since you start with the same raw material for making the flooring, the cost difference between 1/2′′ thick and 3/4′′ thick is minimal. Laying a 1/2-inch-thick hardwood floor generates more waste than laying a 3/4-inch-thick solid floor. Another factor to consider with engineered hardwood is the veneer thickness. Generally, the thickness of the veneer layer varies from half a millimeter to four millimeters.
The thickness of the wood counts when installing a solid hardwood floor over a shaky wooden subfloor. Thicker hardwood planks will add structural integrity to the wood subfloor.
Some homeowners think that thicker hardwood floors insulate their homes better. Although the science isn’t conclusive, it is reasonable more wood would insulate better than less wood. Similarly, thicker hardwood flooring may impact the efficiency of an ambient heating system. If your floor has a heating system, the thickness of the wood is vital.
The engineered floor will be affected by a thicker veneer layer only if it is damaged. Scratching damage could scratch through a skinny veneer layer, revealing underneath plies. You’ll also be able to sand the veneer layer to repair it if it’s thicker, and a thinner layer will be sanded less frequently.
The material above the tongue and groove — the section you walk on — is the wear layer. For solid wood or engineered wood flooring, a 3/16′′ thick wear layer is excellent.
Most engineered flooring is constructed with a very thin wear layer, equivalent to only three sheets of paper. With such a layer, your floor will wear out quickly, and you won’t polish or sand it. You will have to replace it more frequently. If you choose a wood floor with a thicker wear layer, you may expect your floor to endure longer, all with cheaper cost during its lifetime.
Something important to note about the thickness and wear layer is that the thickness of your backing and wear layer directly correlates to the product’s price. The thinner the wear layer, the less expensive the floor. While this may appear to be a cost-effective option, these thinner constructed floors do not last long.
While higher quality solid wood floors or engineered hardwood floors with a thicker wear layer may cost more upfront, they will last longer and cost less to maintain over time.
Factors to Consider when Picking a Wood Floor
- Wood Type: Do you prefer hardwood floors or pine floors? This decision depends on your preference. It would help if you also considered the available options according to your budget.
- Type of Flooring: There are two hardwood flooring options; solid and engineered wood. Solid hardwood floors are available in different thicknesses ranging from 5/16 to 3/4 inches. On the other hand, hardwood flooring ranges in thickness from 3/8 to 3/4 inches.
- Type of Finish: There are two main options; prefinished or unfinished wood flooring. For the prefinished option, the manufacturer applies the finish at a factory, while for the unfinished option, you will need to add a finish on site.
- Cost: Different wood floorings come at different prices. Therefore, opt for an option within your budget. When thinking of the thickness, keep in mind that a thicker material will cost more.
- Floor Thickness: The thickness of your floor determines how long it will wear out. If you are on a tight budget, you can consider thinner variants. However, these variants are likely to wear out quickly.
- Floating or Fixed Wood Floors: You should also consider if you prefer a fixed or a floating hardwood floor. A floating design is not glued or fixed to the ground; instead, it is floating on a flat surface, and a fixed hardwood floor is fixed using nails or glue.
- Type of Subfloor: You should also consider the type of subfloor you are using. The three most popular subfloor types are concrete, plywood, and particleboard. First, install plywood for a concrete slab floor before installing wood flooring. You may need to replace particleboards with plywood before installing a wooden floor. A plywood subfloor is the easiest to work with. You can install both engineered or solid hardwood flooring with ease.
So, how important is the thickness of your hardwood floor? The answer depends on your circumstances. As a homeowner, you should research the solid hardwood and engineered hardwood options and come up with an informed decision.
Most people tend to ignore the thickness of flooring materials. While the thickness may not be a core concern, it is essential to understand that it has significant consequences on your floor. For starters, a thinner flooring means wearing out sooner. You can add a wear layer, but a thin flooring won’t last very long.
You should also keep in mind the type of subfloor you are using. A hardwood flooring on a moist subfloor is likely to wear out sooner. Lastly, the thickness of solid or engineered hardwood flooring determines the price. The thicker the plank, the higher the price. So, if you’re on a budget, go for something a little lighter.