While the majority of articles about the advantages and disadvantages of wide plank wood flooring from the internet are written from a consumer’s point of view, we’d like to share our experience as a flooring manufacturer and supplier.
The definition of wide plank wood flooring is different in various regions. The European standard width plank flooring is 180mm, 189mm, 190mm while wide plank wood flooring is 220mm, 240mm, 260mm and over. The Australian market has shares similar standards with Europe. In the North American market, traditional engineered flooring is in the range of 125mm to 150mm. Ironically, the European standard is also called wide plank wood flooring in the North American market.
From a manufacturing standpoint, wide plank flooring requires a log size of at least 40 cm. In China, to reduce the cost of raw material, most manufacturers make wide plank flooring from European Oak which results in a grade that looks much lower than Russian or Chinese Honey oak. If the size of the wood flooring is over 220mm, manufacturers in southern China define the grade of European Oak as Natural or grade ABCD, while the manufacturers in northern China compare it with Russian Oak and call that same grade CDD or rustic grading. If the client is able to accept ~ 10cm long end crack, the grade can be arranged as ABCDE or CDDE.
The thickness for the wide plank wood flooring of 220mm or above is generally 15/4mm, 20/6mm, or 21/6mm while several manufacturers also produce 14/3mm. When considering product stability, the wide plank wood flooring of 20/6mm or 21/6mm are the most stable but they are costly and have limited market acceptance. Additionally, Australia is the only major market for these products. The most cost-effective flooring is 15/4mm of 3 layer or multi-layer, which also has the largest sales volume. Purchasers need to pay attention to avoid the sliced veneer as a method for saving on costs as it can cause quality control problems.
The most common quality problem with wide plank wood flooring is cupping. Cupping has occurred when the sides of flooring are higher than the center of the boards which results in the surface of the board having a concave shape. This quality issue manifests if the manufacturer does not control the moisture content appropriately. Strict adherence to quality control inspections must exist or big troubles will ensue for the client. Cupping is the reason so many retailers like to install the floors using glue way rather than the click lock system.