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Floor Thickness

Wood Flooring Thickness and Why It Matters

Wood flooring thickness is possibly one of the least thought about attributes homeowners consider when planning their project. Taking the thickness of your planks into consideration can make a huge difference on the look and feel of the floor as well as the longevity of it and even the purchase price and the amount of money you’ll spend having it installed. Yes…wood flooring thickness is THAT important.

What Constitutes the Thickness of a Wood Floor?

Whether you’re installing your wood flooring yourself or having a professional put it in, you’ll need to decide how thick you want your floor to be. First, you’ll figure out if you are going to purchase laminate, engineered, or hardwood. Then, you’ll choose the type of wood you want. Past that, you’ll need to decide the length, width, and thickness of your flooring.

You may assume that going with the thickest planks is always your best bet. It’s not. If you are going to flip the home, you’ll spend money you don’t need to spend with a thick floor. You can get by with laminate or engineered. But, if you are planning to be in your home a good long time and even leave it to your children or grandchildren, then you will want to make sure your wood flooring is thick.

Why Wood Floor Thickness Matters

Generally, the thicker your wood floor is, the longer it will last. It will hold up better than a thin floor because it can take the stress dished out to it by heavy traffic and furniture that will weigh on it.

In addition, the thickness of your hardwood floors determines how many times the floor can be sanded and refinished. Solid hardwood planks can generally be refinished multiple times, giving them superior longevity.

Engineered hardwood floors, on the other hand, can only be refinished 3-5 times, giving them a shorter lifespan than solid hardwood. 


Engineered Flooring Thickness

Engineered hardwood flooring is created by laminating a solid hardwood veneer atop a base of plywood or a similar material. The veneer is usually about 1/8 of an inch thick and it is glued to a plywood base. 

This type of flooring is good for reducing the shrinking and expansion that generally occurs with wood flooring because of the adhesive applied to the layers. It is also cheaper to purchase.

The most popular thicknesses of engineered flooring is:

  • ½ inch
  • 5/8 inch.
  • ¾ inch

There are two main parts to the flooring, the base layer and the veneer. When figuring engineered wood, the total height of the board is added.

A 3/4 inch engineered wood board or plank typically has 3/8 inches of wood prior to the tongue. This allows for sanding three times or so before you’ll wear out the veneer and a professional can generally sand five times

That is why the thickness is so important. If you start off with thin wood, you don’t have very far to wear and tear before you’re at the core…or below.


Vidar Flooring's Oak 7" / 7-1/2" Collection

Solid Hardwood Flooring Configuration

Solid hardwood floors are complete solid planks derived straight from trees. They are available in wide planks or can be found in narrow strips. Because of the way boards are cut from each tree, the widths and lengths vary in order to get all the wood possible from them. Boards typically become shorter and thinner when the outside pieces are being cut. So, the thicker your plank of wood is, the more likely it is it came from the heart of the tree.

There are three main thicknesses in solid wood flooring:

  • 5/8 inch
  • 7/8 inch
  • 3/4 inch

The best and most common is ¾ inch. And yes, you do pay a pretty penny for the extra thickness, but you enjoy all of the benefits and savings due to the longevity of thicker floors.

Benefits of Thick Solid Wood Flooring

The advantages of thick solid wood flooring are many. Here are a few:

  • Longevity
  • Not susceptible to cupping or warping
  • Takes much longer to wear down
  • Require little polishing and buffing
  • Can support heavy furniture
  • Can hold up to high traffic

What to Know Before You Purchase Your Wood Flooring

The thicker your wood planks, the more you will pay for them. But, they will hold up better without needing repair and will probably outlive you. It is imperative to get what you pay for. If you are going to spend the money on thick wood flooring, do business with a trustworthy company and have a skilled professional install them for you. When you do it right, when it comes to thick wood flooring, you simply can’t go wrong.

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