If you are looking for a new hardwood floor for your home or business, you might have noticed that some of them can be quite expensive. However, they’re just planks of wood. Why is flooring wood more expensive than the planks of wood you see sitting on the shelves at the hardware store? Couldn’t you just build your own hardwood floor? Well, the answer is yes and no. Here are a few things to consider.
The Drying Process
Wood is a porous material; the amount of pores in each type of wood varies but they all have pores. That allows moisture to move in and out of the wood, causing the wood to swell or contract. The wood you see sitting on the shelves is likely air-dried. That means it’s allowed to sit exposed to air for weeks or even months. That can reduce the moisture content to around 18% depending on where you live. For most applications, that’s a perfectly workable moisture amount. If you live in a high humidity environment, the wood might have a little bit more moisture than that, but it will reach equilibrium with the surrounding environment. If you live in a very dry climate, the wood will reach equilibrium at a drier rate.
However, the wood moisture level will continue to change as seasons change. That’s especially true for any wood that is on your floor. A change of even a single millimeter will expose a gap in your flooring planks. When multiplied over several planks, that produces several gaps. If the wood expands, it might have nowhere to go and then start warping. The wood used for floors is kiln-dried and protected by a moisture-blocking subfloor. If you are insistent on building your own floor, you need to make sure you’re using kiln dried lumber.
Hardwood floors are typically about ⅜ of an inch to ¾ of an inch thick. Each plank from three inches to six inches wide. Wide plank floors can have planks are wide as ten inches. If you’re looking for lumber to build your own floor, you’ll have a hard time finding wood thin enough for your needs.
In conclusion, it is possible to make your own floor from wooden boards. If you just need something functional, you could probably use any 1×4 boards. If you want something long-lasting and attractive, you need kiln-dried boards that are around a half-inch in thickness.