Hardwood flooring can be incredibly confusing for a buyer. There are so many different terms and values that you have to keep in mind. You’ll probably run across thickness. Does it matter how thick your hardwood planks are? Is there a standard thickness? The answer to both of those questions is yes.
Does Thickness Matter?
Typically, hardwood floor planks are ¾ of an inch thick. You can often get some less expensive options that are thinner; they’re less expensive simply because they use less wood. You can also get some thicker options in some cases. Why would you do that?
If you’re installing your hardwood floor over a solid plywood subfloor that is very structurally sound, you don’t really need the floor itself to provide much structural support. In that case, a thinner hardwood will suffice. Some people insist they can feel the difference in a thin hardwood and a thick one, but most people will not. Also, if money is a primary concern but your heart is set on a certain kind of wood, a thinner plank might bring it down into your price range.
However, if the structural integrity of your subfloor is questionable, you need to opt for a thick hardwood plank. A standard ¾ inch floor will likely suffice but you might opt for something even thicker. In addition to providing some structure, a thicker hardwood floor gives you more options. A ¾ inch hardwood floor can probably be sanded about seven times before it begins to get too thin. That’s more than most people will ever sand their hardwood floor. However, if you are choosing reclaimed wood, antique wood, or you want it to last centuries, thicker wood is the way to go. You’ll be able to sand and refinish it more times if it’s thicker.
There is some debate about how much your floor actually acts as an insulator in your home. Hardwood is not the greatest insulator but it does insulate better than bare floors. So, it stands to reason that a thicker hardwood floor will insulate better. That could be very important if the floor is being installed in a basement. It could also be relevant if you have an underfloor radiant heating system. The system will take a little bit longer to heat a thicker floor but the floor will hold heat for longer.
If you want your floor to heat up faster, you’d obviously want a thinner floor. These are just a few of the common considerations when choosing plank thickness.