Hardwood Planks

One of the most popular types of home flooring is wood. In addition to look rich and sophisticated, wood floors are also durable and an excellent investment. If you are thinking about installing hardwood flooring to your home, it is important to understand not just types but how it is made. With this information, you will be able to make a more informed decision.


Hardwood floors come in different size strips. While a .75-inch thickness and 2.25 inch width are common, keep in mind that strips used for flooring can be narrower and thinner, depending on your preference. Typically, wood made for flooring will come in lengths measuring anywhere from 12 to 84 inches. Again, the size and configuration of the room will determine the best thickness, width, and length.

Wood Types

Additionally, hardwood floors are made from all types of wood. Each species has unique characteristics to consider. For instance, some of the most popular choices include red oak, white oak, white ash, pecan, maple, hickory, and cherry. However, a number of exotic woods are also being used for today's flooring to include bamboo, which is strong and simply stunning.

Plank Types

You will also find that hardwood flooring is made in different planks such as longstrip, engineered, and solid. Again, the different design option chosen would depend on several factors pertaining to your specific home. Regardless, we wanted to provide information that will help you understand these three options best.


With this type of hardwood plank, the center core is constructed out of a softer type of wood. In addition, the installation system for longstrip is what is called "tongue and groove", a type of snap together design. With this plank option, the finish layer is glued down onto the core's top. Keep in mind, the top layer of the wood could be literally any species of wood, although comprised of between 17 and 35 smaller pieces placed in three rows.

When looking at longstrip flooring, it would appear that each plank is actually a complete section, one preassembled. Because of this special look, longstrip planks are certainly unique in appearance. Another benefit to going with longstrip planks is that they can be installed using the floatation, glue, or staple down method.


The next option for hardwood planks are the engineered, which are made with two, three, or five thin plies of wood. To create a single plank, these pieces are laminated. Another difference with engineered planks is that the plies are stacked one on top of the other but going in the opposite direction, which is known as the "cross ply" construction. One of the primary advantages to this particular method is that whenever the environment has a change of humidity, the planks will not expand or shrink.

Another benefit to using engineered hardwood is that you can have them installed virtually anywhere. Then, the method for installation could be floatation, nailed, glued, or stapled down, using a number of different subfloor options. Many people will choose to have plank widths varied during installation, which creates an amazing, customized look.


Of all hardwood plank types, solid is constructed from a single piece of wood, again using the tongue and groove installation process. With solid planks, you would have a choice of finished or unfinished wood. While solid planks are beautiful, they are prone to having problems due to moisture. Because of this, the only method for installation is nail down.

A huge advantage to solid planks is that they can be refinished many times. In fact, it would be common to find solid hardwood in homes of 100 years of age and older. Again, because this type of flooring is sensitive to moisture, the wood will expand and contract. It is vital that solid planks be used in the right environment or you would likely see issues such as buckling and cupping. The key to a solid hardwood floor is to have it professionally installed.