History of Wide Plank Wood Flooring in Britain
Wide plank wood floors hark back to the Tudor, Jacobean and Baroque periods – the late 1400s, 1500s and 1600s.
Along with velvet, satin, silk and beeswax candles, wide floorboards were a hallmark of wealth and power.
From the Georgian period onward as the cost of raw timber begain to increase, the width of floorboards began to shrink.
The Wide Wood Flooring Renaissance
Wide plank wood flooring has enjoyed a resurgence in recent times thanks to big advances in engineered floorboard production.
A key feature of engineered floorboards is that they allow for much more economical use of the valuable top layer of hardwood.
Scarcity aside, a good quality engineered plywood base beneath a hardwood or fir top layer is far superior to a solid timber floorboard.
Solid wide floors were especially prone to warping and splitting.
Changes in ambient humidity cause the wood to expand or shrink which results in the common problems of ‘crowning’ and ‘cupping’.
As such, they’re wholly unsuited for rooms with central or underfloor heating, or bathrooms and kitchens.
By contrast, wide engineered floorboards are very stable. They work well in kitchens, bathrooms, attics and even heated conservatories and orangeries.