If you’re searching around for a wood flooring solution right now, it’s highly likely that you’re asking yourself the question “what’s the difference between 1 strip vs 3 strip wood flooring?” And you’re quite right to ask this question. In this article, we’ll explain both and give you our recommendation on which we think works best and why.
1 strip wood flooring
One strip wood flooring, as the name suggests is wood flooring that comes in the style of one strip of wood. In other words, it has one, single strip of solid wood that goes from one side to the other. On each floorboard you have no joins mid-board, all you have is the edges of the board.
3 strip wood flooring
Three strip wood flooring, on the other hand is floorboards that are made to look as if they have three floorboards in one. They may be as wide as 45 or 60 cm, or even wider and will have a solid wood top layer, but that solid wood will either have been made to look as if it three separate pieces of hardwood or it may indeed be 3 separate pieces.
The science bit
Wood is a natural product and as such expands and contracts when it comes into contact with changing moisture levels or rising or falling temperatures. This is completely normal and when you fit a wooden floor you need to leave space around the borders of your room for that expansion and contraction.
When wood flooring expands and contracts it is inevitable that small gaps will appear between boards in time. While slight gaps aren’t an issue, it’s when gaps become big and unsightly that issues may arise, or when wood expands and contracts so much that it cups and bows, creating an uneven surface. In that situation, you could have real issues.
When engineered floorboards are made, they are made by bonding a number of layers of ply together to form a solid core board. It is that core board that gives engineered wood flooring its stability. And it’s that stability which means that it doesn’t expand and contract to nearly the same extent as solid wood and enables it to be laid throughout the home, including in bathrooms and kitchens as well as over under floor heating.
As we mentioned before, when you choose single strip wood flooring you have one solid piece of hardwood as your top layer and the only edges are on the outside of the board itself. When you choose 3 strip wood flooring, you have the edges of the board plus two beveled lines that go the length of each board to create the triple strip look. Alternatively, you may have 3 single strips of hardwood as the top layer that have been fixed on to one solid core board. While this means that you can lay your floor a while lot quicker, it is here that the problems lie.
Why we have a preference
At Wood and Beyond, we love innovation and we love solutions that save our customers time and money, but we find 3 strip wood flooring a real disappointment. Yes, it might mean that you can lay your new floor a whole lot quicker than if you’re laying 2 or 3 times the number of boards, but the big question is: how good will your floor look in 6 months’ time or a year’s time? In our experience, you’ll be left disappointed.
You’ll be left disappointed because your floor will have settled and you’ll have slight gaps between the edges of each board. Granted, you would also have these gaps with single board flooring. However, what you won’t have with single board is an even spread of gaps. With triple strip flooring, you’ll have gaps between the edges of most or each board and of course between the middle strip and the two strips on each side there will be no gap, because there has been no movement. These strips are unable to move because they are fixed on the core board. What this means is that you end up with a weird looking floor that screams out cheap and possibly even laminate-looking.
We think that’s a real shame. Worse than that, most people we’ve come across who have gone this route in order to save a few pounds have ended up spending more money in the long run because they’ve wound up replacing their whole floor.
So what’s our advice if you’re on a budget? Our advice is buy the best quality single strip floor you can afford and lay it with love and care. That way you’ll have a great looking floor for a whole lot longer.
If you’d like help to decide which wood floor would work best for you, why not get in touch? At Wood and Beyond we’re brimming with ideas that won’t break the bank and we’d be delighted to share them with you.