I shared a “Flooring Sneak Peek” a couple weeks ago when the first two rows of ash and elm flooring had been installed. Now that our homegrown hardwood installation is advancing I’d like to share a few progress photos and explain the choice of variable width floorboards.
Why Variable Width Flooring?
You may recall that we decided to mix ash and elm for the icehouse flooring, showcasing a decade and a half worth of lumber that we had harvested, milled, seasoned, dimensioned, and finished on-site. But I haven’t given much ink to the question of why we opted for variable width flooring instead of uniform sizing (as is the case with the beech flooring in the loft, the garapa paneling in the bathroom, and the T&G nickel gap cladding the rest of the interior walls.)
In the photo above the mixed species floorboards, randomly interspersed ash and elm, are clearly different widths. We decided on 4”, 6”, and 8” widths for several reasons. Mixing planks of different widths
- contributes an authentic barn appearance (large planks more common in 1800s when icehouse was built)
- suggests a more rustic atmosphere
- varies visual pattern from the consistent geometry of paneled walls and loft floors
- draws attention to the character-rich wood that is a focal point of our rehab story
- permitted us to include luxuriously wide floorboards, maximize breadth of widths, and minimize waste
Although we incorporated a bookmatched threshold to visually delineate the vestibule from the main room, the flooring courses have been sized and aligned on both sides of the threshold, visually unifying the floor.
The east-west orientation of the flooring is both practical (perpendicular to the direction of the floor joists) and aesthetically appealing, contributing to the visual flow from entrance-to-entrance, emphasizing the visual axis, and inviting one’s focus toward exterior views beyond the largely glass west wall.
It’s worth noting that significant attention is being given to sequencing the variable width flooring to ensure a harmonious and attractive progression from board-to-board, allowing the color and character variations to enhance the cohesive integration across entire floor.
I can’t wait to see the floor completely installed, sanded, and sealed soon!