Hardwood Flooring: 3 vs. 4 vs. 5 Inch Width

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hardwood flooring width

Hardwood flooring is one of the most classic and beautiful flooring styles for a home. With unmatched durability and natural beauty, it can completely rejuvenate your house’s interior. 

One of the nice things about hardwood flooring is the fact that there are so many options. 

When it comes to colors and styles, you would be hard-pressed to find a more versatile flooring solution. No matter what your preferences are, you should be able to find a hardwood flooring that suits you. 

This is not only true for the colors and textures, but also for the size of the actual hardwood slats. 

The width of your hardwood floor is incredibly important. Although it may seem like a small consideration, it can drastically change the look of the flooring. 

Knowing the different types of value that each width brings to the table can help you make the right decision. 

There are a few different hardwood flooring width considerations that you need to think about. These include: 

  • 3-inch
  • 4-inch
  • 5-inch
  • Traditional or engineered hardwood 

Knowing what each type can do and how it will affect the look of your home is important. It can help you make the right choice so you can enjoy your floors for years to come.  

Why Hardwood Flooring Width Matters

why hardwood flooring width matters

When most people start thinking about hardwood flooring, they mostly fixate on the color. The color of hardwood flooring is essential when it comes to the look and feel of the house. 

However, one of the considerations that many people forget about is the size of the planks. 

The width of the flooring can completely change how a room feels and how the flooring flows. By considering the width of your flooring, you can get a complete picture of how a space is going to look. 

Flooring width can change the look of a room based on the look of the actual planks. 

Because wood is such a natural material, it can have all kinds of markings and inconsistencies. Unlike with laminate or tile, natural wood has knots and grain that can affect the look of the floor. 

The wider your flooring planks are, the more prominently these features will be displayed. 

If you are looking for a rustic, country style, wide is a better option. If you want your home to be more modern, thinner boards will give you that look. 

3-Inch Hardwood Flooring 

3-inch hardwood is usually going to be the thinnest width you can get for your home’s flooring. 

For a long time, 3-inch hardwood was the gold standard for most homes and would have been incredibly common. This was due to the fact that it looked clean and modern and presented very few imperfections. 

If your home has small rooms or is an older, funkier house, thin, 3-inch flooring is a great option. 

This will give you a sleek, contemporary look and will also make things look cozier. It is a great choice for narrow hallways and small alcoves that need something to jazz them up. 

You may not want to use 3-inch flooring for large, open spaces. 

One of the downsides of thinner flooring is that it can make a room look very busy. This will cause issues in large spaces and can be very overwhelming to look at. 

4-Inch Hardwood Flooring 

4 inch hardwood flooring

4-inch flooring is a great, happy medium between the smaller strips and larger pieces. 

As the years have gone on, 4-inch flooring has become more popular and is very common. If your home has been built in the last 20 years or so, odds are it will have 4-inch flooring. 

The nice thing about this width is that it can show the texture of the wood without being too busy. If you have a medium-sized room or a room that needs some warmth, 4-inch will do the trick. 

The other major benefit of 4-inch flooring is the fact that it is widely available. 

The prevalence of this size means that it will usually be well-stocked in your local flooring store. This means that you can most likely find a good deal, which can be very important for most homeowners. 

5-Inch Hardwood Flooring 

Hardwood flooring that is 5 inches and up is getting to be more popular as the years go by. 

With the popularity of the country cabin style, wide flooring has become a standard for many new homes. 

Wide hardwood flooring can be a rustic, unique-looking style that shows off the natural patterns of the wood. You will be able to fully appreciate the patina of the hardwood and can use it to your advantage. 

For quirky and interesting homes, 5-inch hardwood is a fantastic choice. 

Width of Traditional and Engineered Hardwood 

Engineered hardwood is an excellent option for people who want to use wider planks. 

Due to the uniformity of engineered hardwood, you can use much wider planks without sacrificing sleekness. 

Many people use 5-inch engineered wood and even go up to 8 or 10 inches. 

If you want the cleanliness of thinner planks without the business, this could be a great option for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

faq hardwood flooring width

Which is better: wide or narrow wood flooring?

Using wide or narrow flooring will depend on your goals as a home designer. 

The type you choose will change based on the style you are looking for. However, if you are unsure, it is usually best to go with a thinner option. 

What color hardwood floor makes a room look bigger?

While it may seem counterintuitive, using darker flooring will make a room look bigger. 

A good rule of thumb is that you should have darker colors on the lower portions of the room. By combining this with lighter paint, you can give the room the illusion of space you are looking for. 

Are light wood floors out of style?

Light wood colors are not going out of style any time soon. While they may not be as common as they once were, they still offer a clean, contemporary look. 

As long as people want a sleek, airy feel, light hardwood will always be a good choice. 


Choosing between different hardwood floor widths is a big decision. By understanding what each one has to offer, you can pick the one that will work for your home.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer, there is only the best one for your particular style. 

Photo of author


Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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