Hardwood flooring lengths?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 03-03-2013 03:57 AM 1082 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yellowtruck75's profile


469 posts in 3090 days

03-03-2013 03:57 AM

I am in the planning stages of making my 3” wide tongue and groove hardwood flooring (thinking about walnut). I will be using my Woodmaster 718 with the 3 sided molding attachment to cut the flooring. My question is what lengths do I cut? What you buy flooring it comes in “random” lengths but is there really a method to it for the average length that a floor uses to look nice?

I understand that everyone has their own definition of nice.

4 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3069 posts in 2280 days

#1 posted 03-04-2013 01:48 AM

I don’t know, but I would use the longest lengths that will fit in the room(s). Ideally, you would have no butt end joints. Said another way, don’t cut any boards unless you need to to make the piece fit against the wall. The random lengths thing is the result of the cut offs that the supplier is able to get or has left over. However, pay attention to avoiding having several end joints close together.

-- Art

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2225 days

#2 posted 03-04-2013 02:01 AM

I have done a lot of custom width flooring. Through a regular 6 head moulder. No end matcher but the installers have used several methods to match up end joints. Splined and biscuits….. The Ends are not glued and on the Bisuit method I have seen then put a nail thorugh. Lengths did vary depending on the look your willing to accept. Waste factor will depend on what sizes you are willing to accept and that is just your own preference. 3in wide material you will have more waste. Unless you obtain narrow material but regular FAS material is 4 1/2 min wide. Some lumber yards do carry narrows so check that out as well….... Lengths all depend on your preference and budget. My 2 cents…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 3008 days

#3 posted 03-04-2013 02:05 AM

I have a friend that does flooring for a living, and typical lengths are all over the place. Typical random lengths vary between about 20” and 36”. I also have some purpleheart from him that is about 8’ long each piece, so do whatever lengths come out of your board and that match the look you are going for.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 1934 days

#4 posted 03-04-2013 02:54 AM

Alot of folks think wood expands and shrinks ACROSS the grain only. It also moves in length with moisture change, too. However that “length” change is so minimal that some folks ignore it. Let’s say length movement is 0.05 percent. Therefore the shrinkage from 15 percent moisture to 6 or 8 will be in the neighborhood of 1/20 of an inch.

Well, if your room is 20 feet, and you have ONE end joint in the middle, you could easily see that 1/20 of an inch gap, as it is almost 1/16. To minimize that gap you can use one of two methods: (1) use more nails “close” to the joint, so that when the wood shortens it moves mostly in the zone of sparsely spaced nails, keeping the joint tight, (2) Use more than one joint—instead of two 10-foot boards, use five 4-foot boards—now you have four joints and 1/4 of that 1/16th inch gap becomes 1/64 which is hardly noticed.

Always remember to deliberately leave a 1/4-inch or so gap at each end of a long run IN CASE YOU GAIN MOISTURE AND THE WOOD EXPANDS. You don’t want it to buckle. That 1/4 inch will be covered by the baseboard OR quarter-round trim.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics