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Long boards or Random Length - Which to choose?

There are many factor to consider when making this decision, but ultimately it comes down to the room in which it is being fitted and personal preference. Everyone has different tastes, but all that’s important is that you are happy and proud with how your home looks.

We supply different lengths of boards; our ‘Country’ range is random length with boards ranging from as short as 300mm and up. Then we have the ‘Supreme’ and ‘Classic’ range which are longer boards up to 2200mm long. This is where your personal preference comes in, you must take into account the length and the size of the room that they are being fitted into look at the photos on the website and decide which you personally prefer.

Size of your room

Longer boards are often said to suit a large room. This is because there are fewer boards making up the floor, giving the floor a less busy look. It’s also said that they allow the beauty of the oak to be shown off more as you don’t keep breaking the grain pattern like you otherwise would with a shorter boarded floor.

In smaller rooms, people may consider that a mixture of both long and short lengths that you get with a random length floor such as the ‘Country’ range would be more interesting and more suited. Some consider having a mixture of lengths more interesting and provide a more traditional and less clinical looking floor. All of which, again, is personal preference. 

Differnce in fitting time

This is something that should definitely be taken into account before purchasing your floor. Random length floors are generally cheaper to purchase per square metre. However they will take much longer to fit in comparison to a longer boarded floor. This should be taken into account when budgeting as longer fitting time could mean higher fitting costs. It’s also worth considering if you are working to a tight deadline or budget.

Amount of wastage

Some people will claim that you get less wastage with shorter / random length boards but this is not the case. With a long boarded floor, when you start laying it and get to the end of a row you would usually start the next row with that off cut. It also helps that with most of our long boards you occasionally get a cut board in the box which helps you naturally stagger the end joints and prevent patterns from occurring. Often when fitting, the only cut you should have to make is when you lay the final boards up to the wall.

The surface you're fitting on to

If you are planning on spanning joists then a floor that has lots of short boards would not be suitable as there would be too many end joints which would weaken the structural capabilities of the floor. If you were laying onto a solid surface such as concrete, plywood, chipboard etc then this wouldn’t be a problem as the surface is solid and load bearing. The only thing you’d have to think about is the method in which you’d fit the boards i.e. nailing, gluing or laying the boards onto a self-adhesive underlay such as Elastilon.

If you’re struggling to come to a decision on what length boards you think would suit your home then please get in touch with us. As a family business who have been in this trade for many years we are more than happy to offer advice and help where we can.

About the author

Tom Fanthorpe. Director, JFJ Wood Flooring Ltd

Tom is one half of the father & son team behind JFJ Wood Flooring. An experienced wood flooring specialist with over 7 years in the industry, Tom is following in his father John's footsteps as a true expert in his chosen field. Having absorbed much of John's 35+ years of experience in the joinery and timber trade, Tom now leads the wood flooring department and holds ultimate responsibility for everything from customer service to sales, logistics to quality control.

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