Question. Can a random width floor be utilized in a modern or contemporary design theme? Random width floors today are likely to be lower grades of flooring including lot of character and natural variation in the look of the floor. Additionally, many of these floors are hand-scraped or hand-sculpted to provide a worn texture appearance that is more in line with rustic, country or French country elements. Here is the question. If a random width floor was made from higher grade material with more visual consistency of color, graining and texture AND if it was left as a smooth face product could it be utilized in modern and contemporary design themes.
One thing that has always puzzled me is this. In the US, homeowners and designers alike insist on random lengths. This is as much a structural recommendation as a design principle as staggering the end-joints in a floor add to its structural soundness. Joints that are too close together or form an “H” will inevitably have less structural integrity than well-spaced joints. So from the installer’s perspective it’s just good craftsmanship. From the homeowner/designer’s perspective its a positive visual element. Contrastingly, in China, a lot of floors are constructed as fixed-length product because lining up the joints perfectly produces a certain amount of feng shui. But not so here in the US. After all, its made from a natural material so why should it have perfect symmetry. So the question becomes “if we are insistent on random lengths, why are we not also asking for random widths?”. An interesting side note given the trend towards more environmentally responsible building materials is that random width floors are the best use of the raw material. In other words they provide the highest possible yield from the raw material and thus generate less waste in production. What do you think?