Strip Flooring Vs Plank Flooring – Which One Is Better

If you are staring down a new flooring project you have probably had cause to wonder what the difference is between strip flooring and plank flooring.

This is an important topic that should be sorted out thoroughly before you make a decision.

That’s because if you choose one too hastily you may be left with a lifetime of regret.

In the following article we are going to be discussing both hardwood flooring types so you can make and informed decision.


Brief Overview

Both strip flooring and plank flooring are types of hardwood flooring.

They are used in homes and commercial buildings. They can even be made from the same type of wood but they vary in some key areas.


What Is Strip Flooring?

Strip flooring is hardwood flooring panels that are usually set to standard widths: 1 ½”, 2” and 2 ¼”.

This is because it is cut from the less dense part of hardwood trees so it can only be made to be so wide.

However, the thickness of strip flooring can vary widely.


What Is Plank Flooring?

Plank flooring on the other hand is typically milled in wider panels than strip flooring.

That’s because it is milled from the heartier parts of hardwood trees so it retains it’s strength and rigidity even when it’s cut into wide planks.


Plank Flooring Vs. Strip Flooring

While the width is what mostly differentiates these two types of flooring material, the real difference goes deeper.

It has to do with something called heartwood. Heartwood, as the name suggests, is milled from the inner core of hardwood trees.

Heartwood is denser, stronger and more desirable overall. Plank flooring is made primarily from heartwood. Strip flooring on the other hand is milled from the limbs and upper trunk portions of hardwood trees.


Quick Comparison

Strip Flooring

Plank Flooring


Strip flooring is typically more affordable Plank flooring is generally more expensive


Used in residential and commercial flooring Used in residential and commercial flooring


Takes more time to install because of the narrow widths Takes less time to install but the planks are heavier.


What Type Of Wood Are They Made From?

Both plank and strip flooring can be milled from a variety of hardwood and softwood trees.


Characteristics Of Strip Flooring

Strip flooring is generally cheaper than plank flooring.

It is cut from the less desirable parts of the tree so it is less durable and won’t last as long as plank flooring.

The variations between types of strip flooring have to do with their thickness which can vary greatly.


Pros & Cons of Strip Flooring



  • It’s more affordable
  • Less taxing to install
  • Comes in a variety of thicknesses
  • Looks good
  • Great for residential use
  • It can be made from hard or soft wood


  • Doesn’t last as long as plank flooring
  • Not as durable
  • Takes more time to install
  • Only available in a few widths


Characteristics of Plank Flooring

Plank flooring is characterized by how wide the planks are.

They are generally much wider than strip flooring. Plank flooring comes in a variety of widths but doesn’t vary much in thickness. Vinyl plank flooring is also a popular variation.


Pros & Cons of Plank Flooring


  • More durable
  • Made with more heartwood
  • Looks great
  • It can be reclaimed
  • Comes in a variety of widths
  • Lasts longer than strip flooring


  • It’s more expensive
  • Heavier than strip flooring
  • Limited thickness


Which Is Thicker?

Strip flooring tends to be thicker than plank flooring.

Strip flooring comes in 5/16” or 3/4”. Some manufacturers do make 3/4” thick plank flooring however.


Which Is Most Popular?

Strip and plank flooring are used in a variety of settings so it’s hard to say which is more popular.


Which Is More Durable?

Plank flooring is definitely more durable because it is cut from the heartier portions of the tree.


How Do They Compare On Looks?

The good news is that strip flooring and plank flooring can be made to look almost the same.

Plank flooring will generally have a tighter grain pattern but strip flooring can be made from the same types of woods.


How Do They Compare On Price?

Plank flooring will definitely be more expensive than strip flooring.

On average, you’re looking at between $5 and $6.38 per square foot for plank flooring.


What Is Solid Strip Flooring?

Solid strip flooring is the same as strip hardwood flooring except for the fact that it is made from one solid piece of wood.


Vinyl Plank Flooring Vs. Hardwood

Vinyl plank flooring has become a desirable option because is looks very similar to hardwood plank flooring and is more affordable.

Vinyl plank flooring can also be cleaned easier than traditional hardwood flooring.


What Is Parquet Flooring?

Parquet flooring is distinguished by it’s geometrical patterns which are achieved by connecting individual wood slats that are held together with an adhesive.

It has a drastically different look compared to plank and strip flooring even though it is composed of wood.


1 Strip vs 2 Strip vs 3 Strip Flooring – What’s The difference?

1 strip flooring boards gives the appearance of a single piece of wood per board while 2 and 3 strip flooring boards look like there were 2 or 3 pieces of wood used to make the same board.


Closing Thoughts

What it may end up coming down to for you is cost.

While plank flooring is generally more desirable because of it’s longer lifespan, it will cost you a lot more than strip flooring will.

However, if you have the money to spend it is the best choice overall.

It has a long lifespan and helps reduce waste because many plank hardwood floors can be reclaimed and used again.

However, you can negate some of the costs by going with a synthetic plank flooring like vinyl.

Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each and refer to our article for help!