Home designers and resourceful DIYers have been growing more creative in sourcing their wood for custom hardwood floors. Many of the traditional sources for reclaimed wood emphasize the weathering and aging of the wood. However, many designers have moved towards different sources for their used wood. One source that has been growing in popularity recently has been bowling alley wood. The arrows on the lanes are incredibly iconic. Also, the wood is very resilient. If you can find some bowling alley wood, you could create a great hardwood floor.
Bowling Alley Wood
A bowling alley lane is made of two different kinds of wood. There are planks made of douglas fir and maple. Douglas fir is a softwood and not great for making flooring. However, the first twelve feet of most lanes is made of maple; the final feet are made of maple as well. This maple also contains the iconic lines.
A bowling alley lane is 42 inches wide, and the planks are generally about 2.5 inches thick. The maple planks generally cover about twelve feet at the beginning of the lane and then another six feet at the end of the lane. So, that means you’ll get about thirty-six to forty-eight square feet of quality maple from every bowling alley lane.
Installing the Planks
Bowling alley planks are going to be longer and skinnier than most hardwood flooring planks. If you’re installing them, you’ll want to emphasize the length and the thinness of the lanes. Also, you’ll want to preserve the arrows if you can.
Bowling alley planks are a great option, but you’ll have to work with what you can get. You’ll have a more difficult time finding enough wood from one source to cover your entire house. That means you’ll be sourcing wood from many different places. Also, you’ll have skinny planks. The best option is to source enough wood to cover your floor from as many places as possible. Then, you should mix the wood so that it looks consistent in its inconsistency. Having one section that’s made from a different shade of maple would look awkward, but if mismatched boards are spread around the floor, it will look rustic and intentional.
Bowling alley wood is popular for unique hardwood flooring because the wood is incredibly thick and high quality. It’s designed to withstand thousands upon thousands of impacts from heavy bowling balls; it will definitely survive your furniture.