Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood

Choosing new hardwood flooring for your home? It’s important to compare the pros and cons of both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood before settling on a product. Let’s compare durability, cost, style, and more for each product!

Choosing New Floors

With the advent of engineered hardwood floors, you now have more options to choose from. But which one is the right for your home? Here we discuss the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood covering the pros and cons of each.

Solid Hardwood

Solid Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is made with solid natural wood, a single piece of hardwood that’s 3/4 of an inch thick. You can buy them unfinished or finished. Many people choose solid hardwood for its natural beauty.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood flooring is made of both real and synthetic wood. The core is typically made with plywood or fiberboard material while the top layer is solid wood. Engineered flooring is great for those who want natural hardwood and the added benefit of higher resistance to moisture and heat fluctuations.

Where to Install Hardwood Floors

Where can you install them?

Solid hardwood is generally not recommended in kitchens, bathrooms, and below ground level where humidity levels fluctuate drastically. Since wood is organic, hardwood floors will expand and contract in response to different levels of humidity and temperatures.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood is constructed in a way that is more resistant to moisture and temperature changes. It can be installed in basements, over concrete subfloor and over radiant heat.

Type of hardwood

Species and Hardness

The longevity of your hardwood floors, solid or engineered, depend on the species of hardwood you choose and how well you maintain them. When deciding on the species, consider the amount of traffic you will have, the humidity, and the finish.

If you expect lots of traffic, pets with sharp nails, and children, you’ll want to choose a harder wood. If you live in a dry area, you’ll want to choose softer woods that are more flexible. Lastly, a good finish can help protect your floors from scratches and help your floors withstand different climates.

Hardwood hardness scale
Despite being a softer hardwood, many choose to install oak in their homes due to its interesting grain.

Installation & Cost

To install solid wood flooring, installers may glue, nail, or staple the wood planks to a wood subfloor. They will normally allow a small gap between the floor and wall to accommodate swelling.

Engineered wood flooring can be installed in the traditional way like solid wood or as “floating” floors, attached above the subfloor. Because of this, engineered floors are often less expensive.

Maintenance & Care

Wood floors require special care but they can last quite a long time. Worn hardwood surfaces are typically sanded and refinished–about every 20 years.

Solid hardwood can be sanded up to 6 or 7 times, while most engineered hardwood can only take 4 sanding cycles. If you maintain it well, using proper hardwood floor cleaners and polish, your hardwood floors can last between 40 and 80 years.

Whether you decide to go with solid or engineered hardwood, wood flooring is a wonderful choice to improve your home’s aesthetics and appeal.

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