ENGINEERED VS. SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORS
28th February 2017
A common question we get from customers is, “What is the difference between solid and engineered wood floors and which is better?” The answer is that it really depends. You need to consider several factors before you decide.
- What kind of look are you going for?
- Where are you installing the floor?
- If it’s a renovation, are there any space/thickness restrictions?
- At what grade is the location?
- What material is the subfloor?
- What is the weather or environment like where the floor will be installed?
- What kind of traffic do you expect?
- How much do you want to spend?
Below is a description of each type of product that will help you determine which option is best for your project.
SOLID WOOD FLOORING
As the name suggests, these floors are solid wood from top to bottom. It’s probably what most people traditionally think of when they hear “wood floor.” The key distinctions to solid wood floors are that they are ¾” to 5/16” thick, should be installed at or above grade and that they can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Solid wood floors also tend to minimize “bounce” when installed over a subfloor and have unlimited style choices. Solid hardwood is considered to be the highest standard in flooring.
ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING
This type of flooring is still real hardwood flooring, however it is manufactured differently. Instead of being a single solid piece of wood, it consists of three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The grains of each layer run in opposite directions making it very stable and less susceptible to expansion and contraction due to changes in moisture and temperature. The top layer consists of high quality wood; however, it cannot be sanded as often as a solid wood floor. Engineered wood floors do have some flexibility benefits:
- It is thinner than a solid wood floor, making it great for renovation projects
- It doesn’t require a subfloor for installation – it can be installed over wood or a concrete slab
- It can be installed above, at or below grade
The cost of these floors varies widely based on the type of wood that is chosen, however, engineered wood flooring is typically less expensive due to the less expensive veneers in the lower