Engineered Wood VS Solid Hardwood Flooring: A Detailed Comparison

Wooden floors have known to add a classic feel to a home and have been popular since ages. They are known to add natural warmth and value to your home. Wooden floors are basically of two types– solid hardwood floor and engineered wood floor. Solid hardwood flooring is constructed with 100% hardwood and where each plank is a single solid piece. Whereas the engineered hardwood floors are made up of various layers where the top and the bottom layer is 100% natural wood and in the middle, there are 5 to 7 layers of plywood that crisscross in different directions.

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Solid flooring is generally used for living spaces such as living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms and engineered wood is typically used in basements, over concrete floors or over radiant heating systems, etc.

The benefits of installing engineered wood flooring usually outweigh the benefits of solid wood flooring. Let us discuss why-


Engineered wood is constructed in a way that it can easily withstand moisture, humidity, and varying temperature and doesn’t warp. It is constructed in layers that provide stability against the harsh environmental changes and its coating is highly resistant to daily wear and tear. However, the sturdiness of the solid hardwood varies as per the species of the wood and is less durable in comparison to engineered wood.


Solid wood flooring is typically installed by using nails or staplers and never by the floating method. Its installation has to be finished onsite requiring more time and efforts to finish. The engineered wood, on the other hand, has multiple installation methods including stapling or nailing, fold-and-lock, or glue. It is, in fact, a finished product and requires lesser time for installation.


Engineered wood has proven to be more dimensionally stable than its other counterpart i.e. it is better at dealing with moisture and stable in terms of expansion and contraction with varying moisture levels in the environment. But while considering solid hardwood, remember that is highly susceptible to moisture and never recommended for areas where moisture is present.


The solid hardwood flooring is usually done with any of these 3 species of wood – Oak, Maple or Hickory. This is because these are the most durable and doesn’t get worn off easily. Whereas, with the advancement of flooring techniques, the engineered woods have an ample variety to choose from other than those three, like walnut, teak, cherry, jatoba, ash, etc. that are more robust.


Solid wood is the gold standard in flooring and the prices are therefore on a higher end. There is a particular technique deployed after installing solid wood flooring, which takes the cost to a higher notch. However, in the case of engineered wood flooring, you can enjoy the look of real wood without having to spend much and at the same time explore the unique options.


The surface of the solid hardwood floors have the tendency to develop scratches easily and loses its shine over time. Although, it can be sanded numerous times but that leads to thinning of wood layers taking a toll on its structural integrity. While on the other hand, engineered wood is more resistant to wear and tear and its lost shine can be brought back by sanding only once or twice throughout its lifetime.


Randall J. Lopez

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