When working with our homeowners on selections, a common question we get is the use of solid hardwood vs engineered wood flooring. Solid wood flooring is one of the most popular flooring options but engineered wood has come a long way since its inception.
Solid hardwood flooring, as the name implies, is solid wood from top to bottom. It is shaped and planed from planks of solid wood. It is typically made of a species such as oak, maple, cherry, or walnut and it can be sanded and refinished multiple times over the course of its lifespan. Solid hardwood comes in long planks and is milled with tongues and grooves on opposite edges so that the boards interlock when installed. It is nailed down to a subfloor and requires skill to install.
Engineered hardwood flooring appears almost identical to solid hardwood on the surface but it is made of a high-quality plywood core with a thin layer of hardwood on top. When creating engineered wood planks, multiple plies of wood are glued together in a cross-grain pattern. On top of the cross-grain wood pattern, a genuine piece of wood is placed on top, and the layers are bonded under high heat and pressure. Dependent on the thickness of the solid hardwood top layer (typically 1-4mm), it can be sanded and refinished typically only once or twice over its lifespan. It is often less costly than hardwood but is easier to install for you DIY’ers.
- beautiful and timeless
- multiple refinishes
- able to change finish color
- wide range of colors and species of wood
- easier to repair
- easier to match to existing hardwoods
- on average pricier
- cannot be installed over concrete subfloor
- expands and contracts with humidity
- softer woods easily scratch and ding
- solid wood has natural variations if wanting consistency throughout
- same beauty as solid hardwood
- more tolerant of temperature, humidity, and moisture
- easily installed for the DIY’er
- can be installed on several subfloor types, including concrete
- some options compatible with radiant floor heating system
- can be installed in multiple ways (nail down, staple, glue, or float)
- on average less expensive
- available in wider planks
- not quite as durable as solid wood
- limited refinishing
- potential gas emission with lower grade product
- can have a hollow underfoot feel dependent on installation
- water-resistant but not waterproof
- more difficult to repair
The “hard” wood choice is yours
Engineered hardwood was once thought of as a pale imitation of solid hardwood, however improvements in the quality have eliminated this perception. Solid hardwood tends to have a slight edge in prestige for some homeowners, but the lower cost and ease of installation of engineered hardwood flooring gives it an edge for others. Neither is pet-proof from scratches, but solid hardwood allows refinishing if you don’t like seeing the scratches. Regardless of which type of flooring you are leaning towards, get a sample and see how you like the feel or how it looks in your home. When considering an engineered hardwood floor, ensure it is a high “Grade” and has a minimum of 3mm thickness of the hardwood top layer to allow refinishing and ensure more durability in the product.
Both products provide great resale value, and both have extensive pros and cons. As such, neither hardwood floor is “better” than the other, though that’s not to say one isn’t better for you and your home’s needs.
Still not sure which would work best for you? Contact Corinthian Fine Homes and allow us to help you in your decision making and your remodeling needs.