Solid vs Engineered Hardwood

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It can be a daunting task to choose flooring for your

home with so many options on the market.  If you

haven't done so already take a look at our

flooring guide to help guide you through pros and

cons of the industries leading contestants. 

So, now that you've decided on hardwood, what's

next? Will it be engineered or solid hardwood

floors? 

Both products are real wood that add warmth,

charm and instant value to your home.  They are

indistinguishable from each other by the surface,

their difference can only be seen by looking at the profile.  However the they are very

different and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Solid hardwood is just what it

sounds like, a single piece of wood cut into a plank.  Engineered wood is several layers

of wood compressed together with a wood veneer on the top.  We've included a

comparison table to identify their strengths and weaknesses to help decide which option

will be best suited for your unique situation.

Once your done visit our wood species resources page for help selecting the right

species of wood for your lifestyle needs and personal design aesthetics.

Solid Hardwood

Engineered Hardwood

Solid Hardwood

Engineered Hardwood

 

What is it?

A single solid piece of hardwood.

Multiple layers of wood in alternating patterns with a thin wood veneer on top.

Lifespan 

Dependent on type of wood, thickness, care and maintenance.  With proper care and maintenance it can last a lifetime.

Dependent on type of wood and thickness of wood veneer. Typically last 10-15 years.

Moisture and 

temperature reistance

Highly susceptible to be damaged by warping and bowing from moisture and  extreme temperature changes. It should only be in dry, climate controlled areas.

It is engineered to withstand these conditions better than solid wood does.  The crossing grain patterns of the layers strengthens and prevents it from shrinking and expanding. 

Refinishing

Depending on the thickness of flooring it can be sanded and refinished numerous times, this factor add to its durability rating.

Options that are 3/8-1/2" thick can not be refinished due to how thin the wood veneer is.  Planks that are 3/4" thick may be sanded and refinished 1-2 times.

Suitable Applications

Can only be installed above grade, low moisture and climate controlled areas.

Can be installed below grade with a protective moisture barrier, in kitchens and bathrooms but special care must be taken to protect it from excessive moisture.

Installation Method

All solid wood varieties must be nailed or glued down. It's hard to install due to varying depth of groves and tendency to have slightly uneven planks. 

Either nailed, glued, or floating floor systems. Installation is easier because planks are more uniform in size, straight and have relief cuts on the backs. 

Installation Cost

Cost is higher than engineered. Generally the harder material, the higher the cost. 

The cost is cheaper than solid wood at about $2/Sq Ft but is more expensive than floating systems due to special skill required.