Engineered Wooden Flooring vs Solid Hardwood

Confused to choose from Solid Hardwood or Engineered Wooden Flooring for your home? Learn about both and decide which one is right for you.

If you’re looking to add beauty & warmth to your home, there is nothing compares to hardwood flooring. Both Engineered & Solid hardwood floors are made from 100% natural wood, but there are significant differences in their construction.

Cognac Engineered Wooden Flooring (Image Courtesy: Anika Global)

Engineered wood floors behave somewhat differently than solid plank floors. They are easier to install and less expensive than Solid hardwood. However, not all wooden floors are equal. Species or type of wood the flooring is made from determines the performance qualities. Knowing these differences will go a long way to help you choose a right wood floor for your home.

Engineered Hardwood vs Solid Hardwood

Solid Hardwood Floors — they are made from solid wood, each board is made from a single piece of hardwood that’s about 3/4th of an inch thick, because of it’s thickness it can be refinished for however long the flooring is in your home.

Engineered Hardwood Floors — a versatile & resilient flooring option that can be installed in most areas of the house. Engineered Hardwood flooring gives your home an updated look with real natural wood. Engineered hardwood is made of a core of hardwood or plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top and comparatively, It is much more resistant to moisture and heat than solid hardwood.

Where Can I Install Hardwood Floors?

Solid hardwood contracts and expands in reaction to changes in moisture and temperature level, thus solid wood floors are recommended for rooms at ground level or above only.

The unique construction of engineered wood creates a structure that is less likely to react to the fluctuations in humidity and temperature level. You can install engineered wooden flooring on any level, including below ground. It is an excellent choice for finished basements and bathrooms.

Solid vs Engineered Performance

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors have excellent durability and beautiful designs, and their solid surface can stand up to active homes. However, both the flooring have unique performance attributes.

Solid wood flooring is permanently nailed to the sub-floor. Because of its expansion and contraction property, installers have to leave a gap between the wall & the floor to accommodate expansion and contraction. Solid Wood flooring should be installed in the areas that are above grade & only over wood, plywood or oriented strand board sub-floors.

Engineered wooden floors are more resistant to shrinking or expanding based on humidity and temperature levels. They are more stable and present a bit more resistance to everyday wear and tear.

DIY vs Pro Installation

Solid hardwood flooring can be nailed, glued or stapled to a wood sub-floor. These types of installations are best left to the professionals only.

Engineered wooden floors can be either glued down or nailed down like traditional hardwood installation. They can also be installed as “floating” floors i.e. boards attach to each other and “floats” above the sub floor.

Hardwood expands and contracts so whoever fits your solid hardwood floors must have enough expertise to leave the optimum amount of space for the expansion and contraction. The individual boards must not be too loose or too tight. If they’re too tight, your floor can buckle and if it’s too loose — the gaps between the boards will get excessively wide in the winter.

Image Courtesy: Anika Global

DIY Hardwood Installation

Engineered hardwood flooring is faster and easier DIY installation. Solid Hardwood Flooring installation is perhaps one of the most challenging of all flooring types. However, with the right tools and experiences skilled DIYers can handle the job with astounding results. But if you’re unsure if you’re up to the task, hire an expert.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Both solid hardwood and engineered wooden flooring can be refinished. Solid hardwood can be refinished up to 9–10 times (depending on the board thickness). Engineered boards require less refinishing over its lifetime (typically only one or two times)

Refinishing your hardwood floors is a DIY project, but it requires skills and patience. If you’re not completely confident in your skills, you must hire a professional for this work.

Hardwood Flooring Costs

The cost of engineered and solid hardwood majorly dependents on the quality and species of the wood. The layers in the build up, underneath the top layer of engineered hardwood also play a role in the final pricing. There can be anywhere between 3–12 layers of plywood and unfinished white wood, depending on the thickness & quality of the finished product.