Engineered vs Solid Hardwood Flooring: What You Need to Know Before You Make Your Decision

Trying to decide between engineered or solid wood flooring? Don’t know where to start or how to differentiate between the two? Well, you’re in luck, because we will be exploring the distinctions between both engineered and solid flooring in this article, all in an effort to help you make the proper choice for your floor plan.

Engineered and Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring typically consists of long planks that are produced from hardwood. It is ground with grooves on either side so the planks can mesh together and connect properly when being placed into position. And because it’s solid wood, it has the capacity to be sanded and refinished multiple times during its lifespan.

Now, engineered wood flooring has similarities to solid wood flooring. Namely, in its presentation and overall look. However, its structure has a narrow layer of hardwood fastened and attached on a high-quality layer of plywood that adds stability to the flooring. A top-grade engineered floor can usually endure anywhere from 20 to 30 years. Furthermore, it’s also more affordable and trouble-free to install.

Solid Hardwood Details

  • Can last from 30 up to 100 years
  • You can sand and refinish about 2 or 3 times over the duration of its life
  • Between $8 and $15 per square foot
  • ¾ of an inch thick
  • 2 to 4 inches in width
  • 12 to 84 inches in length

Engineered Hardwood Details

  • Can last from 20 up to 40 years
  • Can sand and refinish once or twice
  • Between $3 and $14 per square foot
  • ⅜ to 9/16 inches thick
  • 2 to 7 inches in width
  • 12 to 60 inches in length

Look and Presentation

Appearance of Solid Hardwood Flooring

Compared to engineered hardwood flooring, solid hardwood typically has thinner boards. Additionally, it also has condensed seams in between planks as well as a rich spectrum of colours, shades, and textures relative to its engineered hardwood counterpart.

Appearance of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

The planks of engineered hardwood flooring will usually be a bit wider than solid hardwood. There are certain pre-finished types that have slanted fringes, which as a result, produce modest grooves between the planks. This is in opposition to solid hardwood flooring, which typically has very contracted seams between the planks. Engineered hardwood is almost exclusively sold in its pre-finished form.

Ideal Choice for Look and Presentation: Draw

Both are great options for the look of your hardwood flooring. When it comes to the aesthetic allure, you can’t go wrong with either option as they both present a clean and refined look.

Resistance to Water and Heat

When it comes to heat, both materials are resistant. However, both wood floorings are poor choices for any wet and damp locations you may be thinking of installing them in.

Solid Hardwood

It is not advised to install solid hardwood flooring abutting up to concrete. The reason being is that humidity can seep through the slab of cement and can result in the hardwood flooring bending and warping.

Engineered Hardwood

It looks as though engineered hardwood is the clear winner of the water-resistance battle. With a moderately better capacity to handle humid and damp areas due to its plywood composition, it is less vulnerable to warping.

Ideal Choice for Resistance to Water and Heat: Engineered Hardwood

If installing your flooring against a cement slab is unavoidable, your best choice is to opt for engineered hardwood flooring.

Upkeep and Maintenance

Solid Hardwood

All it takes to clean solid hardwood is a broom — and if you really want to go the extra mile — a vacuum to pick up what was left behind.

Engineered Hardwood

Similar to solid hardwood; all you really need are the basic tools of a broom and a vacuum. Try to refrain from using water to clean hardwood flooring.

Ideal Choice for Upkeep and Maintenance: Draw

For care and upkeep, both options are great as they are very easy to clean and maintain. With a quick sweep, you can be done cleaning in a matter of minutes with each flooring type.

Longevity

Everyone knows that the longevity of a product is connected to how well it is taken care of during its lifespan. However, there is also something to be said about the quality of production that plays a role in longevity as well.

Solid Hardwood

The edge goes to solid hardwood in this category, simply because it is able to be sanded and refinished more often during its lifecycle.

Engineered Hardwood

You can only sand and refinish engineered hardwood, give or take, one or two times before the veneer of the flooring is worn out.

Ideal Choice for Longevity: Solid Hardwood

Because it can be refinished many times during its life, the winner is solid hardwood. The pre-finished floors of both types offer the most longevity because they feature a tough, factory finish that is able to really go the distance.

Installing

Solid Hardwood

The tongue-and-groove method is utilized to install solid hardwood flooring. This procedure nails the plank to the subfloor via tongues located at the fringes of each plank.

Engineered Hardwood

Similar to solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can also use the tongue-and-groove system for installation. However, there is more freedom and flexibility when it comes to installing engineered hardwood. For this reason, it is the better option for the installation category.

Ideal Choice for Installation: Engineered Hardwood

The method for installing engineering hardwood is just easier than solid hardwood. This is especially useful for DIYers as the simple and straightforward process for installment can be performed by nearly anyone.

Residual Value

Solid Hardwood

When comparing solid hardwood to engineered hardwood, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. However, real estate agents, home buyers, etc, might value solid hardwood flooring to a greater degree due to its longevity and durability.

Engineered Hardwood

There is nothing about this type of flooring that will make potential home buyers reconsider. But anyone who has general knowledge of flooring types knows that this type will not last as long as some of its competitors.

Ideal Choice for Residual Value: Solid Hardwood

Both of these types of hardwood flooring will add value to any property. However, the lead goes to solid hardwood in this case, simply based on the fact that its degree of durability outperforms engineering hardwood.

To Summarize

Solid hardwood is praised by many for its durability as well as the resale value it can add to properties, while engineered hardwood is commended for its affordability and effortless installation process. There are pros and cons to each flooring type, and for this reason, you should base your decision on what it is you’re personally looking for in regards to hardwood, rather than what looks good on paper.

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