Homeowners face a variety of decisions when it comes time to remodel or build a new home. One of the most important choices is what type of flooring to choose. There are many factors to consider and many flooring surface choices. And for many, it’s a lifetime decision. Wood floors have been a premier conclusion for many people to line their homes with. If you decide on wood floors, one of the biggest questions is whether to go with solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring. Both have their advantages, so how can you determine which is best for you?
Engineered wood flooring is often wider than solid hardwood flooring boards. When it comes to solid hardwood, compared to engineered, there is a wide variety of hues and species to choose from.
Wider flooring boards are more common with engineered hardwood. Some engineered floors have edges that are slightly beveled, causing minor grooves between the boards, whereas the seams between the boards of solid hardwood flooring touch completely together. Also, engineered flooring has a smaller selection of colors and species than solid flooring.
Lumber for hardwood floors is often offered in lengths of anywhere from 12 to 84 inches and measures 3/4inch thick by 2 ¼ - 7inch wide. Solid hardwood flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses and widths, but it's often no wider than 7 inches.
Engineered hardwood is available in a broad range of widths and lengths, ranging from 12 inches to 60 inches. 3/8 to 9/16-inch thick by 2¼ - 10inch wide engineered hardwood boards, specifically, are widespread in the industry.
It is possible to refinish engineered hardwood a few times before the surface hardwood layer wears down. However solid hardwood has a slight advantage here since it can be sanded and polished multiple times. Every few years it's a good idea to have the surface varnish finish on all of your hardwood floors reapplied.
Heat and Moisture Resistance
There is good heat resistance in both types of hardwoods. As for moisture, solid hardwood is not suggested for installation against concrete slabs, as the concrete's dampness might cause the wood to swell and warp.
Engineered hardwood performs significantly better in humid regions because its plywood structure makes it more stable and less susceptible to warping. Engineered hardwood flooring is the best option for installations that must go over a concrete sublevel.
Pre-finished solid hardwood flooring costs start at approximately $4 and may cost as much as $16 per square foot, although most are found in the $4-$10 per square foot price range. (1)
On the other hand, engineered hardwood flooring can be had for as little as $3 per square foot. Some of the most expensive engineered floors may cost up to $12 per square foot. The great majority of the products are priced between $4 and $7 per square foot. (2)
Acclimation times can vary by product and species, but a good rule of thumb is to allow solid hardwood flooring to acclimate for at least three days and up to 5-7 days depending on the humidity level of the area and the product.
The idea is you want to reach an equilibrium between the moisture level of the wood boards and the air where the flooring is being installed. Engineered wood floors, on the other hand, should be acclimated to their new environment for up to 48-72 hours.
Wood acclimation is the process of reaching an equilibrated moisture content, meaning the point at which the wood is neither losing nor gaining moisture.
With the tongue-and-groove system, each board is blind-nailed to the subfloor, down through the tongues on each board, to a solid hardwood subfloor.
However, in some cases, engineered wood flooring can be laid as a "floating floor" if the "click-lock" ends of the planks are employed, rather than nails. Engineered hardwood flooring may be glued down to a concrete substrate as well as nailed. It is also a popular choice for DIYers since it is easy to install.
As a rule of thumb, the life expectancy of engineered wood flooring is 20 to 30 years, or more with good care and proper maintenance. Because they can be sanded down and polished multiple times, solid hardwood floors often last 30 to 100 years.
Simple sweeping or vacuuming and washing with an authorized wood cleaner are all that is needed to maintain any type of flooring. Wood floors should be cleaned without the use of water or steam at all.
Improvements in product quality have erased the old stereotype that engineered hardwood flooring was a poor man's copy of real hardwood. In terms of prestige, solid hardwood may have a minor advantage over engineered hardwood, but the lower cost and easier installation give it the upper hand for many consumers and experts alike. Customers who care about the environment will appreciate the fact that engineered wood consumes less hardwood.
In the end, it is up to the individual consumer to decide what they value most in a flooring product. Both engineered hardwood and solid hardwood have their pros, but when all is said and done, both can provide a beautiful and durable finish for one's home. It is important to keep in mind that with either choice, there are many different species and styles of wood available so that each homeowner can find the perfect fit for their needs. Make sure to browse both our engineered wood and solid wood flooring collections.
(1) “Solid Hardwood Flooring Price Guide”, homeflooringpros.com, 2022, Solid Hardwood Flooring Price Guide | HomeFlooringPros.com
(2) “Engineered Flooring Price Guides”, homeflooringpros.com, 2022, Engineered Flooring Price Guide | HomeFlooringPros.com