Do you know what engineered wood flooring is?!
If you answered that it is fake wood flooring, you aren’t alone! In full disclosure, I thought it was just manufactured (fake) wood myself until I did some research when building my house!
Here’s the reality: BOTH solid and engineered wood floors are REAL wood! They are just constructed differently and hold up to humidity differently.
In this post, I provide an overview of solid hardwood vs. engineered wood flooring, as well as compare the two wood flooring options in regards to durability, installation methods, and cost. I’ll also share how to choose which product is best for YOUR home!
Affiliate links are used for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
WHAT IS SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING?
As you can imagine, a solid hardwood floor plank is a single solid piece constructed with 100% hardwood. It is milled from a single piece of hardwood (so it’s solid wood all the way through) and then covered with a thin protective layer.
The planks are typically ¾” thick, and they generally have a longer life than engineered wood.
Solid hardwood is extremely durable and reliable! It holds up great over time! Do keep in mind that some types of wood species and protective finishes are more durable than others.
Not only will your solid hardwood flooring last for decades, but it can be sanded and refinished many times throughout its lifetime.
There is ONE downfall to solid hardwood … it expands and contracts with humidity and temperature variations, which can cause some warping or cracking.
Solid hardwood is typically more expensive than engineered wood. However, premium engineered wood products are priced very similar to solid hardwood.
Solid hardwood is installed using nails; it is permanently nailed to the subfloor. It CANNOT be installed in basements, over radiant heat, or over concrete.
WHAT IS ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING?
Engineered wood flooring is REAL WOOD! It is constructed in layers, as opposed to a solid piece of wood.
It is slightly thinner (3/8” – ½”) than solid hardwood and is made up of layers. The top and bottom layers are 100% natural wood, and can come from a variety of species (just like solid wood). The middle is constructed from several layers of plywood.
The thickness of the top layer varies depending on the product’s quality. A higher quality engineered wood product has a thicker top layer; cheaper products have a thinner top layer.
The layered construction provides stability against environmental changes, so it isn’t as affected by humidity as solid wood is. It’s less likely to expand, contract, or shift when exposed to moisture, humidity, and temperature. Therefore, it is a great option in rooms with high moisture (such as your basement or bathroom).
The one drawback to engineered wood (other than the fact that it isn’t solid wood) is that it typically can’t be sanded and refinished. Some of the premium products can be refinished once or twice, but you have to be very careful!
Engineered wood flooring is typically less expensive than solid wood … unless you choose a premium product. Premium engineered wood products are similar in price to solid wood.
There are multiple installation methods: staple, nail, glue, float, and fold-and-lock. It can be installed just about anywhere in your home! This includes basements, over radiant heat, and over concrete.
You may also enjoy LVT FLOORING VS. ENGINEERED WOOD.
SOLID HARDWOOD VS. ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING: WHICH IS BETTER?
There is absolutely no right or wrong answer here! Neither product is better or worse! Both solid hardwood and engineered wood are made from REAL wood! Both types are available in a plethora of species, stains, and styles!
Solid hardwood is highly affected by humidity; the planks expand and contract whereas engineered wood does not. However, it can be sanded and refinished as often as you’d like! Engineered wood cannot be sanded and refinished more than once or twice, if at all. However, it stands up to humidity great!
The choice comes down to what’s most important to YOU! Do you want the ability to refinish the floors, or do you want your floors to stand up to humidity?!
Did you find this post helpful?! Please let me know of any other design products you would like me to compare!
Be sure to read next week’s post on how I keep my engineered wood floors clean! Also, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE so you get a reminder in your inbox! Plus, you’ll get a little freebie for joining!