Hardwood flooring is a timeless option that continues to gain popularity when remodeling or building a new home. The most common types of hardwood floors are solid and engineered. You may find yourself asking, what is the difference between solid and engineered hardwood floors?
To help answer this question, we discuss the top five differences between the two types of hardwoods:
1. How They’re Made
The biggest difference between engineered and solid hardwoods is how these types of floors are made. Engineered hardwood is made by attaching a veneer of real hardwood over a core board or plyboard center, thus giving it more durability and temperature resistance. Solid hardwood is made completely out of real, natural hardwood.
Hardwoods are known for their durability and ability to withstand the time. Due to the differences in their construction, engineered hardwood is more durable in rooms with radiant heat, moisture, or cement subfloors (such as a basement). Since solid hardwood is a completely natural product, it is durable, but requires maintenance to avoid cracking, expansion and other damages. Adding a surface finish can help to lessen the damages and protect the floor for longer.
3. Climate and Moisture
You might not think that the weather can affect your flooring, but it is a serious factor to consider when deciding on which flooring type to go with. Engineered hardwood is constructed to work well in climates that change frequently or are extreme. The plywood core prevents large expansions or contractions due to weather. On the other hand, solid hardwood can cup, expand, and buckle as the temperatures fluctuate since it is a natural product that absorbs moisture and humidity. Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in basements, because it can withstand the extra moisture content in these rooms. Solid hardwood should never be installed in rooms that are located below ground as the excess moisture from the ground can destroy your floor.
You would think that since they’re both hardwood products that you can install the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Since engineered hardwood is made on top of a plywood structure, manufacturers are able to create a locking system for the flooring. Engineered hardwood can be installed just like laminate flooring, with a click and lock system floated over an underlayment, glued, or nailed down. Solid hardwood on the other hand can only be glued or nailed down, which makes DIY installation a less viable option, unless you know what you’re doing.
Generally, engineered hardwood is more cost effective than solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood is cheaper to produce and also allows for DIY installation and long-term maintenance. Solid hardwoods usually require professional installation that can increase your budget for a flooring project, as well as re-finishing down the line.
Which is Right for You?
Deciding between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood isn’t always easy. However, if you live in a climate with high temperatures and humidity, engineered hardwood is the way to go. This type of flooring is still a hardwood flooring, but engineered to be sturdier and withstand harsher climates. Both engineered hardwood and solid hardwood create a beautiful hardwood look in your home and can also help to increase the value of your home.
Did you have to make the choice between solid and engineered hardwood flooring? Which did you go with and why? Write it in the comments below!