Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. Whether you’re looking for the perfect touch of charm or want to add warmth in your design, hardwood floors are an excellent choice. But how do you know which is better, solid hardwood or engineered hardwood? There are many differences between solid and engineered hardwood, and we’ll help you understand the pros and cons of each to determine which one is best for your space.
Solid hardwood have been around for many years, and while solid hardwood has changed over time, the natural look and beauty of solid wood floors continue to offer a touch of warmth in any home design. Solid wood differs from engineered wood, particularly in its construction. Solid hardwood floors are milled from one piece of wood, while engineered wood floors feature a unique, layered construction. The unique construction of both solid and engineered floor make for many differences between their features, durability, and more.
Engineered wood floors are another type of wood floor that are ideal for many homes. Engineered hardwood floors are constructed from genuine wood. However, when creating engineered wood planks, multiple plies of wood are glued together in a cross-grain pattern. On top of the cross-grain wood pattern, a genuine piece of wood is placed on top, which gives engineered hardwood its natural, genuine wood beauty. Then, the layers are bonded under high heat and pressure. Unlike solid hardwood, this construction makes engineered wood more dimensionally stable, which means less expansion and contraction with changes in moisture and humidity levels.
Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are made with genuine wood in a variety of species. When it comes to the exterior appearance, the wood species of engineered or solid hardwood is typically what determines the look of the wood floors. Different species have varying graining, characteristics, and hardness ratings. For example, maple hardwood has a straight, consistent grain, while red oak has some curly or wavy lines in its graining. Both engineered and solid wood floors are available in a number of species, stains, finishes, and styles.
Solid hardwood flooring is generally anywhere from 3/4 inches thick to 7/16 inches thick. As far as width, solid wood floors can vary from one product to another, with 2 ¼ to 3 ¼ inches wide being some of the most popular. However, solid hardwood floors also come in wide plank options like 5 inch and 7-inch widths.
Engineered hardwood floors are also available in varying wood species like white oak, red oak, maple, and more. They are also available in several widths, like 2 ¼ and 3 ¼, as well as 5 inches, and a number of other widths. The style of wood floor you are looking for will likely be available in both solid and engineered wood floor options, so it’s best to make your choice based on the features that you need in your home.
Solid hardwood floors are not water-resistant. In fact, because this type of flooring is made from real wood, water spills and accidents can cause significant damage to solid hardwood. Cupping and buckling are two types of issues that can occur with high levels of moisture on the subfloor or other changes that involve water and moisture. Solid hardwood also expands and contracts as changes in moisture and humidity levels change over time, which is completely normal and natural. Solid wood floors should not be installed in areas where moisture is prevalent, like bathrooms or kitchens, and spills should be picked up as soon as possible to avoid water damage.
While engineered hardwood is also constructed using genuine wood, its surface and layers below make most engineered hardwood water-resistant. Keep in mind, engineered hardwood is water-resistant, not waterproof, which means that it cannot tolerate every spill or liquid accident. It’s just as important to clean up mishaps when they happen to keep damages from occurring with engineered hardwood floors. Unlike solid wood floors, engineered wood floors can be installed in areas like kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and even below-grade rooms like basements.
Maintaining solid hardwood floors will extend your floor’s life and keep them looking amazing for years to come. Solid hardwood floors can be swept or vacuumed with the beater bar turned off on a bare floor setting to remove dust and debris. It’s crucial that you turn the beater bar off, as it can damage the wood floors.
Engineered hardwood floors are relatively easy to maintain, as dirt, dust, and debris sit on the surface. Sweeping engineered hardwood or vacuuming it with the bare floor setting turned on, and the beater bar off will remove loose dirt and dust. When cleaning engineered floors, always check with your manufacturer for approved cleaning products and solutions to ensure that you are not causing irreversible damages.
Learn more about how to care for your hardwood floors.
Each species of hardwood has a unique hardness rating that will determine how likely it is to become dented. Dropping heavy furniture or other items on solid wood floors can cause dents that cannot be removed or repaired. In addition, solid hardwood is not ideal for homes where spills and accidents are common because it is likely to become damaged with sitting liquid or water. Thankfully, Carpet One offers some incredible warranties on wood flooring options.
Because of how engineered hardwood floors are constructed, they are known for being more stable than solid wood. Engineered wood floors can handle changes in moisture and humidity. However, engineered hardwood can also become scratched from sliding heavy furniture or pet claws.
Solid hardwood floors are suitable for most areas of your home, like bedrooms, living rooms, offices, and more. They are not ideal for areas that are prone to moisture, like basements and bathrooms. Because solid wood floors are likely to expand and contract, we recommend having them professionally installed. A professional flooring installer will account for the changes that will happen with expansion and contraction, ensuring that your floors will look great for years to come.
Because engineered hardwood floors perform better when exposed to moisture, they can be installed in almost any space in your home. Living rooms, bedrooms, offices, hallways, staircases, and kitchens are just a few of the areas where engineered wood is ideal. Below-grade rooms like finished basements, and finished attics are also areas where engineered wood can be installed. Like solid hardwood, we recommend hiring a professional to install engineered hardwood because of the difficulty and technical knowledge required to complete the job.
Solid hardwood floors can be more costly than engineered hardwood floors, but there are many factors to consider when looking at the cost of both. The installation method, amount of labor needed, cost of labor, region, and subfloor condition can all play a role in the overall cost of solid hardwood.
As far as the cost of the material, engineered hardwood is often comparable in price to solid hardwood. However, because engineered hardwood can be either glued down, nailed down, or floated, the installation cost may be less for engineered hardwood.
Many different factors come into play when determining how long a specific type of flooring will last in your home. Your activity levels, where the flooring is installed, how the flooring is installed, and the thickness of the flooring are all elements that will determine how long solid or engineered floors will last.
Solid hardwood floors can usually be refinished several times over their lifespan, depending on how thick they are. Sanding and refinishing solid wood floors will remove most scratches and some dents and allow you to apply a new stain and finish, prolonging the need to replace it. With proper refinishing, you can expect solid hardwood floors to last as many as twenty years or more in your home, depending on the area where they are installed and how much wear they are exposed to.
Some engineered floors can be refinished, but not all of them. Whether or not engineered floors can be refinished greatly depends on how thick the floors are, and how thick the layer of wood is that exists over the layers of wood veneer. If your engineered floors have previously been refinished, they may not be able to be refinished again. Engineered floors can last as many as fifteen years or more, depending on the home and wear levels in the home.