Engineered hardwood flooring has risen in popularity due to its highly impressive durability, flexible design options and lower cost compared to solid hardwood.

While it’s true that solid hardwood is about twice as expensive as engineered hardwood, the cost doesn’t paint the full picture, and there are valid reasons why you should think carefully before opting for one or the other.

Let’s take an in-depth look into the benefits and drawbacks of engineered hardwood flooring, and compare it directly to solid hardwood.

What is Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood is a flooring material that imitates the look of solid wood while offering more durability and resistance to scratches and dents. 

Its top layer is made of real hardwood veneer attached to multiple layers (usually 5 to 7) of plywood, HDF, or other wood composites. 

This layering is not just for show; it plays a crucial role in the flooring’s performance, making it less likely to contract or expand when exposed to temperature, moisture, or humidity changes. 

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Benefits of Engineered Hardwood 

Sturdy and Stable:

Engineered hardwood’s multiple layers make it a highly durable flooring option. Each layer is positioned in a cross-grain configuration, which minimizes the wood’s natural tendency to expand and contract under fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels. 

This makes engineered hardwood a practical choice for climates with highly fluctuating seasonal temperature changes.

 Highly Versatile:

While installing solid hardwood in areas like bathrooms or laundry rooms is not a good idea, the same can not be said for engineered wood. 

Engineered hardwood thrives in moisture-prone areas, and it can also be laid over concrete subfloors, used in basements or installed in homes with radiant heating systems without the risk of warping or buckling.

 An Eco-Friendly Option:

Engineered hardwood uses less solid wood than the same volume of solid hardwood floors. 

On top of that, the veneer layer of engineered hardwood is being used more efficiently in this flooring option, thus conserving forests and the environment.

The math is simple on this one. Less solid wood = Less trees being cut.  

 Installation Flexibility:

You can install engineered hardwood in a couple different ways, including floating, glue-down and nail-down installation. 

Many engineered wood flooring products also come with click-lock designs, which simplify the installation process for DIY enthusiasts.

 Available In a Wide Range of Styles:

With advancements in imaging and printing technology, engineered hardwood now offers a broader range of wood species, finishes, and staining options than ever before. 

This diversity allows you to customize your flooring to match any interior design style, from rustic to contemporary.

Drawbacks of Engineered Hardwood 


Most engineered wood floors don’t have a thick enough top layer, which makes them a less than ideal flooring option for sanding and refinishing. In most cases, they can be refinished once or twice before the hardwood layer is exhausted and you need to repair the planks.

It’s not all bad, though. Engineered wood can be quite easily replaced if damaged, especially if installed with the click-and-lock method.

Cost Effectiveness:

Engineered hardwood costs about $4 to $7 per square foot. In comparison, solid hardwood costs $8 to $15 per square foot, which puts into perspective just how much more expensive the latter option is.

This makes engineered wood a mid-range option – less costly than hardwood but generally more expensive than other choices like laminate, vinyl or carpet

Pay Attention To The Manufacturer:

Not all engineered hardwood floors are created equal. Lower-quality engineered wood typically has a thinner top layer and less durable core materials. If you plan on getting this flooring, it’s crucial to thoroughly research the market and buy from a reputable manufacturer. 

Engineered Hardwood VS Hardwood

While engineered hardwood is great at replicating the look of solid hardwood, they’re two distinctly different flooring options:

  • Solid hardwood can last up to 100 years or more, while engineered wood typically lasts about 30 years.
  • Because hardwood floors are such a desirable flooring option, they are known to increase property value.
  • Solid hardwood is about twice as expensive as engineered wood (the installation costs are higher, too)
  • Engineered wood flooring performs better in high-moisture areas.

Closing Thoughts

Engineered wood is a beautiful and sturdy flooring option that emulates the look of wood, while offering some key benefits that its solid wood counterpart lacks.

In our opinion, engineered wood’s stability, variety, and eco-friendliness make it an option worth considering.

Solid hardwood can last longer and it will increase your property’s value, but it’s also more expensive and more susceptible to environmental changes. 

When selecting between engineered and solid hardwood, consider the specific needs of your environment, the expected foot traffic, and your long-term use of the space to determine which flooring best meets your requirements.

About The Author

Bo Arnold

April 25, 2024

Associate Copywriter at FlooringStores (and its parent company, Broadlume), Bo is an avid traveler, former English teacher, and unashamed extrovert. When he’s not writing, you'll usually find him at a local hardware store looking for his next project.