Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood: A Closer Look | FlooringStores
solid-engineered-comparison
Blog Home

Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood: A Closer Look

Hardwood flooring is a huge category. If you’re thinking about putting hardwood floors in your home, there’s so much to consider. In addition to species, plank size, cut, and tone, you’ll also have to decide which type of hardwood flooring you want – solid or engineered.

While both are available in a variety of styles, species, and finishes, each product has its own unique features, benefits, and installation options. Once you have a better understanding of the nuances of solid and engineered flooring, you’ll have an easier time deciding which product is right for you.

Solid hardwood

solid hardwood illustration

Solid hardwood is exactly what it sounds like – a solid plank of wood all the way through. It’s typically between 5/16 and ¾ of an inch thick. It can be sanded and refinished multiple times, making it a long-lasting flooring option.

Visuals

Solid hardwood planks tend to be a bit less wide than their engineered counterparts. In general, solid hardwood planks shouldn’t be wider than 5 inches. Most solid hardwood planks are anywhere from 2.25 to 5 inches wide.

You can find solid hardwood flooring in a variety of species, but the most common species sold in the U.S. are red oak, white oak, and maple.

Installation

Solid hardwood flooring is generally installed by nailing the planks to the subfloor. It also requires an acclimation period before being installed. Unless you have a lot of previous experience putting in new floors, we recommend hiring a professional to install your solid hardwood floors.

Solid hardwood is susceptible to moisture damage as well as expansion and contraction due to temperature or humidity changes. As a result, it should never be installed in areas like bathrooms or below-grade – meaning, in your basement.

Engineered hardwood

engineered hardwood illustration

Engineered hardwood features a hardwood top layer, or veneer, glued to a core. The core is usually either high density fiberboard or plywood lumber. Its construction makes it less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, so it can be installed in places where solid hardwood can’t go, like basements, or over radiant heating or concrete subfloors.

Visuals

Just like solid hardwood, engineered planks are available in a variety of species, stains, or grading.

Engineered hardwood planks are about ⅜ to ½ inch thick, meaning they can be refinished if needed, just not as many times as solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood also offers more of a variety in terms of plank width, with some planks reaching up to 9 inches wide.

Installation

There are a few different ways to install engineered hardwood. Depending on the product, it can be stapled, glued, or installed using a tongue and groove system. Floors installed with tongue and groove systems are generally easier to install than those that use either glue or staples. If you’re a handy DIYer, engineered hardwood that uses a tongue and groove system could be a great option for you.

While its stability means it can be installed in places where solid hardwood cannot, it’s still susceptible to water damage, and may not be the best choice for places where flooding or spilling could be an issue. You shouldn’t use a wet mop on engineered hardwood floors, either, and spills should be wiped up as quickly as possible.

Ready to find your perfect hardwood floors? Click here to get started!

About The Author

Lauren Moore

Proud flooring aficionado and office dog mom, "Flauren" has been a professional writer and editor for more than a decade (though she still maintains her magnum opus was "The Day it Snowed Slurpees," written at the age of 6).

Show Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PEOPLE ALSO LOVED

Hardwood Species Featured Image of a Child Reading on a Hardwood Floor

The 26 Best Hardwood Species for Flooring

November 26, 2020 Everyone knows that hardwood floors are the best. They’re beautiful, they’re strong, and they can look great for ages with proper care. But with so many types of wood flooring available, it can be difficult to decide what hardwood species is best for you. But what exactly is a hardwood species? It’s […]

Best Engineered Wood Flooring Brands Featured Image of Woman and Cat on Wood Floor

The 16 Best Engineered Wood Flooring Brands

November 24, 2020 Looking for the best engineered wood flooring brands? We get it.  Tile flooring, vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, hemp flooring—until you need a new floor in your home, you may never realize exactly how many types of flooring exist. And more than that, how many flooring brands exist! But don’t worry—we’ve got you […]

Refinish Bamboo Flooring Featured Image

Can You Refinish Bamboo Flooring? Here’s How

November 20, 2020 Wondering if you can refinish bamboo flooring? Don’t worry—it’s a question we hear all the time.  Maybe you’re looking into bamboo floors as a non-toxic laminate flooring alternative and want to know how long you can expect them to last.  Or maybe you already have bamboo floors you love, but they need […]