Solid Hardwood vs Engineered Hardwood

Learn about the differences between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.

Hardwood Flooring Options

There are two different hardwood flooring options: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood is the more traditional option, as it has been installed in homes for as long as most of us can remember. Engineered hardwood, however, is a relatively newer option that is growing in popularity because of its durability advantages. Let the experts at Carpet One Floor & Home in Woodstock help you make the right choice for your home setting.

solid hardwood flooring engineered hardwood flooring  

What Is Solid Hardwood Flooring?

Like we mentioned before, solid hardwood flooring is the traditional hardwood option. Solid planks are made from a single layer of authentic wood and nothing else. There is no special construction or layering at all. The surface, however, is usually finished and treated for extra wear resistance, but there is no separate top layer.

The main advantage of solid hardwood is its thickness. Most solid planks are about 3/4" thick, so they can be refinished multiple times. Hardwood refinishing involves sanding down the surface to remove any scratches and blemishes and then reapplying finish. What results after refinishing is a hardwood floor that looks, and functions, as if it were as good as new.

What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Whereas solid hardwood has a uniform construction, engineered hardwood flooring is made from different layers. The top and bottom layers are made from authentic wood, but the middle layers are actually made from plywood or similar materials. There are around 5 to 7 middle layers in each engineered planks. These middle layers run in different directions, and this actually counteracts wood's natural tendency to expand and contract. Consequently, engineered hardwood planks are more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood planks. Engineered hardwood is better-equipped to handle foot traffic, and it can even handle some moisture.

Nonetheless, because engineered planks have a real wood top layer, engineered hardwood looks and feels exactly like solid hardwood. But, engineered planks cannot be refnished as many times as solid planks.

Where Can Hardwood Flooring Be Installed?

Because it is more durable, engineered hardwood does have installation advantages over solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood can be installed below, on, or above ground, while solid hardwood is recommended for on ground use. Engineered hardwood, and solid hardwood for that matter, is still not recommended for areas with heavy moisture and foot traffic. So, bedrooms and living rooms are typically popular areas for hardwood.