Engineered Wood Floors vs. Solid Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors add significant value and beauty to your home. They are such a sought-after upgrade in a home because they are easy to clean, sanitary, keep dust, mold and allergens from collecting (unlike carpet), are durable and can be absolutely stunning. For these reasons, and others, many people want to install hardwood floors in their home.

The choices and options currently on the market for hardwood flooring can make choosing the perfect hardwood for your home feel overwhelming and stressful. Make the decision a little easier by learning a bit more about hardwood flooring, especially the difference between solid and engineered wood floors.

Engineered Wood Flooring

One of the fastest growing flooring types on the market is engineered hardwood. This flooring is popular for a variety of reasons. When consumers hear “engineered hardwood” some may immediately shy away, thinking it is a product similar to laminate. This is not the case. The top of the floor that you see and walk on is 100 percent natural hardwood, unlike laminate which has a man-made surface material printed to look like real wood.

Engineered wood floors are made up of layers of composite wood that are glued and pressed together. Then a thin piece of solid hardwood is layered on top of the composite boards. This allows for the beauty and durability of hardwood, with some other advantages.

Engineered hardwood does not expand and contract the way that solid wood floors do, so it can be installed on top of concrete, such as in basements and below-grade rooms. Engineered floors can also be less expensive than solid hardwoods in the same variety because they use less of the actual solid wood. One con of this type of flooring is that it cannot be refinished too many times.

To see examples of what engineered hardwood floors look like, visit our projects page. There you will find many photos of how this type of flooring looks in both residential and commercial spaces.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood floors have been in use for hundreds of years and are still the flooring of choice for many people. As the name implies, solid hardwood flooring is made up of 100 percent solid wood planks. These are generally glued or nailed to a wooden subfloor. Because wood expands and contracts in response to moisture and temperature changes, solid floors should not be installed over concrete (which allows more moisture to come in contact with the floor) or in below-grade rooms.

Wood flooring is also a poor choice for bathrooms and washrooms where heavy moisture is present. One of the biggest advantages to solid flooring is that it can be sanded down and refinished many times. If well-taken care of, a wood floor can last much longer than the owners who install it and still have the potential to look new and beautiful.

Comments 4

  • Aazoay BoniJune 22, 2019 at 12:57 am

    You should also vacuum your hardwood floor every week if you don’t want grit and dust to wear through your wood floor.

    • Laura WestJune 24, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      Yes, that is very true. Just make sure to have the rotating brush turned off when using upright vacuums. Otherwise, the bristles may cause scratches.

      Products like Swiffer are great for picking up dust and pet hair in between vacuuming sessions. The dry cloths are the safest, but according to the manufacturer, the wet cloths can also be used in certain cases. I would read those instructions very carefully, though, as not all hardwood flooring works well with the cleanser they use.

  • Trisha StinsonJuly 24, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you for this information, I am planning to install hardwood flooring for my house from the kitchen to the dining. Is it ok to install hardwood to the kitchen area?

    • Laura WestJuly 25, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      Yes, many people install hardwood flooring in their kitchen. For the record, any floor made of wood can encounter problems with moisture. As long as you are careful about spills, you should be okay. Certain species of wood, as well as some top coats, can help prevent water from causing damage. You can check with one of our hardwood consultants to find out the best option for your particular project. Also keep in mind that certain cleaning and maintenance products should also be used to preserve the hardwood.

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