Elements Cuts of Wood

Hardwood Floor & Surface Production Elements

Construction & Dimensions

Hardwood Floor & Surface Production Elements

Construction & Dimensions


engineered or solid

There was once a time when people believed that engineered hardwood floors could never be as good as solid hardwood floors. As technology improved and people became more environmentally conscious, engineered hardwood started to take over the flooring market.

Both forms of flooring have pros and cons. With the help from one of our hardwood consultants, you can decide together what the best option for your project will be.



Engineered hardwood is made up of several elements. At the top, you have a layer of the actual hardwood species. Below that can be one or more layers of plywood to add to the depth of the plank, creating strength and durability, allowing for wider planks.

Solid hardwood is simply one piece of wood cut from your selected species.


Humidity & Moisture

For areas that tend to be more prone to moisture, such as basements or below-grade spaces, engineered floors are the better choice. Granted, it is still important to keep humidity and dampness to a minimum. However, engineered hardwood can handle these elements better than solid hardwood can.



Plywood subfloors are needed for solid hardwood floors. If your house is built on a concrete slab, a subfloor will have to be added. This will increase the cost and height of your floor. Because of the increase in height, problems with doors opening and closing properly are common. There’s a good chance you will need your doors trimmed at the bottom. Or, in the case of metal doors, completely replaced. Engineered hardwood can be installed directly on top of concrete, saving time and money, as well as minimizing height.


Sanded & Refinished

Solid hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished many times. Engineered products can also be sanded and refinished, but depending on the depth of the top layer of wood, are limited in the amount of times this can be done.

Because of the natural variations of humidity in the air throughout the year, hardwood floors will expand and contract. With engineered floors, the layers are perpendicular, causing less expansion and contraction when compared to solid wood floors, allowing for a tighter fit.

Radiant heat should not be installed in combination with standard solid hardwood floors. The solid wood must be quarter sawn or rifted to use with heated floors. Usually these cut options are more expensive, though.


Widths, Thicknesses & Lengths

There once was a time when the standard width of the planks of wood were no more than 3” at most. Today, wide plank flooring has become very popular, with planks being at least 5” wide. These larger options are in demand because they add value to your home and elevate your design.



Engineered widths at WEST | WOOD are available in 5-½”, 6”, 7”, 8”, 9-½”, 10-¼” and 12” options with a Baltic birch core that contains between 8 and 11 plies. You can also purchase 11-½”, 13-½”, 15-½” or 17-¾” using balanced oak (oak top and bottom) with 8 plies. Solid widths can be 4-⅜”-8”, with custom widths available upon request.


Thickness & Engineered Wear Layer

Engineered thicknesses are available in ½”, ⅝” and ¾”, while solid thickness is usually only available in ¾”. The wear layer for engineered floors is available in 3mm, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm options based upon the material chosen.

Solid hardwood floors that are ¾” in thickness can usually be sanded and refinished between three and five times during the floor’s lifetime. When deciding on the thickness of engineered planks, the best thing to keep in mind is if you plan on refinishing the surface at some point. It is recommended to have at least a 4mm wear layer for this.



The longer the length of the planks of wood flooring you use, the more visual continuity you will have. This is especially true when it comes to wide plank flooring. The wider the plank, the shorter the length will appear. Shorter lengths will result in more butt-joints, creating a busier look. Longer lengths come from more mature trees, resulting in better quality and more durable wood surfaces.

Engineered lengths are available in 2’-8’, 2’-10’, 4’-8’, 4’-10’, 6’-10’ and 6’-14-½’, depending upon the material selected. Solid lengths can be found in 1’-7’, 1’-8’, 2’-8’, 2’-10’, 3’-10’, 3’-12’, 6’-10’, 6’-12’, with possible longer options.