Solid wood flooring can be easily identified as being made from solid wood from the top down. It is made most commonly from hardwood species like oak, maple, and walnut. The best thing about solid wood flooring is its ability to be sanded, refinished, and renewed many times throughout its life. Although engineered wood flooring may look very similar from the surface, there are many differences.
Engineered wood is made of a thinner layer of hardwood, which is bonded to a substrate of high quality plywood. Although Engineered flooring is more affordable than solid hardwood, most types cannot be sanded or refinished more than once due to their thin surface layer. Both materials offer advantages, but refinishing capabilities aside, the choice of material will depend on how important you are to each.
Solid wood flooring is usually made from hardwood species. It comes in long planks with tongues and grooves at opposite ends. The planks are interlocked and then nailed to the subfloor. Solid wood can be sanded and refinished many times throughout its life.
Engineered wood flooring can be difficult to identify by its appearance, as it has a thin layer of hardwood. This layer is bonded to a plywood layer of premium quality that provides a stable base layer. An engineered wood floor of good quality can last between 25 and 30 years. It is cheaper and easier to install than solid wood, but it cannot be refinished as often as solid wood.
The width of solid hardwood flooring boards is usually narrower than that of engineered wood planks. While engineered planks can have slight grooves between boards due to beveled edges, solid wood has tighter seams. There are more species and colors available than in engineered planks. Pre-finished or unfinished solid hardwood boards are available. Pre-finished hardwood flooring is almost always available in pre-finished form. There are fewer species and colors than solid hardwood.
Both floors are heat resistant, but they are not recommended for areas that are very wet like bathrooms. Installing solid hardwood directly on concrete slabs is not recommended. The concrete’s humidity can cause planks to swell or warp. Engineered hardwood is more resilient to humidity because its plywood construction makes it less susceptible to warping. Engineered wood is a better choice if installation is not possible against concrete subfloors.
Both types of flooring require minimal maintenance. All you have to do is sweep and clean with a wood cleaner. However, you should not use water or steam to clean wood floors.
Install solid hardwood flooring with a tongue and groove system. Each board is blind-nailed to subfloor through tongues at edges. This same nail-down method is used for engineered wood flooring. However, click-lock edges which can be installed as floating floors are very popular. Engineered wood is often easier to install than the other.
Because it can be sanded and refinished multiple times, solid hardwood can last between 30 and 100 years. Even though engineered hardwood can’t always be refinished, it still has the potential to last between 20 and 30 years.
Standard hardwood planks measure 3/4 inch thick and 2 1/4 inches wide. They are available in lengths from 12 to 84. Solid hardwood flooring can be ordered in other sizes, but they are rarely wider than 4 inches. Engineered hardwood boards tend to be thinner with boards ranging from 3/8-to 9/16 inches thick. Engineered wood boards are often sold in larger boards up to 7 inches. The lengths of the boards typically range from 12-60 inches.
Although solid hardwood flooring looks the same as engineered hardwood flooring, home buyers and real estate agents often prefer solid hardwood floors for their longer-lasting durability. Although engineered hardwood flooring is not likely to be a problem for prospective buyers, they might recognize the shorter lifespan of these floors and adjust their offers accordingly.
Engineered hardwood flooring used to be considered inferior to solid hardwood. However, improvements in manufacturing technology have made this perception obsolete. While solid hardwood might have a slight edge over engineered wood flooring in terms of prestige, it is much more affordable and easy to install than the latter. Engineered wood also uses less hardwood which is appealing to eco-conscious consumers. Both products can be used in a variety of ways. Both will provide years of comfort, warmth and value for your home.