Which is better engineered or solid hardwood flooring?

Designer hardwood floors are a better choice in high humidity environments than solid wood, making them a better choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. However, for whole-home installations, both flooring options offer a wide range of style options.

Which is better engineered or solid hardwood flooring?

Designer hardwood floors are a better choice in high humidity environments than solid wood, making them a better choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. However, for whole-home installations, both flooring options offer a wide range of style options. Designer wood is usually less expensive until you enter premium collections, which are more comparable to solid wood floors. These can offer greater durability, have a thicker topcoat that allows for more sanding and finishing, or have unique designs.

If you're considering hardwood floors and wondering if solid wood or designer hardwood floors are best for you, you've come to the right place. The best place to start is to understand what is similar between the two categories. Primarily, that both solid wood and engineered floors are made of real hardwood. Both look beautiful installed, come in a variety of different styles and will last a lifetime if made of quality hardwood and cared for with love.

Both are equally easy to maintain and get along well. A good quality design will cost the same, if not a little more, than solid wood. Both solid wood and designer wood are available unfinished so you can truly customize your floors. Illustration showing a single piece of solid wood with a top wear layer.

As the name suggests, solid wood floors are made of solid wood planks. While solid wood floors used to be mostly finished on site, where wood is delivered unfinished on site, then installed, sanded and finished on site, it is now increasingly pre-terminated on the manufacturing floor, making installation easier and less messy in the home. Note that you have more options with a finished floor on site (for example,. You'll never find solid wood installed as a floating floor.

Rather, the boards are nailed or stapled. Any solid wood of 5 or more will have to be glued and nailed, increasing labor costs. Water is the enemy of solid wood. For that reason, you'll never find it installed underground, in basements, or anywhere you can expect moisture.

Rather, you'll find it in rooms and corridors above the floor, in living rooms and bedrooms. What differentiates solid wood most from engineered hardwood floors is that solid wood can be sanded and refinished several times during its lifespan. Illustration showing several layers of designer wood Engineered floors combine several layers of wood into a single board. In quality engineered floors, the top layer consists of cut or sawn hardwood veneer that looks like solid wood; in lower quality products, the top layer consists of rotary cut veneer that has a more plywood appearance.

Most engineered hardwood will be factory finished, where you will receive several coats of highly durable finish (matt, gloss and semi-gloss). You can even opt for surface effects such as hand scraping, scuffing, or wire brushing. When it comes to installation, you have more options available than with solid wood. Engineered wood of any width can be stapled and nailed, as well as glued or even floated.

The biggest difference between solid wood and engineered wood has to do with sanding and finishing; engineered wood can be sanded, but only once or twice slightly before the top veneer layer wears out. Depending on the quality of the engineered wood you select, the top layer may be thicker or thinner, which determines how much you can refinish. Let's recap what you need to consider if you decide between solid wood floors and engineered wood floors. If you're looking for a floor that can be sanded and repainted many times (and lasts 50 to 100 years), you'll want to select a solid wood floor or design floor with a thick wear layer rather than a thinner one that you can only sand and polish once or twice before needing to replace it.

For insight, see All About Wear Layers in Engineered Floors. See also our Hardwood Floor Finishing Guide. Designer wood is best suited for installation in basements (below ground level), areas that are subject to high humidity or dryness (e.g. Solid wood can be installed on concrete, but not without substantial work in the subfloor.

When it comes to dimensional stability, your best bet is engineered wood, as cross-grain layered construction means the floor can better withstand expansion and contraction from varying temperature and humidity. For a designer hardwood floor, that's a little more challenging, as it can be difficult to match the exact look of existing floor color and wood grain. For larger repairs, solid wood and engineering will have a similar difficulty because the gloss will always be different. The exception is for an oil finished floor, which can be sanded and mixed without problems.

From an environmental perspective, hardwood flooring manufacturers pride themselves on being responsible managers. For that reason, they create floors in both solid and engineered formats. This slide captures some of those dynamics. A piece of high-quality wood can become a single piece of solid wood or the wear layer of several pieces of designer flooring.

And while it has a more sandable surface in solid wood, which provides a longer product life, engineered hardwood uses other wood by-products below the top layer of high-quality wood. Although it is not directly related to the evaluation of solid wood versus. Designer wood, I want to mention subfloors and the importance of preparing them properly before installing any type of hardwood. Subfloors are the surfaces below the final floor.

It can be concrete, plywood, or other floor surface. In either case, it's essential to make sure the subfloor is smooth and level and that it doesn't have moisture issues, so there are no flaws or other unexpected surprises affecting your hardwood floors. This is something we will discuss with you. When you visit one of our two showrooms in Middletown or Orange, you'll be able to explore samples of engineered and solid wood products.

And we can go deeper into what you're trying to achieve. We hope to help you. I went to the store to buy some materials. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

They helped me locate materials and choose what would work best for me. They answered questions and made me come and go quickly, as I was in a bit of a hurry. They had a wide selection of products that made it a great shopping experience. It's fake wood, right? No, engineered wood floors aren't faux wood per se.

In fact, it's made of 100 percent wood, but it's not homogeneous. It consists of thin layers of hardwood on a cross plywood base. Designer wood is significantly cheaper than solid wood and can quickly adhere to another wooden surface, a concrete floor, or a sound-absorbing mat. In addition, it is easy to install over radiant heat, therefore, less expansion and contraction.

Engineered wood is less sensitive to moisture than solid wood, due to layered construction, and installs better on concrete subfloor than solid wood. Many of my clients ask me if solid wood or designer wood floors are better and which are less expensive. While designer floors can be a good choice for basements or on concrete slabs, solid wood is the most durable, durable and historically appropriate option for any space in an older home. There is no particular winner here, unless you have a particular preference for narrower planks (in which case, solid wood will be preferable for you) or wider boards (in which case designer hardwood floors will be a better option).

For the record, this is where it really pays to have a hardwood flooring professional come to your house so that they can better advise you and give you a recommendation and price appropriate to your particular circumstances. Both solid wood and designer wood are premium flooring materials that add good real estate value to your home. How long will it last? Solid wood floors can last 100 years or more and rarely need to be replaced. The durability of solid wood depends mainly on the species of the product and the level of protective finish.

While there are many flooring products that work well for bathrooms, traditional hardwood and engineered floors aren't the best choice for those flooded rooms. Engineered floors can have as few as three layers or up to 12. The more layers, the better the quality of the floor. Engineered wood can be refinished once, or at most twice, before the hardwood layer runs out. Reclaimed solid wood floors, like this example from Authentic Wood Floors, come with the patina of age.

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Johnathan Updyke
Johnathan Updyke

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