When deciding whether to choose solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring, the similarities and differences between the options are important to consider. While the cost is often compatible, each type of flooring has unique advantages and disadvantages. Keep these factors in mind when you’re making your decision:
What to Know
Hardwood flooring is typically made from 3/4-inch thick pieces of solid wood, such as maple or oak, while engineered wood is made from layers of wood that are pressure treated to withstand wear and tear. Both types of flooring are covered in a coating of clear vinyl or another protective substance to reduce damage and allow for easy cleaning.
Hardwood flooring requires a humidity level between 45 and 65 percent, making the wood unsuitable for bathrooms, basements and other areas that are subject to high humidity levels. When exposed to high humidity, hardwood may warp. Engineered flooring maintains its integrity even in high humidity, and can be installed in homes without central heating or cooling units.
Hardwood flooring is typically nailed down to a sub-floor, while engineered wood flooring is installed using a floating method. Floating installation does not require gluing or nailing the flooring to the sub-floor. Because real wood expands and contracts in response to the temperature and humidity levels in the home, a small gap is left between the wall and hardwood flooring.
Engineered wood can be installed in kitchens, bathrooms and rooms below ground level. Additionally, engineered flooring is often the best choice when the home has in-floor heating, as engineered wood doesn’t expand and contact in response to temperature changes.
Which Option is Right for Me?
Solid hardwood flooring can be customized to fit your personal tastes and this is one of its main selling points. For instance, you can choose the type of wood to install, and you have the option of staining the wood to fit your decor. There are multiple opportunities to customize the look and make it unique to your preferences. Engineered wood is ready to install from the factory, and cannot be customized to fit your personal preferences. When choosing the right option for your home, consider the environment, such as the humidity levels, the ease of installation and the ability to customize the flooring. Choosing between solid vs engineered wood floors can appear like a difficult decision, but remember that selecting the look of your new wood floors is suppose to be a fun process. Don’t agonize over the details and enjoy the process!