Solid Hardwood Floors vs. Engineered Wood Explained


If you are looking to get hardwood flooring installed in your home, you may be surprised when the salesman asks you whether you would like solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring. Many people may not have heard these terms before and may be uncertain of what benefits each will provide.

Before speaking to a salesman, it may be best to take some time to familiarize yourself with the difference between the two and decide which you may prefer. This article will take a look at these two types of flooring to help you determine which choice would be right for you.


Solid Hardwood Flooring: Solid wood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a clear, thin protective layer that can consist of aluminum oxide, ceramic or another acrylic substance. It is typically ¾” thick allowing it to be sanded and refinished many times while the flooring is installed.

Because of the nature of the wood, it can expand and contract with the humidity in the home. To prevent warping, humidity should remain between 45% and 65% year round.

Solid wood is available in a number of wood species including maple, black walnut, oak, pecan and mesquite as well as exotic choices with species native to Brazil and Africa.

Solid hardwood flooring is nailed to the subfloor. Due to expansion and contraction, installers will leave a gap between the wall and floor to accommodate swelling. It should only be installed over plywood, wood or oriented strand board (OSB) subfloors.

Featuring our Engineered Harwood Product from our Nouveau Collection:   NVWA-05 | ANTIQUE COPPER | WALNUT

Featuring our Engineered Harwood Product from our Nouveau Collection: NVWA-05 | ANTIQUE COPPER | WALNUT

Engineered Wood: Engineered wood is still real hardwood flooring, it’s just manufactured differently. It features multiple layers of wood (typically 3-5) bonded together under extreme heat and pressure. The layers include a top veneer of hardwood backed by additional layers of plywood.

Because of the way engineered wood is made, it is not as affected by the humidity as the solid wood flooring. Therefore, it is a preferred choice for bathrooms, kitchens, basements and other parts of the house where humidity levels can get high. They are also better suited for installing over i-floor heating systems and can be installed on all levels of the home over plywood, wood, OSB and concrete floors.

Which is Right For You?

Ultimately, the choice you make as far as what type of flooring you would like in your home is up to you. The location of the flooring will definitely be a factor as engineered wood flooring will work better in places with high humidity and will work with a wide variety of sub-flooring options. Hopefully this article has provided you with valuable information on the different types of hardwood floorings available for your home. Which on will you choose?