Solid Wood vs Engineered Hardwood Flooring – Which is Right for You?
Both solid and engineered hardwood flooring are excellent options for homeowners, come in a variety of styles, and will last a lifetime if taken proper care of. However, each has its own benefits and drawbacks, which you must be aware of when planning for floor installation.
As the name suggests, solid wood flooring is created with solid wood throughout its thickness, usual pieces like oak, walnut, or maple. The major advantage is that it can be sanded and refinished many times throughout its lifespan. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring is made from a relatively thin layer of hardwood combined with plywood, considered an economical alternative to traditional solid hardwood floor installation.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between solid wood and engineered hardwood flooring.
Comparison – Solid Wood Flooring vs. Engineered Wood Flooring
Solid wood floors come in long planks, typically created with hardwood species. It is usually used for the subfloor, but the process may require a skilled workforce. Because of its solid wood nature, it can be maintained and refinished several times.
On the other side, engineered hardwood floors look quite similar to solid wood, but their construction features a slightly thin layer of hardwood bonded over high-quality plywood, giving your floors outstanding stability and durability. This can last for around 25 to 30 years, is considered to be low-cost than solid wood, and is more manageable for installers.
Solid wood flooring has tight seams between boards and you will find plenty of color options. It is available in pre-finished and unfinished boards, so pick whatever suits your space. Whereas, engineered hardwood flooring has beveled edges and is always sold pre-finished, plus a narrow variety of colors and species available.
Engineered hardwood flooring is slightly less costly than solid hardwood. The edge of cost might go to engineered hardwood flooring, but if you see the lifespan of both, you may not see a huge difference. For both types of flooring, installation and labor cost will add, depending on labor costs in your area and the complexity of your room layout.
Solid hardwood usually lasts for 30 years to 100 years, as it can be sanded down and refinished many times while engineered hardwood has a decent lifespan of about 20 to 30 years.
Comfort and Sound
Solid wood carries better acoustic properties than engineered hardwood. Its density absorbs echo while its hardness distributes sound uniformly around the room. Hardwood floors are glued to keep them stable, so when installed, they will creak and squeak until the board settles.
Engineered hardwood floors are snapped over an existing floor with no adhesives holding them down. They are likely to have reverberation or clicking sounds, making walking on a floor a noisy experience for a while. It has a resilient surface and if you spend a little extra, you can have acoustic underlay placed under the floor.
Water and Heat Resistance
Both types of flooring have good resistance to heat. Solid hardwood isn’t recommended to install against concrete slabs since humidity can cause the floor to swell and warp. On the contrary, engineered hardwood performs much better in humid conditions since plywood construction increases its stability and makes it less vulnerable to warping. If installation against a concrete subfloor is required, engineered hardwood is a viable choice.
In appearance, solid wood flooring may not be noticeable, but real estate agents and potential homebuyers may incline towards it for its great longevity. Engineered hardwood floors can never be a turn-off to prospective buyers, although they may know that these floors have a shorter lifespan.
Solid hardwood may hold a prestigious spot for many people and continues to be a top choice among professionals for adding greater durability and value. However, the low-cost and easier installation of engineered wood flooring gives it an advantage over others. Ultimately, your choice depends on how much you value metrics of each and whichever reflects your style better.