Engineered vs Solid Wood: Which Is Best For You?

engineered flooring, flooring, solid wood

While the typical cost of a hardwood floor can run anywhere from $2,492 to $6,742 on average, the entire room could run as much as $11,000 if you go for top-notch materials.

And with the typical American household spending about $14,000 a year in home improvements each year, your floor choices can eat up a lot of that budget.

Your floors are the pallette on which the whole room is painted, and just like painting, there is a vast array of styles to choose from.

Today, two of the most popular and stylish are solid hardwood and engineered flooring. These two types share some of the same characteristics but have some differences you may not know about.

In the following article, we’ll discuss the difference between these wood floors and when you may want to choose one over the other.

What’s the Difference?

Solid hardwood flooring is the same type of wood throughout the entire plank. Engineered hardwood flooring has a solid wood top layer but is a variety of wood throughout the plank’s thickness.

You may not notice the difference between the two floors after installation, but you’ll notice quite a change out of the box.

Solid hardwood floors seldom come finished. Instead, it comes cut with a tongue and groove and is sanded and finished once installed. This leads to the biggest plus of solid hardwood floors — its longevity. Because it is one solid piece of wood, you can sand them down and refinished it multiple times over its lifetime. You can even change the shade considerably during the refinishing process.

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Engineered floors have a base layer, a softwood core, a hardwood veneer, and a protective finish coat. These layers are what give engineered floors their strength and stability.

Since the product is layered, it rarely warps or cracks and is perfect in areas where moisture can impact flooring. Of course, it won’t be impervious to constant water like tile, but it will stand up extremely well.

However, you can’t refinish engineered flooring as often as solid hardwood. The manufacture will specify how many times you can refinish the product, if at all.

In general, expect a solid hardwood floor to last 80 to 100 years. In comparison, you can get about 50 years out of a well-maintained engineered floor. As you probably know, both those time periods are exceptionally long lifetimes for anything related to home repairs.

Your typical bathroom may seem outdated in just over 10 years.

Appearance of Floor Choices

While, in general, solid hardwood floors are now manufactured in skinnier planks, the finished appearance of the products is similar. In addition, they both come in a variety of grades, colors, and timber species.

Oak, elm, ash, and walnut are perennially popular choices for hardwood floors. More exotic choices are wenge and Zebrano.

These floor materials can come in both modern and rustic styles and anything you can imagine in between

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And the best thing about their appearance is that both these hardwood products need little more than an occasional sweep and mop to keep them clean.

Solid vs. Engineered

In the end, you’ll need to weigh your own needs and personal preferences when it comes to deciding your floor choices. While solid hardwood can cost a few dollars more a square foot, its longevity is undisputed.

However, engineered hardwood floors have the right price and versatility in almost every home situation. If you are struggling to decide which to choose, contact a local home installer or interior designer for a consultation.

You’ll never go wrong with a second opinion.

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