Because these two options are normally mentioned in the same breath, it’s easy to see how someone might think of them as being the same, when in actuality, they’re not. Here we list 7 general differences between solid and engineered timber flooring:
Solid hardwood, like the name suggests, is a solid block of wood all around and is installed that way.
Engineered hardwood on the other hand are basically sandwiches of two or more layers of wood with a fine finished wood at the top and mostly high quality plywood on the bottom.
Solid hardwood’s durability is excellent and will last decades or more.
Due to the thinness of the surface, engineered hardwood can chip and delaminate if exposed to heavy amounts of stress, but other than that it is known to last pretty long too.
EXPOSURE TO MOISTURE
Solid hardwood doesn’t hold up very well in this category and as a result you can be a little limiting in as far as where you install it is concerned. It’s best installed in areas of your home in which moisture does not prevail (definitely not a bathroom option)
Engineered hardwood holds up a little better of moisture due to its plywood base which, due to its cross-wise layers, renders it a lot more stable and less prone to warping and flexing than solid hardwood, thus increasing the number of areas it can be installed in.
Solid hardwood is a champ in this category, due to the fact that it’s a solid block of wood, it can be sanded and refinished multiple times until it eventually becomes too thin and its structural integrity is compromised.
Engineered hardwood can only be lightly sanded and refinished once or twice before its upper layer wears off.
The hardness of solid hardwood is dependent on the species of wood used, therefore it comes in varying hardnesses, all from very soft to very hard.
Engineered hardwood is very rarely found with a soft wood top layer.
Most people would simply assume that engineered hardwood is cheaper to purchase and install than solid hardwood. Unfortunately, the difference in cost isn’t so clear cut. How much you’ll spend on each is dependent on plank sizes, the cost of lumber, cost and quality of the glues used to put together the engineered flooring layers.
There is also a huge misconception concerning the look and feel of engineered and solid hardwood flooring. The greater majority of people are of the belief that in order to get the look and feel of real wood, solid hardwood flooring is the only way to go. But most engineered floors have a top layer made of real that has the texture look and feel of solid wood floors. Both engineered and solid wood floors are available in a variety of stains and finishes which means there is no difference in this area.
The choice of which to purchase is really all up to you. Purists would most likely go for solid timber flooring as it presents a greater value with regards to long-term prospects, they’d just have to be okay with installing different types of flooring in some parts of the house, according to need. Engineered timber flooring would most likely appeal to those with a more practical attitude as it allows them to install it in more rooms than solid wood would allow.
Since the look and feel of solid and engineered hardwood is pretty much the same, the choice of which to purchase will least likely be based on personal preference but will take more practical considerations like cost and climatic factors into account.