Hardwood Floors, Solid or Engineered?

Hardwood Portland Oregon

Hardwood Floors have been around for many years and still remain a popular choice among homeowners today.  Natural Hardwood Floors are durable, easy to care for and add beauty and style to any room in your home. Solid and Engineered are the two main ways hardwood floors are manufactured today.   Solid hardwood floors are generally a 3/4″ thick solid tongue and groove flooring that comes in multiple widths.  Engineered, on the other hand, consists of a natural hardwood veneer that is manufactured over several layers of the wood core.  This is a tongue and groove product as well that comes in numerous thicknesses and widths. It is important to know the differences between the solid and engineered floors so that you can make the best choice for you when it comes time to select your hardwood floor.

Both solid and engineered floors have the capability of sanding and refinishing the product down the road.  While solid floors can be refinished multiple times, the thickness of the wood veneer on an engineered floor determines how many times it can be refinished.  However, many times this isn’t much of a concern because each of these floor types can be re-screened (which is a very light sanding and touch up) numerous times.  You generally only need to completely sand and refinish a floor if you want to change the color or if it is extremely damaged.

Hardwood Flooring Maintenance

From a maintenance standpoint, hardwood is hardwood and both solid and engineered wood floors are maintained the same way.  Sweeping or vacuuming is best and if you need to do spot cleaning, spray a light mist of cleaner over the floor and wipe up with a clean towel or a dry mop such as a swifter.  Since we are dealing with a product that is susceptible to water damage, it’s important to use as little moisture as possible while cleaning.

Engineered Hardwood Floor Versatility

Engineered hardwood floors are more versatile and can be used in a wider range of jobsite conditions.  Solid hardwood floors need to be installed above grade over a wood subfloor while engineered hardwood can be installed above or below grade and over wood or concrete subfloors.  You need to add a moisture barrier during the installation process for below grade and over concrete installations since these areas generally carry more moisture.

Hardwood floors expand and contract depending on temperature and/or humidity changes in the environment in which it is installed in.  Typically an engineered floor is going to be more stable due to the multiple layers of wood glued together during the manufacturing process.  This is the same reason why plywood is made up of multiple layers rather than one solid piece of wood.  The multiple layers add strength and stability. With a solid floor, you will typically see gaps as the wood shrinks in a dryer environment and you could see some peaking at the joints in wetter environments.  Engineered floors are not as susceptible to this due to it being more stable.

All other aspects of both types of manufacturing processes are equal.  They are both natural hardwood that is just manufactured differently.  Each has it’s own pro’s and con’s which we’ve described above.  Regardless of whether you go with a solid hardwood or engineered hardwood floor, you are sure to have a floor that will give you many years of enjoyment.