Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood
Today, with so many different choices, the decision to purchase hardwood floors can be overwhelming. Many people know that they want real wood, but they don’t know how to proceed from there. Oftentimes, the decision comes down to Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood. This can be a tricky decision for even the most knowledgeable consumers.
What makes matters worse is that many sales associates and contractors will try and sell you solid hardwood floors, because they are generally more expensive to purchase and install. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them a better choice for you. Like any decision in life, there are pros and cons that need to be carefully considered.
For some people, engineered hardwood floors may well represent a better option. Here’s why:
The Case for Engineered Hardwood
Engineered Hardwood floors are made by gluing a top-layer or veneer of solid hardwood onto another layer of hardwood. This makes the floors less dense and therefore more resistant to elements like moisture and heat.
A common misconception about engineered hardwood floors is that they aren’t real. This is not true. Engineered hardwood floors are made from 100% genuine wood. They are called ‘engineered,’ because they are designed for performance.
While it is true that engineered hardwood floors can sometimes be cheaper than solid hardwood, this does not mean that they represent a worse choice. In fact, engineered hardwood floors generally require less maintenance, are easier to install, offer a wider array of choices to the consumer, and perform better than solid hardwood.
This performance-level mainly has to do with water. Solid hardwood is very responsive to moisture in the air. Changes in temperature and humidity cause solid hardwood floors to expand and contract with the seasons.
To help minimize this movement, manufacturers cut solid hardwood thin in width and thick in height. You don’t need to cut engineered hardwood this way because it can better accommodate changes in humidity and temperature. This means that planks of engineered hardwood can be cut much wider than solid hardwood, offering more choices to the consumer.
Engineered hardwood is also much easier to install than solid hardwood. Again, this has to do with moisture. The fact that solid hardwood changes its shape means that you can only be install it on certain types of surfaces and in a very specific way.
Generally speaking, only those with professional experience should consider installing solid hardwood themselves. If you are planning on remodelling your floors, and you lack professional experience, you should consider engineered hardwood.
With all the performance advantages that engineered hardwood offers, it might seem like the obvious choice. However, for some, solid hardwood is the only way to go. Here’s why:
The Case for Solid HardWood
Solid Hardwood represents a luxurious and traditional method of homemaking. This practice hearkens back to the days of the hand-crafted hardwood flooring that graced the halls of versailles and the palaces of Europe.
If you are looking for traditional flooring, there is no better option than solid hardwood; people have been using it for hundreds of years. Solid hardwood flooring has stood the test of time. If properly cared for, nothing beats its longevity.
Further, depending on where you live, moisture levels may not be an important consideration. If you live in an area with relatively stable humidity and temperature levels, you may not need to worry about your floors changing with the seasons.
Finally, there are some advantages to the thickness of solid hardwood floors. Namely, it gives you the ability to refinish your floors again and again. Sometimes, people sand their floors down in order to remove scuffs and scratches. After you sand the floor down, you can then refinish it with different stains. Because solid hardwood floors are thicker, you can sand and re-stain them multiple times. Usually, you can only re-finish engineered hardwood floors one or two times.
If you plan on redecorating often, and want to change the color of your floor without completely replacing it, then solid hardwood may be the better option for you.
Overall, the decision between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood mainly comes down to personal preference. However, certain factors should affect your decision making process. These include: humidity, temperature, the type of subfloor you are installing on, and whether or not redoing your floor is a DIY project, or a project for a professional contractor.