Many times we have shoppers come into our store asking for hardwood. We usually respond with “solid or engineered?” Shoppers are usually surprised when we ask because they were not aware there were two different types of wood. Let’s look into the two different types of wood and see which type of hardwood would be best for you.
What is solid hardwood?
Solid hardwood is as literal as it could sound. It is 100% hardwood with each plank as a single solid piece. It is installed through nails or staples. Unlike engineered hardwood, it cannot be installed on a floating basis. By floating basis, we mean it cannot be on top of another floor. The other flooring would have to be removed in order to install solid hardwood. It is best for living areas, bedrooms, hallways and dining rooms. You want to avoid solid hardwood in your kitchen and bathrooms because the water and moisture can cause the planks’ shape to change. It is also one of the most durable types of flooring because it can be sanded and refinished multiple times before it shows signs of wear.
What is engineered hardwood?
As opposed to solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is layers of hardwood as opposed to solid planks. In other words, it is a layered product made of thin slices of hardwood on top of a base of high-quality plywood. Since it is not solid hardwood throughout, it will usually be cheaper. However, you can still market it as hardwood floors when you sell your home because it is still considered hardwood. Your value may not be as high if you had solid hardwood, but it would still provide a high ROI nonetheless. Installation for engineered is easier than solid hardwood. For engineered hardwood, you can install by stapling, nailing click or glue. The most important difference is that you can install floating. This will also reduce costs because you do not have to pay to have your other floors taken out. You can put engineered hardwood in practically any room of the house. While it may not be the best in the bathroom, you can put engineered hardwood in the kitchen because it holds up better against moisture in comparison to solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood can hold up better against moisture because the plywood runs in cross-wide layers whereas the parallel fibers in solid wood are not as stable. The only disadvantage of engineered hardwood in comparison to solid hardwood would be its durability. Engineered hardwood is not as durable as solid hardwood. Therefore, you cannot refinish engineered hardwood more than a few times before it starts to show signs of wear.
Should you buy engineered or solid hardwood?
This answer will vary on what your needs are.
If you want something affordable:
Go with engineered hardwood. It is significantly cheaper than solid hardwood. You will also have to purchase additional flooring if you go with solid because it cannot go in bathrooms or the kitchen.
If you want something durable:
Go with solid hardwood. Solid will always last longer than engineered hardwood. It can also be refinished multiple times without showing signs of wear and tear.
If you want flooring that can be easily installed:
Go with engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood has many different methods of installation and can also be floating. Floating installation means the floor can be put on top of another floor without having to remove the other.
If you want better acoustics:
We will be posting another blog soon on which floors are better for acoustics. In this case, you should go with solid hardwood. Since solid is well, solid, it is going to sound solid when you walk on it. To sound solid means it will not make as much noise when you walk across the floor. Engineered can usually sound more hollow which means it will be noisier.
If you want more style options:
As engineered hardwood becomes more popular, there are more styles available. Engineered offers more wood types than solid wood and usually different colors, stains and distressed looks. If you desire the distressed wood look, you will normally pay a higher price regardless if it is solid or engineered hardwood.
If you’d like more information on engineered or solid hardwood flooring, you can call us at 706-750-0028, message our Facebook page (use the button on the site to reach out to us directly) or go to the contact us page and you can schedule a time for us to call or email you! We look forward to helping you with your next flooring project.