Archive for the Hardwood Category

Solid vs Engineered Wood Flooring

Posted in Hardwood, Laminate on August 9, 2012 by admin

Some of us come from the old school  days and believe that  when someone said wood flooring that meant solid wood not engineered floors because those were a cheap substitution for the real thing! But not anymore some believe that engineered wood flooring is the better choice. Here are a few comparisons of cost,quality & performance, environmental issues, and some myths and reality to help you make the right choice for you and your home.


The single greatest cost benefit of engineered wood flooring over solid is the costs saved when installing over concrete.

Solid wood requires a plywood sub-floor, vapor barrier, felt paper, and sanding, finishing for unfinished hard wood.

Engineered is easier, cleaner  and faster to install and transitions to other types of flooring are usually much easier to preform because engineered wood flooring is glued down or floated.

Quality and Performance

People generally assume that solid 3/4″  wood flooring is better quality because it is thicker than engineered flooring. In solid wood flooring, all the material below the tongue and groove is not actually usable material. Total re-sanding is typically only done  once every 10 years, and if it is maintained properly and then re-coated every 4-5 years, it will never have to be sanded and refinished.

In engineered flooring, the valuable high quality wood is not wasted below the tongue and groove.  Engineered wood is about 5 times as stable as solid wood.  This is because engineered flooring is multiple layers are glued up and engineered to balance the natural process of expansion and contracted that all wood products under go.

Most failures of wood flooring installations are due to wood expansion in reaction to high moisture condition, or shrinkage when ambient moisture drops. Engineered wood moves less and hence is much less prone to failure due to moisture.

Remember you walk on the finish of the wood not the actual wood.


Environmental Issues

Solid flooring must be nailed down, usually to plywood.   Engineered flooring can be installed by gluing directly to or floating over concrete and other sub-floor surfaces. Eliminate all plywood sub-floors, and you save a lot of trees, eliminate energy used and pollution produced in manufacturing and transportation.