If you are starting a new hardwood project, you have probably heard of solid and engineered wood. Floor Coverings International Indianapolis North is here to help you with some of your questions and hopefully get you a step closer to finishing your floors! Once installed, it takes an expert eye to tell if hardwood is solid or engineered, but the differences in structure and durability are important to consider.
How It’s Made
There is often a misconception that engineered hardwood is made of synthetic materials, but both styles are 100% wood. Solid hardwood is milled into planks from a single piece of wood. Engineered hardwood is constructed of multiple layers of lower-quality wood and a veneer layer of your desired species. The board is made by bonding three or more layers of various wood materials together under extreme heat and pressure. These other layers can be made of high intensity fiberboard, plywood, or unfinished white wood. All standard solid and engineered planks are 3/4″ thick, which means less of the hardwood you choose will be used in engineered planks. This can affect the durability, but also means that if you are choosing an exotic or rare species, you will have less of an impact on the ecosystem from which it is sourced.
Solid hardwood is a famously durable flooring option. Even though most species will stand up to everyday wear and tear, it is still important to add a protective finish to the boards to resist any superficial scratches, scuffs, or stains. The biggest benefit of hardwood is that it can be refinished and re-stained without losing its quality. If you acquire any damage, solid hardwood can be sanded as many as ten times and still maintain its structural integrity. While engineered hardwood will have the same surface layer and finish, it can only be refinished two or three times since the majority of the board is made of different woods. The durability of engineered hardwood will vary based on how many layers are underneath the veneer, but it likely won’t be as strong as a solid piece of hardwood.
Solid hardwood is sensitive to liquid and can be easily warped. Most rooms in your house will be safe for installation, but avoid bathrooms, laundry rooms, or below-grade rooms like basements. If you live in a particularly humid area, opt for engineered hardwood instead. It is not impervious and we still don’t recommend exposing it to excessive moisture, but its production process makes it more moisture resistant than solid hardwood.
Engineered hardwood isn’t dramatically less expensive than solid hardwood, but you will likely save money on the installation costs of engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood needs to be nailed down to a subfloor. Engineered hardwood can be nailed, glued, or “floated” above any subfloor type with click-and-lock plank technology. For this reason, engineered hardwood might be a better choice depending on where you want your flooring installed.
To learn more about installing solid or engineered hardwood in your home, contact your expert flooring team at Floor Coverings International North. We offer free in-home consultations and proudly serve Indianapolis, Brownsburg, and Avon and neighboring counties. Schedule a visit from our mobile showroom today!