This is the fourth and final part of our series on “how to choose hardwood flooring.” We’ve talked about wood type and we’ve gone in-depth into wood grain. And just last week, we talked about pre-finished vs. site-finished wood flooring.

Those are all fundamental factors to think about when choosing hardwood flooring, but they aren’t the only factors to consider. Today, in the final part of our ultimate “how to” series, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of solid vs. engineered wood floors.



Solid vs. engineered wood



You can figure out what solid wood refers to pretty easily. To get technical, solid hardwood flooring is your choice of wood cut directly from a log.

Engineered wood floors, on the other hand, have a thinner layer of your chosen wood type on top of a manufactured base of layered wood. This layered wood is often plywood.



Benefits of engineered wood



The idea of a thin layer of the wood you actually want pressed on top of a thick layer of plywood doesn’t appeal to most home owners right away. Engineered wood does, however, come with mayor advantages, such as:


  1. Engineered wood floors are actually more dimensionally stable (since they’re engineered), meaning they expand and contract less
  2. Engineered wood is usually the go-to choice for basements since it expands and shrinks less, too
  3. Engineered wood is also popular in homes with concrete subfloors since it can be glued directly to the concrete slab
  4. Engineered wood isn’t as tall as solid wood, meaning you expand the distance from the floor to the ceiling by about an inch

Though it has its perks, engineered wood still isn’t without its disadvantages. In dry parts of the country, for instance, solid hardwood floors tend to perform better. With low humidity, engineered wood can even start to suffer cracks in its thin top-wood surface.

Most importantly, due to the thickness of the top layer of engineered wood flooring, engineered wood usually only allows for a sanding and refinishing once or twice, if at all.



Benefits of solid wood planks



Solid hardwood planks have their benefits, too. For one, what was your reaction when you read the description of engineered wood? The idea of solid wood sounds more luxurious, more real, more desirable right off the bat. Other benefits include:


  1. The biggest measurable benefit to solid wood planks is that you can sand and refinish it at least a half dozen times over many decades. Hardwood floors can even last 100 years or more.
  2. Solid hardwood planks are also better for dry climates than engineered wood, which tends to crack in areas with 30% humidity or less.

Valor Home Services is your local expert in the installation and refinishing of hardwood floors. Belleville and surrounding towns have all been part our service area for over 20 years, and we continue to be proud to serve this area. This four-part sequence on choosing a hardwood floor is just the start. If you have more questions, please reach out—we hope the next homeowner we can help will be you.