Choosing between solid and engineered hardwood for your new floors can be a confusing process. Friends and family have probably told you several times that traditional solid wood is the best choice — but if that’s the case, why has engineered wood become so popular over the past few decades?
The reality is that neither choice is right or wrong. Solid hardwood remains a popular flooring choice because it stands the test of time. With care, solid hardwood floors become more stunning as they age. Unkempt hardwood flooring can always be sanded and refinished to look brand new. On the other hand, engineered hardwood isn’t without its merits. Engineered floors are virtually impervious to air moisture, making them a suitable flooring choice for more rooms in your home.
Let’s take a closer look at these two options to see which one works best for you.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Traditional hardwood flooring consists of solid planks, each made of one seamless piece of wood. The properties of solid hardwood flooring change depending on the wood type. For example, Hickory, Oak, Beech, and Walnut are dense and less prone to dents and scratches in comparison to softer woods like pine or cedar.
The installation of solid hardwood is a complex process that should always be performed by a professional. Planks must be nailed or stapled in place. Due to changing moisture content, solid hardwood will expand in the summer and contract in the winter. Planks must be spaced accordingly during installation — if they are placed too tightly, they will buckle in humidity. Placing the boards too loosely will cause gaps during the winter.
When properly installed, solid hardwood floors can last a lifetime. Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded down and refinished several times throughout its lifespan — homeowners can change the colouring to match their home design changes without wearing their floors out altogether. This quality makes hardwood flooring a highly coveted feature in the real estate market. Hardwood flooring has the highest estimated ROI of all flooring options.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood planks are made of several layers of plywood, and topped with a thin layer of finished hardwood. These layers are glued together with adhesives and bound under extreme pressure and heat. This method of construction gives engineered hardwood a few notable advantages.
Thanks to its layered construction, engineered hardwood flooring is not nearly as affected by humidity as its solid counterpart. Engineered planks do not expand or contract, and are resistant to warping. For these reasons, engineered hardwood is much easier to install. Under the right conditions, engineered hardwood can go right over concrete, making it a popular choice in condos.
Contrary to popular belief, engineered hardwood flooring is very durable. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can be used in areas of the home that typically have higher moisture content. You can even sand and refinish engineered flooring once or twice. However, it just doesn’t compete with traditional solid hardwood. The surface of an engineered wood plank is thin — overprocessing and inadequate care can cause it to wear out.
Which One Should You Choose?
It’s essential to keep in mind that neither type of wood flooring is water-resistant. Avoid using hardwood flooring in areas where the moisture levels are above 4% and clean spills quickly, no matter what kind of wood flooring you have. If water gets into your floorboards, it won’t matter whether you have solid or engineered wood — the result will be water damage and mould.
Still not sure which type of wood flooring is right for you? Call GenCorp Homes Inc. for a professional opinion. We can help you decide whether your property will benefit more from solid or engineered wood flooring. Once you’re confident in your choice, we’ll provide a professional install. Contact us today to get started.