The Difference Between Solid Hardwoods and Engineered Hardwoods

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While both solid and engineered hardwood floors offer the same timeless look and feeling of warmth, they do have their differences. Such differences include strength, structure, and more. Below we will explain just how these two types of floors differ from one another.



Structure

  • Engineered hardwood is made from three or more layers of high-density fiberboards or medium density fiberboards and a real hardwood veneer top layer.
  • Solid hardwood is made from 100% real hardwood.

Strength

  • Engineered hardwood is better suited for high-moisture areas or where temperatures frequently change.
  • Solid hardwood has good overall strength, but the degree of strength depends on the type of wood it's made from. Popular strong hardwoods include hickory, maple, and oak. For even harder woods you can look at Brazilian walnut, Tiete chestnut, and Brazilian teak.

Uniformity

  • Engineered hardwood is designed for optimal uniformity.
  • Solid hardwood will have varying degrees of uniformity as some grades allow for more knots than others.

Dimensional Stability

  • Engineered hardwood is more dimensionally stable through multi-ply design, allowing for greater resistance to temperature change.
  • Solid hardwood is prone to expanding, warping, and cupping when met with strong or swift changes in temperatures. Because of this, it's recommended that you not use solid hardwood to floor your basement.

Durability

  • Engineered hardwood is structured for enhanced stability, making it more resistant to everyday wear-and-tear.
  • Solid hardwood is still durable but is more prone to expansion and contraction issues.

Maintenance

Engineered hardwood requires less refinishing over time. A solid hardwood floor can be refinished 10 times on average before it needs to be replaced.

Cost

The price of solid hardwood will depend on the wood species you go with. Engineered hardwood will likely be slightly more expensive than common solid hardwoods, but less expensive than more exotic or highly-coveted hardwoods.

Be sure to weigh all of these factors before choosing the type of hardwood you want. Regardless of which one you go with, you can rest assure that either one will look great.

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