While we can all agree that the upgrade to hardwood floors from any of the other floor coverings is amazing, not all types of hardwoods are created equal. Of course you have your laminate floor coverings, which are great and easy to install, but they're more for basements and water susceptible areas, although to the untrained eye, many of these look and feel just like wood floors. Then you have your two main types of hardwood floors: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Both have their specific benefits, but is one really better than the other? Let's talk about it.
The Eye Test
Upon inspecting the two types floors, engineered vs solid hardwood, you're not going to be able to tell much of a difference. That is, unless you are a hardwood flooring expert. Even then, you may find it extremely difficult to tell between the two. The top layer of engineered hardwood is virtually the same grain and texture as that of the solid hardwood. Though the solid hardwood is the same piece of wood all the way to the subfloor, you can't tell that the engineered variety has either plywood or manufactured particle wood beneath it. Advantage: Neither
The Walking and Texture Test
While walking on most floors feels practically the same, there is a certain warmth and luster you feel when walking on natural hardwoods. Can the difference between manufactured hardwoods and solid hardwoods be felt here? That is highly unlikely. One of the only differences when these two types of floors are installed is the spacing. Spacing, you ask? Well, when solid hardwoods are laid in your home, the installers leave a little bit of space for the wood to expand and contract with the temperatures. Those gaps are left around the edges and generally covered with quarter rounds or trim, as to not be detectable. Engineered wood floors tend not to shrink and expand quite as much so there's not really too much extra space to be seen or felt. So unless you're extra sensitive to seismic activity, you won't feel a difference. Advantage: Both
The Durability Test
You want your floors to be beautiful and durable. If humidity is high in your house, or in an area you are install new hardwoods, engineered wood floors may be right for you. The way these resilient floors are manufactured, they're ready for any kind of normal indoor elements that may be thrown their way. Solid wood floors are a tremendously durable option for your home, though they don't tend to handle moisture and relative humidity and temperature changes well. If your home is typically dry, solid hardwoods are a great source of durability and aesthetic appeal for you. But if, like us, you have seasons, then engineered hardwoods are probably more up your alley. (Slight) Advantage: Engineered Hardwoods
Either would probably make a great addition to your home. But do your homework and learn just a little and you'll choose the right hardwood flooring option for you!