Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
One of the most important first steps in choosing a hardwood floor for your home is to determine whether you need solid hardwood vs. engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood flooring has traditionally been the most popular and is used in installations over wood subfloors and in regions with relatively stable atmospheric moisture content.
Solid hardwood is typically ¾” thick and recommended to be stapled or nailed down, although some thinner solid hardwood flooring on the market today boasts that they can also be glued directly to the subfloor or concrete slab.
Engineered Hardwood is More Versatile
Engineered hardwood is manufactured by fusing a layer of real wood to cross layers of plywood, typically made from Birch or Pine. The top layer of wood is referred to as the wear layer. Wear Layers range in thickness from .6mm to 6mm. A thicker wear layer allows the floor to be refinished multiple times, and the flooring itself lasts longer.
The cross layers under the wear layer help make engineered hardwood flooring more stable. Also, engineered hardwood flooring is available in many different thicknesses, generally from ⅜” to ¾” thick. Some flooring installations have height limits, and choosing a floor of a particular thickness may help better match the height of an existing adjoining floor. Or a thinner floor may have to be used in a kitchen so as not to hinder appliances from fitting under existing cabinets.
Install it in Virtually any Room of Your Home
Engineered hardwood is an especially convenient option when homeowners want to put hardwood flooring over concrete subfloors or over subfloors with radiant heating systems. The cross layer construction of engineered hardwood flooring minimizes expansion and contraction, enabling it to handle moisture and temperature changes better than solid hardwood.
- Can be installed on, below or above ground level.
- In addition to stapling or nailing, engineered planks may be “floated” or glued down.
- Click-Lock engineered options give some homeowners the option of installing themselves.
Furthermore, engineered is a great choice to use in a summer home where the heat is turned down in the winter when no one is there. Solid hardwood flooring can typically be installed only above or at ground level, and expands and contracts freely with changes in temperature and moisture.
Engineered Hardwood offers more installation options than typical ¾” solid hardwood flooring. In addition to being able to staple or nail engineered hardwood, you may glue down or “float” the engineered planks.
For more detail on installation options for a particular engineered hardwood floor, it is always recommended to read the manufacturers’ instructions and talk to a professional flooring specialist.
Engineered Hardwood is More Environmentally Friendly
For every 1 square foot of ¾” solid hardwood flooring manufactured, approximately four times that amount can be manufactured into engineered hardwood flooring. This is because engineered hardwood flooring does not waste valuable prized wood below the wear level, and using less prized wood conserves our forests.
In Summary, Engineered Hardwood Flooring:
- More versatile, allowing you to choose the thickness of the wear layer, as well as the thickness of the floor.
- Can be installed in any room of the home, at any grade level (above, below, or ground level), and over concrete or existing vinyl flooring.
- Handles moisture better than solid hardwood, due to its Cross-Layering construction that minimizes expansion and contraction.
- Offers multiple Installation options: Staples, Nails, Glue, or “Floating”, and “Click-Lock” technology developed for easy homeowner installation.
- More environmentally friendly.
High quality engineered hardwood looks and feels the same as solid hardwood flooring, and has the same resale value if you decide to sell your home. For additional information or any questions you may have, contact the St. Louis hardwood flooring specialists at Just Around the Corner. From start to finish, they will be happy to walk you through the entire process.