If you ask people, “Which is better solid hardwood floors or engineered wood floors?” Most people would instantly respond that solid hardwood floors are the best and engineered floors are a poor second choice. This really is not true. They are both great products.
Let’s start with the similarities, both solid and engineered wood floors are:
- real wood
- available unfinished so you can stain and finish on site
- available prefinished (usually an aluminum oxide finish)
- available in different board widths and lengths
- will scratch and dent
- need special care
Solid hardwood floors are just that, solid wood cut from the tree species of your choice, traditionally ¾” thick. Most times it can be refinished more often than an engineered product. It is usually installed unfinished and the finish is applied on site. This way, the color and type of finish can be customized for your home. Solid wood floors are a good choice for ground level or above ground level with a wood, plywood or OSB subfloor. To install this at below ground level or on concrete or a gypcrete (radiant heat) floor, first a subfloor layer would have to put down of plywood, wood or OSB. This can create a height issues with the other floors in the house.
Engineered floors are a veneer (thinner piece of premium wood) over layers of other wood all glued and pressed together to make a ½” to ¾” product, which can be installed just like a solid. Sometimes the top piece of wood (the wear layer) is deep enough to be refinished multiple times. Engineered flooring will be more stable and affected less by changes in humidity than a solid wood floor. It is the best candidate for below ground level and over concrete or gypcrete floors. It’s like the subfloor is built in.
Once a solid hardwood floor or and engineered wood floor is installed you really can’t tell the difference so it comes down to what works for your application and what you prefer.