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Comparison

Discover the differences between solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring below to help you decide which is best for you.

Written by: Yarl Christie

Published on: July 08, 2022

Engineered Wood Vs Solid Wood Flooring

Engineered and solid wood floors both feature solid wood, but the way they are built and the features they boast, make them entirely different. The type of floor you choose will depend a lot on the space where you want to use the floor, and the way you’ll be using it.

Engineered wood floors Vs solid wood floors

Let’s take a look at some of the essential differences between engineered wood and solid wood flooring. This analysis will help you in making an informed decision on which is a better option for you.

What is Engineered Wood Flooring Made Of?

Engineered wood floors feature a multi-layer design. The top layer, also called the wear layer, features solid wood while the core layer is made of solid hardwood, softwood or plywood.

The number of layers used varies from each manufacturer and can range from 2 layers to 12 layers. All layers are bonded to each other under specific temperatures and pressure.

What is Solid Wood Flooring Made Of?

Solid hardwood flooring consists of solid hardwood planks, derived from a single unit of lumber through factory machining. They are mostly created from oak thanks to its availability and hardwearing properties.

Plank construction of solid and engineered wood floors

Today’s solid wood floors are sourced from sustainable forests. Raw logs are sawn and air-dried, then graded and refined. Air drying helps to remove any excess moisture from the wood, boosting the floor’s stability. After being air-dried, it is then kiln-dried, before being graded and cut to size.

Which is Waterproof?

Neither solid wood nor engineered wood is waterproof. While engineered wood floors are more water-resistant than solid wood floors, they still shouldn’t be exposed to high moisture levels.

Solid wood floors will become damaged if installed in high moisture environments. Even with a waterproof underlay, they would become damaged when exposed to water.

Which is Stronger - Engineered Wood or Solid Wood Flooring?

Engineered wood floors are constructed to offer better resilience than solid hardwood floors. So, you will find that engineered floors are sturdier and better performing compared to solid hardwood floors. With the right maintenance, they can last a lifetime. You also have the ability to restore engineered wood planks, which gives them an extra lease of life if they need it.

Solid hardwood flooring is great to have, but the performance depends on the type of solid wood. For example, a pine floor is a poor selection for areas that experience heavy traffic or in kitchens and households with kids and active pets. In such spaces, denser woods are appropriate as they can handle scratches and dents better. It is easy to maintain solid wood flooring, with a weekly vacuum, and the ability to refurbish the planks should they get scratched.

Sanding down engineered and solid wood flooring

Both offer excellent durability, but engineered wood floors do have a slight edge when it comes to scratch resistance.

Installing Engineered Wood vs Solid Wood Flooring

When deciding whether to invest in a solid or engineered wood floor, you need to consider the installation process.

Engineered floors are generally easier than solid wood floors to install. This is because they can be fitted using a floating floor method. That is, you can simply connect the planks together with the tongue and groove system. Some of the newer engineered wood floors also come with a click system, making installation easier than ever before.

Comparing the installation process of engineered and solid wood floors

Solid wood floors on the other hand, typically need to be nailed or glued down in place. This lengthens the amount of time it takes to install them, and it can be a tricky process. To ensure the wood isn’t damaged during installation, it is recommended you get it done by professionals.

Room Suitability

Thanks to their layered construction, engineered wood floors can be installed almost anywhere in a building, including the basement. The layered construction of the floors imparts excellent dimensional stability.

This means that these floors do not bulge or shrink when exposed to temperature and humidity changes. Engineered wood floors can be used in basements, conservatories and kitchens without a second thought. However, you should avoid installing them in bathrooms as they can still become damaged when exposed to high moisture levels.

Solid hardwood flooring is not resistant to such changes and, as a result, is not recommended for moisture-prone areas like basements. They are ideally suited for above-level floors such as first, second and third level rooms.

If you are looking to create a consistent look throughout the home, an engineered wood floor would be a better option.

Insulation

Both engineered and solid floors provide excellent insulation. They are both relatively quiet to walk over, though hardwood floors do produce more of a solid “clunk”. As solid wood floors are made from a single, thick piece of wood, noise is limited, and the planks are warmer to the touch than laminate for example.

Engineered Wood and Solid Wood Effects & Styles

Both engineered wood and solid wood floors offer the same type of effects and styles. As engineered wood contains a real wood surface layer, they produce the same aesthetics as real wood floors.

Some of the main effects and styles you can choose from include brushed, Handscraped, lacquered, oiled, and unfinished. You can also select from 1,2, and 3 strip effects.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking to buy engineered wood floors or solid wood floors, Stories Flooring offers a fine selection of high-quality floors from some of the best manufacturers around the world. We encourage you to request free samples before you place your order so you can make an informed decision.



Engineered Wood Flooring Solid Wood Flooring
Construction Multi-layered with a real wood surface Made from a single piece of hardwood
Waterproof No No
Durability Excellent Excellent
Installation Tongue and groove, click system Nailed or glued down
Room Suitability Lounge, bedroom, kitchen, hallway, dining room, home office, basement Lounge, bedroom, hallway, dining room, home office
Insulation Quiet underfoot, can be installed with underfloor heating Quiet to walk over, cannot be installed with underfloor heating
Effects & Styles Brushed, Handscraped, oiled, lacquered, stained, unfinished Brushed, Handscraped, oiled, lacquered, stained, unfinished
Available Laying Patterns Plank, Herringbone, Chevron, Versailles & Basket-Weave Plank, Herringbone, Chevron, Versailles & Basket-Weave

Further Browsing

Shop our engineered wood flooring range here
Shop our solid wood flooring range here

About The Author

Yarl Christie

Yarl is the Managing Director of Stories Flooring. started his career in the flooring industry by becoming a floor fitter at the age of 18 (2004). Yarl finally decided to move with the times and set up an online flooring store (Flooring Yorkshire, 2018). He works closely with the business managers and resource team to source new products from wholesalers, which in turn brings down the sale price. This enables Stories Flooring to be one of the leading UK flooring retailers.