Last edited 18 Jan 2021

The Differences Between Engineered Flooring and Solid Hardwood Flooring



Engineered and solid hardwood flooring are very similar - when on the floor, engineered boards look identical to solid wood. However, although they look the same, they can act and react very differently. Engineered floors are tougher, but solid wood flooring can last longer.

Properties of engineered flooring

Engineered flooring is made up of core boards and timber that are effectively layer after layer of ply that are bonded together. These boards are topped off with a lamella or top layer of solid wood, which is what makes engineered wood flooring look just like solid wood.

Engineered flooring can be installed as a floating floor, meaning if you moved home, you could take the floor with you as it does not stick to the subfloor. Wood is a natural product meaning it can be affected by humidity and temperature, but the construction of engineered wood makes it less reactive to these changes. This makes it structurally solid and much less likely to damage or warp.

Engineered timber is now the most common type of wood flooring used globally, and the technology has enabled the production of much wider boards.

Engineered floor.jpg

Properties of solid hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring is made from solid wood of almost any hardwood species or grade. Solid wood flooring is made of 100% natural wood, and the solid wood boards are refined from one piece of hardwood, then treated with a protective coating.

Solid wood provides the authenticity of a classic wooden floor, and usually thick boards mean they can be re-sanded and refinished numerous times without any damage – giving a quality floor which will last a lifetime.

Solid hardwood is for purists considering long-term prospects and who do not mind installing different types of flooring in different parts of the house.

Popular uses

Engineered wood is more suitable for higher moisture areas and rooms with environments with varying humidity levels such as kitchens and conservatories. This also makes it suitable for use over concrete floors. Engineered wood has a greater range of installation methods, such as stapling, nailing, click or glue.

As solid wood is one piece of hardwood from top to bottom, it needs to be nailed or stapled down to a permanent floor, meaning a concrete base is a problem, and it can never be installed on a floating basis.

Solid hardwood is best used in living areas, bedrooms, hallways, and dining rooms. Also, it is wise to avoid solid wood in kitchens, only installing if waterproof mats are placed near sinks and dishwashers.

Wood floor.jpg

Wood species

There are fewer choices with engineered wood. Red oak, hickory, and Brazilian Cherry are the most popular wood species for engineered flooring.

There are far more choices of wood species for solid hardwood. Red and white oak, maple, hickory, and pine are the most popular choices.

--G&S Specialist Timber 09:01, 16 May 2017 (BST)

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