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Last edited 09 Mar 2018
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.
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.
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.
--G&S Specialist Timber 09:01, 16 May 2017 (BST)
Find out more
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 11 things you didn't know about wood.
- Cross-laminated timber.
- Engineered bamboo.
- Floating floor.
- Physical Properties of Wood.
- The differences between hardwood and softwood.
- Types of flooring.
- Types of timber.
- Best Woods for Wood Carving
- Oak wood properties
- Pine wood
- The Uses of Wood in Construction
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