Wood flooring is a timeless finish that will never go out of style. It’s a classic and stands the test of time in many homes. I often recommend wood flooring as the base from which to create an interior design scheme on.
Are you considering hardwood floors in your home? You may have noticed that there are many, many, different options on the market right now, making the decision even more difficult to make! From a luxury vinyl plank to solid hardwood, there’s a lot to get to grips with to make an informed decision.
But what’s the deal with solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring? Are they the same? What differences are there? And which one comes out on top?
I discuss all of this – and more! – in this article! Let’s have a look at Hardwood versus Engineered Wood Flooring.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is made from solid wood, throughout the thickness. The most common types are oak, maple, or walnut, and usually come in long planks.
This type of flooring is milled with tongue and grooves on opposite edges which can be interlocked together when installed. Then, the planks are nailed down.
One of the great things about solid hardwood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished numerous times during its lifespan. Speaking of lifespan, you can expect solid hardwood floors to last anywhere between 30 and 100 years! Some would say that’s a worthy investment.
There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking of installing solid hardwood flooring in your home though. And one of those is its stability. Solid hardwood floors may warp in humid or damp conditions. They shouldn’t be installed on concrete slabs as humidity through the concrete can cause warping and swelling. If spills aren’t cleaned up properly then this can cause damage to the wood over time.
You can count on solid hardwood floors being durable, however, you should expect them to be prone to scratches over time.
From a cost perspective, solid hardwood floors are expensive. If you’re on a tight budget or don’t see yourselves living in the home for that long, solid hardwood floors aren’t for you. Typically you would expect to pay about $8 per square foot, within the range of $4 to $12 per square foot. Some species of wood can climb even higher.
$$$ Solid hardwood floors can last up to 100 years, but come with a high price tag!
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring looks almost identical to solid hardwood floors, but it’s actually only made from a thin layer of hardwood veneer that has been bonded to a high-quality plywood substrate. As there is a protective plywood layer to engineered hardwood, you can expect your flooring to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years!
One of the best things about engineered hardwood floors is that they have a high resistance to warping. The strong plywood substrate helps to maintain a solid and flat top surface. It also has a better performance in humid environments as the plywood construction makes it more stable.
In contrast to hardwood floors, engineered hardwood flooring can only be sanded and refinished once or twice because of the thin top layers.
You should be aware that engineered hardwood floors are sometimes “floating” which means that it was snapped together or edge joints and laid over an existing floor. This can make the floor a noisier experience when walking. This type of flooring doesn’t absorb sound well and so a high-quality acoustic underlay is recommended if the budget allows it.
Another thing to consider is that cheaper products are made with a poor grade of plywood, which makes this underlayer prone to defects like splitting and separating. As a result, the engineered hardwood could start to squeak.
In terms of cost for engineered hardwood flooring, it is less expensive than solid hardwood floors. You can still expect to pay anywhere between $3 and $10 per square foot, with an average of about $5 or $6 per square foot.
$$ Engineered hardwood floors are still long-lasting, and more budget-friendly.
Solid hardwood floors have the most authentic look but cost more than engineered hardwood flooring. If you plan on staying in your home for a long time then it is worth considering solid hardwood. However should you plan to move within 5 to 10 years, you may be better off with the more affordable engineered hardwood flooring instead.
It’s essential to weigh up the longevity of the finish, alongside your budget. Consider what your long-term and short-term goals are and see which type of flooring best aligns with that.
Remember that it’s not only the cost of the flooring itself but the installation too. This can add an extra $5 to $10 per square foot, depending on the labor costs in your area and the complexity of the project.