If you’ve done any research into installing new hardwood flooring, you know you have options. When you’re working with Floor Coverings International White Bear Lake, you have many, many options. There are various species of wood to choose from, different grain patterns, different planks widths and stains, and even the choice of solid or engineered hardwood. Our flooring experts will be happy to help you select the best flooring option for your specific needs in the greater White Bear Lake, St. Paul and Minneapolis areas. Here we’ll explain some of the differences between solid and engineered hardwood so that you can at least get a head start on that decision.
Solid and Engineered Hardwood Flooring: What’s the Difference?
Solid hardwood flooring is just that – solid. Each plank is made from a single piece of wood. Engineered hardwood flooring is a layered product. The top layer (or ‘veneer’) is made from the same species of hardwood that solid planks are made from. However, the lower layers are typically made from plywood, with each layer’s grain arranged perpendicular to those adjacent to it. This creates a product that has certain pros and cons when compared to solid hardwood flooring.
- Moisture Resistance: Solid hardwood flooring is generally a very durable product, but it is a porous material and so its one weakness is that it does not hold up well to extreme changes in moisture level. The expanding and contracting that will occur when solid hardwood planks absorb moisture and then dry out may cause them to warp, twist, or crack. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is far more moisture resistant (although still not totally immune to moisture damage). This is due to it being constructed in layers with alternating grain patterns.
- Refinishing: Although engineered hardwood can be refinished, the fact that the hardwood veneer is relatively thin limits the number of times this can be done. Products differ in thickness, but generally refinishing can only take place 3-5 times. For this reason, the lifespan of engineered hardwood is somewhat shorter than solid hardwood planks, which can be sanded and refinished many times. Still, both products will last many years if properly cared for.
- Installation: Solid hardwood planks require a plywood subflooring so that they can be nailed or stapled down. If you have no subflooring, or if it isn’t in good, level condition, there will be some added cost associated with installing it. Engineered hardwood flooring does not require a subflooring, and in addition to being nailed or stapled, it can also be glued down or installed as a “floating” floor that is not adhered to the supporting surface at all. This also means that engineered hardwood can be installed directly on top of concrete slab and below grade (in rooms that are below ground level). Solid hardwood flooring should not be installed below grade.
Your choice between solid plank and engineered hardwood flooring will largely depend on which area of your home or office you would like the floor to be installed. Here is a quick breakdown of the best choice for different areas and based on different factors.
- Kitchen/Bathroom: Engineered
- High-Traffic Areas: Solid
- Basement Rooms: Engineered
- Highest resale value: Solid
- Children/Pets: Solid
Get a Free Design Consultation
When deciding which hardwood option is right for you, it is best to have a design expert personally assess the location and use of the flooring. At Floor Coverings International White Bear Lake we offer free, no-obligation, in-person design consultations so that we can get you the best flooring possible. Be sure to contact us to arrange yours!
Photo Credit: Franck Boston