Image: M.J Harris Carpentry
When you go to a local flooring store to buy hardwood flooring, you’ll be asked a lot of questions to get you the correct product. Some information is easy enough to provide. However, you may find it difficult to answer when asked to choose between engineered and solid hardwood. Don’t worry because most buyers have the same dilemma. So, before you hit the flooring store, let us help you arrive at a decision with this guide on how to choose between engineered and solid hardwood. Need help from an expert? Contact our floor installers today!
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If you are looking for a hardwood flooring that is durable and will last a lifetime, then solid hardwood is the best choice. Each plank is wholly made of 100% hardwood, no fillers, and no layers. Solid hardwoods usually have better stability and more refined grain.
Solid hardwoods look authentic and have consistent colour all throughout. They are available in different sizes and grain patterns depending on how the woods were cut. Plain-sawn hardwoods are the widest and have swirl patterns, while quarter-sawn and rift-sawn hardwoods are usually narrow planks, with straighter and finer grain patterns. Reclaimed woods from antique lumbers are another type of solid hardwood, which you can use for a more rustic design.
When you compare engineered and solid hardwood, you’ll notice that endurance is the key advantage of solid hardwood. Since it is solid and pure wood through and through, it can last for a very long time with minimal maintenance. You can also have it refinished and sanded as many times as you want. Different wood species have varying durability though. Oak and Hickory hardwoods are the best at resisting dents, which makes them suitable for rooms with high traffic, and homes with many kids or pets.
However, solid hardwoods have a disadvantage. Some solid woods are more prone to movement as they age. They also tend to absorb moisture that results in wood cupping.
You can install solid hardwood flooring in the living room, bedrooms and dining room whichever floor they are at. However, it is not ideal for parts of your home with high moisture and temperatures like the kitchen and basement.
Solid hardwood can be installed by nailing or using adhesives. When installing solid hardwood flooring on concrete sub-floor using adhesive, make sure that the moisture level of the concrete is less than 4% and it is free of dirt, oil, wax or other compounds. If your sub-floor is wood, you need to lay over a plywood base to give a level surface for the hardwood installation.
Most solid hardwoods have a ¾-inch thickness, but some manufacturers are now producing thin hardwoods that measure 5/16-inch thick.
Walking over solid hardwood flooring produces a solid sound, as expected. The noise produced can be irritating for some people, in which case soundproofing materials like mats, mass loaded vinyl, and acoustic laminated should be applied.
Solid hardwood is one of the most expensive types of flooring, especially those that came from exotic lumbers from South America and Africa. Also, the warranty and type of finish make it even more pricey. Installations of solid hardwood flooring also tend to be more costly.
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Three layers make up an engineered hardwood; a top solid hardwood, a middle core comprised of 5 to 7 plywood layers and another solid hardwood at the bottom. Its main advantage is in the core, which is highly stable and less prone to shifting, contracting, or expanding no matter how intense the temperature and humidity are at your place. That is why between engineered and solid hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring is the best option for areas like the basement or rooms with concrete floor-base.
Engineered hardwood is fancied by many homeowners and designers for its wide array of styles. You can choose from traditional looks, specialty designs, woods with multi-toned colors, or hand-scraped kind of beauty. If you are looking for extra-wide planks for your home flooring design, they are only available with engineered hardwood.
Because the top layer of engineered woods is solid wood, they can also be refinished and sanded multiples time in its lifetime. When it comes to resisting moisture and extreme temperature, engineering is the better hardwood. The layering makes engineered hardwood more stable in different environmental conditions.
Engineered hardwoods can be installed in any room or any floor of your home. They are also a very ideal replacement for solid hardwoods in areas where humidity and temperature can rise.
Engineered hardwoods also have multiple installation methods, such as: stapling, nailing, glueing and floating.
The usual thickness for engineered hardwoods is around 3/8 to ½ inch, which makes it an ideal flooring for rooms with low ceilings. There are also some manufacturers who offer thicker variants on their premium collection.
Engineered hardwood flooring sounds hollower compared to a solid hardwood floor. To lessen this effect, don’t float the planks and staple or nail them instead. Also, you can opt for premium engineered flooring, which is thick enough to sound like solid hardwoods.
Compared to solid hardwoods, engineered hardwoods are less pricey, except for premium collections, which are thicker, durable and have better designs.
Now that you have a better idea about the types of hardwood, you can choose with confidence between engineered and solid hardwood. But whichever you choose, make sure that they are also installed properly in order to produce the best hardwood flooring for your home. BC Best Flooring can assist you with that. Call us or send us an email and one of our flooring experts will gladly help you.