Made from species like oak, maple, or walnut, solid hardwood flooring has a timeless appeal. Engineered hardwood flooring is a modern invention but difficult to tell apart from hardwood, at least on the surface. However, they do differ in many ways.
Both have become popular with homeowners and designers who love the rich and warm textures of wooden floors. Choosing between them can be a challenge since they offer similar benefits. That’s why we’ve created this comparison guide to help you in your renovation process.
Solid Wood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Solid wood and engineered hardwood are both great flooring options, and only a few key factors separate them. What are they? Let’s find out.
Defining Solid Wood and Engineered Hardwood
Solid wood flooring comes in long planks. Tongues and grooves are attached to the boards at the time of milling so they interlock when installed. But installing them requires skill, with the nail-down method being the most used method. Their principal advantage is that they can be sanded and refinished many times.
Engineered hardwood flooring resembles solid hardwood as the top layer is actual hardwood; albeit a thin layer bonded over premium-quality plywood to stabilize the flooring. It cannot be refinished as often but is more affordable.
Here are some of their chief comparative attributes.
Hardwood boards tend to be narrower than engineered ones. The seams between them are tight to make them more durable. The Reno Superstore offers a wide range of solid hardwood in various species and colours. This flooring is available in both prefinished and unfinished boards.
Engineered boards tend to be wider; minimizing the joining areas. In most cases, they are sold pre-finished which speeds up the installation process. They are also found in various colours and species but not as many as solid hardwood.
They look and feel the same.
2. Care and Cleaning
Solid hardwood is easy to clean and relatively low maintenance. Simple sweeping, vacuuming and occasional mopping are enough. Use a wood cleaner for best results and avoid abrasive products like bleach or harsh chemicals.
Engineered hardwood flooring is cleaned in the same way. It’s always best to use wood cleaners best suited for these types of floors. To prolong their life cycle, never use steam or direct water.
Both are easy to care for and don’t require much effort to clean.
3. Durability and Maintenance
Floors see a lot of foot traffic; therefore durability and low maintenance are important. Solid hardwood is superior in this regard as it lasts and can be refinished multiple times during its long lifespan.
Engineered hardwood floors can only be refinished until their thin top layer (or veneer) is exhausted, so will eventually need to be replaced.
Verdict: Solid hardwood flooring wins.
All flooring endures wear and tear; therefore maintenance is essential to restore its former glory. Solid hardwood has the advantage in this regard as it can be sanded and refinished again and again. However, a surface varnish coat on all wooden floors (solid or engineered hardwood) every few years helps maintain them.
4. Water and Heat Resistance
Solid hardwood should never be installed directly on top of concrete floors, since the concrete absorbs water which tends to cause the hardwood to swell.
Engineered wood performs better as it’s less susceptible to swelling and warping in humid conditions. It is more stable and can be installed against concrete flooring.
Both resist heat well, but steer clear of overly wet areas like bathrooms.
Verdict: Engineered hardwood is the clear winner.
Its plywood base makes it more tolerant of moisture-prone areas. To learn more about engineered hardwood, read here.
5. Cost and Installation
Solid hardwood floors can be costly. However, The Reno Superstore offers the best prices. Installation is likewise not simple and adds to the cost. Only use expert installers.
Engineered hardwood flooring mimics hardwood without breaking the bank. The method of installation is also comparatively easy and great for do-it-yourselfers. However, it’s better to hire The Reno Superstore’s professional flooring installation services if you have no prior experience.
Verdict: Engineered hardwood wins this round.
Engineered hardwood is undoubtedly less expensive so better if you’re working within a budget. Please note that The Reno Superstore offers a variety of products to suit every style and budget, alongside easy financing.
6. Resale Value and Lifespan
According to real estate agents, premium hardwood flooring always attracts prospective buyers. A properly installed hardwood floor can add up to 2.5% to the sale price.
Hardwood floors don’t just look great; they are also extremely durable. So while the initial investment may seem like a lot, it’s actually worthwhile. With proper care and upkeep, they can last up to 100 years, or, safe to say, a lifetime.
Engineered hardwood is also attractive to buyers since it resembles hardwood in many ways. High-quality faux wooden floors are quite resilient and offer a similar payoff. These floors can easily last 20 to 30 years, depending on how they’re treated, but will need to be replaced eventually.
Verdict: Solid hardwood wins this round.
Solid hardwood flooring is the preferred option as it adds to property value and has a longer lifespan. Engineered hardwood is also great and is only slightly behind in this category.
The Bottom Line
Engineered hardwood flooring used to be regarded as a pale imitation of solid hardwood, but technological advances have changed the game. Solid hardwood is a status symbol, true, and it’s undoubtedly a stunning option, even though these floors aren’t environmentally sustainable. Ultimately, your choice depends on which of these (relative) merits you prefer.
To make the most informed decision, get in touch with the experts at The Reno Superstore when remodelling your floors.