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Engineered vs. Hardwood Flooring - Pros And Cons

Finished Hardwood FlooringSo you’ve decided you want real wood flooring. Great decision! Installing hardwood flooring in your home will create a new look, add style and value, durability and longevity - and is well worth the investment.

There is a selection of different types of hardwood flooring to choose from that fall into two main categories, based on how they are made:

  • Solid hardwood flooring - this type of hardwood is manufactured using a single piece of solid wood, with an average thickness of ”.
  • Engineered hardwood - is made up of 2 or more sheets of wood layered in opposite directions, and ranges in thickness. The top layer is usually a thin real wood layer, with the lower and base layers made up of a mix of plywood, HDF and solid wood.

Engineered Versus Hardwood Floors - The Main Differences

Both engineered and hardwood floors have a few pros and cons, and making the right choice for your hardwood floors is important - it’s a big decision.

Outlined below are some of the main differences:

Dimensional Stability (Resistance to changes in humidity and temperature)

Made of a single piece of wood solid hardwood can expand and contract with changes in humidity and is more suited to moisture-controlled environments. In comparison, engineered wood is a lot more moisture resistant, as the cross-layering of the underlying wood provides stability and resistance to expansion and shrinkage.

Price

The top layer in engineered wood can be customized to any of the different types and finishes of wood from oak to exotic Brazilian cherry. As a result, engineered wood will usually cost a lot less for the same look - with a thin top layer of valuable wood used instead of a piece of solid wood.

Durability and longevity

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are durable. However, when it comes to refinishing your floors, you get what you pay for with solid hardwood floors. Solid flooring can be refinished many times and can be sanded almost ”, right to the tongue and groove joints.

Eco-friendliness

Solid hardwood floors are completely natural as it is 100% wood. On the other hand, engineered hardwood can result in less wastage with options to use recycled wood in the middle and base layers.

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Samples of hardwood flooring installation

There are many options and possibilities when it comes to hardwood flooring installation. Few of the most common types include:

  • plank
  • strip
  • parquet
  • engineered
  • laminated floors

All of the above are either nailed or glued down on top of existing sub-floor. In condominiums or commercial properties where sub-floor consists of concrete, plywood is applied on top of the slab in order to allow for nailing of the floor. All glued down floors can be directly applied on top of the concrete. See diagrams below outlining different floor types, installation techniques as well as examples of transition and finishing trims commonly used.