There are two types of hardwood floors: solid and engineered. Both are made from real wood. Both are made with factory finishes. Both can be refinished. Other than that, there are plenty of differences between the two types of hardwood.

Solid hardwood

Solid wood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a protective layer. Typically, they are ¾” thick, which allows them to be sanded down and refinished many times throughout the life of the floor. Talk about resale value!

One thing to note however is that solid hardwood will expand and contract based on the humidity of the home. To prevent any warping, it is best to keep the humidity in your home between 45% and 65% year round. Installers will leave what are known as “expansion gaps” between the walls and the newly installed floor to accommodate for possible expansion and reduce the risk of buckling when solid wood planks to expand.

Also because of their contractions, it is not recommended to install solid hardwood in rooms with high moisture levels, like bathrooms and basements. Solid hardwood does not hold up well with moisture in comparison to engineered hardwood. You’ll hear professional installers talk about “on grade,” “above grade,” and “below grade;” solid wood floors are recommended for on or above grade installations, which means on ground level or above ground level. Basements are considered below grade.

Engineered hardwood

Engineered wood is man-made wood, made out of a composite of real wood products. The planks are manufactured by binding multiple layers of wood veneers together using adhesive. The thickness of engineered hardwood is usually 3/8 to ½ inches. Engineered hardwood can also be sanded down and refinished, but only at a limitation of once or twice in its lifetime if the top wood veneer is thick enough.

Because of the way engineered hardwood is manufactured, it is more resistant to moisture and humidity, making this type of flooring much more stable than solid hardwood. Due to their versatility and stability, engineered hardwood can be installed in nearly every room.

One thing to ALWAYS double check when purchasing engineered hardwood is whether the material is CARB Phase 2 Compliant. Engineered hardwood that gets the CARB2 stamp of approval passes air quality requirements and is safe to install in your home. For more information on CARB Phase 2 and how you can check your floors: What is CARB Phase 2?.

Which type is right for me?

Both hardwoods are great to have in homes, so it all depends on what you’re after. Aesthetic? Durability? Stability? Ease of installation? Price?

Pricing varies for both types of hardwood, but they are both generally in the same range in cost. For durability, ease of installation, I suggest looking into engineered hardwood. If you’re a purist and want the hardwood in its truest form, solid hardwood is the way to go. Solid hardwood also has the ability to be refinished numerous times, allowing for versatility in color in case you change your mind years down the line.

Remember, there’s no wrong choice! If you have any questions about either type of product, feel free to comment below or call us at 1-844-334-2877.