Hardwood floors are renowned for their warmth, elegance and their value. They provide an ideal backdrop for virtually every decorating style, and when maintained properly, can last more than 25 years. There are many factors to consider when trying to select a hardwood that will perform to your expectations, so we'll help you sort through the details.

HARDWOOD

HARDWOOD BASICS

Wood continues to be one of the most preferred choices for floor coverings, and the number of wood-like flooring materials on the market is overwhelming. When it comes to real wood flooring, there are 2 main options: solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. It is often assumed that choosing between these two types of floors is a matter of personal preference, and in many case this may be true, but let’s compare solid and engineered hardwood flooring in order to better understand their pros and cons.

Features Solid Hardwood Engineered Hardwood
Milled from solid lumber    
Moisture-resistant    
Suitable for basements (below grade)    
Can be sanded and refinished    
Durable and long-lasting    
Available in a variety of wood species    

Engineered Hardwood

LOOK & DESIGN

 

One of the most prevalent beliefs about solid hardwood vs. engineered hardwood is that in order to get the look and feel of real wood, one must go with solid. Most engineered floors use solid sawn wood lamellas, which means that the top layer is made of real wood, and have the look, texture and feel of solid wood floors. Both solid and engineered floors are available in the same range of finishes and stains, so there is virtually no difference in appearance. Keep in mind that all pre-finished engineered floors have a microbevel on all four sides, while site-finished solid hardwood does not.

 

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THE JANKA SCALE  (Hardwood Hardness)

SOLID vs. ENGINEERED

Solid hardwood is manufactured from a single piece of wood, the most common thickness of a solid hardwood plank is ¾”. The most widely used profile is tongue-and-groove (T&G). Where engineered hardwood consists of at least 2 or more layers. The top layer is real wood veneer (industry norm is 2-4mm thinkness) so once installed, it is impossible to tell whether it's solid or engineered. The lower layers usually consist of either several layers of plywood, HDF or solid wood layers that are often quarter turned back and forth to provide a greater structual rigidity. The multiple layers are bonded together under pressure and help create a product that is more tolerable of challenging climates (such as ours). Profile may be either tongue-and-groove, or use a click-locking technology.

Solid hardwood 

Engineered hardwood 

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are durable, but resistance to denting will depend far more on what species you select and its level of hardness (see our Janka Scale),

where surface wear depends on the type of flooring finish, and not at all on whether your flooring is solid or engineered.

UNDERSTANDING HARDWOOD

For MORE information about the differences between solid and engineered hardwood and what to expect when looking for the product that's right for you, take a moment to look through the Truth About Hardwood sheet we've put together.

It will help you sort through the advantages & disadvantages of one product

over another so you can find the product that will best suit YOUR needs and YOUR budget!  Click here for a printable .PDF file from the Truth About Hardwood. 

The Truth About Hardwood - Breaking down your options