Are you struggling to decide between hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring?

Your home is one of your biggest assets, it’s only right that you want it to look its best. Flooring isn’t only about looks though, it’s an investment in your home’s future.

You want a solid, durable flooring type that will last you for years to come. But, with so many choices on the market, it can be overwhelming. You might not know where to start or what each option brings to the table.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Keep reading for our guide on hardwood vs. engineered hardwood. It’ll give you all the information you need to help make the right choice for your home.

What’s the Difference Between Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood?: The Basics

Solid hardwood makes up the entire thickness of hardwood flooring. Usually, it’s made from types of hardwood species like walnut, oak, or maple. One of the biggest advantages is you can refinish and sand it many times over its lifespan.

Engineered wood looks similar from the surface, so similar it can be hard to tell from a glance. But it’s made from a thin top layer of hardwood, with layers of plywood bonded together for strength.

This type is less expensive than hardwood but you’re likely only able to sand and finish it once. This is because the hardwood top layer on engineered flooring is much thinner.

There isn’t a clear advantage for either of these options for flooring. Instead, they perform better in different situations. You’ll need to weigh your needs against what each one offers.

Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring will come in the form of long planks. The milling process forms tongues and grooves on opposite edges. This means, when laid together, they will interlock. They’re always nailed to a subfloor, which is something that requires a lot of skill to do.

Engineered hardwood floor, by its design, has very good stability. The thin layer of hardwood, bonded to the plywood layers below makes it very sturdy. It’s easier to install, could last upwards of 30 years and as we discussed is less expensive. So let’s take a look at some of what they have to offer in a little more detail to narrow down your choices.

Appearance

First, let’s take a look at what both of these types of flooring offer when it comes to appearance. After all, that’s going to be a top priority when it comes to getting the look you desire.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring comes in boards that are often narrower than engineered alternatives. They usually have tight seams where they interlock and come in a lot of color options.

Each hardwood species has its own unique texture, grain, pattern, and color. From crisp whites to smokey oaks, to rich chocolate browns, almost black there are a lot of colors to choose from. You can also get unfinished boards to varnish yourself. Or ones that are pre-treated for the complete look right away.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

With engineered hardwood flooring, the boards tend to be wider. You may notice some slightly beveled edges on pre-treated boards.

This forms slight grooves between the boards where you might see a bit of a gap. With solid hardwood, the seams are tighter and harder to see.

Engineered hardwood will usually only come pre-finished. You don’t have as many options for colors or species to choose from either.

Best Choice: It’s a Draw

This is going to boil down to personal preference. If you want a specific color or grain, or you want flawless seams, this will guide your choice here.

Resistance to Water & Heat

Both of these flooring types have good heat resistance. Neither one is suitable for extreme wet and moisture.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

It’s not recommended you install solid hardwood against concrete slabs. Humidity can transfer through the concrete, building up causing swelling and warping.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered flooring will perform a little better in humid conditions. The plywood makes it more stable and less prone to warping. If you have a concrete subfloor, this is the more suitable choice of the two.

Best Choice: Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood comes out on top in this regard. The plywood gives it that extra edge to reduce warping and swelling from excess moisture.

Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning maintenance both these options rank on the lower end of the effort scale. You wouldn’t need endless cleaning with either one.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring maintenance is very easy. All you need on a regular basis is vacuuming and sweeping. Now and then, use an approved wood cleaner to give it a damp mop for a deeper clean.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

The cleaning requirements are much the same as solid hardwood. You need to sweep or vacuum it regularly. Still use an approved wood cleaner for damp mopping, for the top layer of hardwood.

Best Choice: It’s a Draw

Both types of flooring will be easy to look after and last with the right care. Make sure to avoid steam cleaners for any wood flooring otherwise you risk it warping.

Maintenance & Durability

If cleaned with the proper tools and cleaners, both of these flooring types can be durable.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood has an edge here due to the fact it’s all hardwood. This means you can sand it down and refinish the hardwood a few times over its life. Keeping it fresh and performing at its most durable.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

You can only refinish engineered hardwood once, twice at a push depending on the quality. This is because the layer of hardwood is thinner, and will wear down faster.

Best Choice: Solid Hardwood

If you want durability then solid hardwood is the top choice due to the fact you can refinish it more if worn out. With engineered, you’ll get to the point where it will need replacing.

In both forms, pre-finished boards will off the most durability. They have a factory-applied hard finish that will hold up to wear and tear very well.

Installation

Hardwood flooring installation is something you want to consider before buying if you’re wanting DIY. Solid hardwood, compared to Engineered takes a little more skill and patience.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

There is a tongue-and-groove system to solid hardwood flooring. You have to blind-nail each board to your subfloor, down through the tongues at the edge of each board.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Some engineered hardwood requires the same nail-down method. You can also get “click-lock” boards that form a floating floor. You can also flue it against your subfloor so there are more options available. For most DIY installations, engineered wood will be easier.

Best Choice: Engineered Hardwood

This will depend on who will install the flooring. If you have a professional laying it, it won’t make much difference. If you’re DIY, then the click-lock or glue-down engineered boards will be easier to install.

Cost

One of the biggest considerations for flooring choice is your budget. You need to find an option that sits comfortably inside the range you can afford to pay.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

If you want pre-finished solid hardwood, you’re looking at an average of around [$8 per square foot]. The general range is between $4 and $12.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered options are a little cheaper. You’re looking at a range of $2.50 to $10 per square foot. Most types will fall around the $4 to $7 mark.

Best Choice Engineered Hardwood

The difference isn’t that great, but we’ve given the edge to engineered hardwood when it comes to cost. One of the benefits of engineering hardwood is it’s a high-quality option if your budget is smaller.

Longevity

With any home improvement, you’re investing in the future. You want to know how long to expect a floor to last, to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Usually, you can expect your solid hardwood floor to last at least 30 years. It may even last upwards of 100 years in the right conditions when maintained well. All the while, you’re able to sand and refinish to keep it looking almost like new.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Due to the fact you can’t sand and refinish it as much, you’re not going to get as long a potential lifespan. On average, engineered hardwood will last between 20 to 30 years.

Best Choice: Solid Hardwood

If you’re looking for a floor to last generations, solid hardwood is the right choice. Not to mention, the more you sand it and refinish it over time, the more character it’ll add to a home. It’s a floor that will grow with your family.

The Final Verdict on Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood

So, there you have it! Now you know the breakdown of hardwood vs. engineered hardwood flooring.

People used to look down on engineered hardwood as a cheap imitation. But with advancements in technology, it can now compete with hardwood almost neck and neck. It’s all going to come down to your personal needs and tastes. Make sure you pick a floor that meets them for your home.

If you’re looking for the perfect wood flooring, contact us today. At Yeager and Co. Flooring, we’ve got the experience and knowledge to help with all your wood flooring needs.