Solid Hardwood Flooring or Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Which One is Better?

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Wood flooring is like denim – it never goes out of style. 

Royalty were the first to enjoy the luxury of wood floors. But by the Colonial Era, wood flooring existed in abundance and was available to the mass populous for purchase.

But after WWII, wood flooring suffered a decline that caused it to remain inferior for decades. With the invention of synthetic flooring, hardwood flooring started to become an outdated thing of the past. 

Engineered hardwood flooring is cheaper and easier to install. But by the 1990s, hardwood flooring began a rise to dominance once again. Homeowners today go for both options.

What are the differences between these types of flooring? And which one is better?

Keep reading to find out the differences so that you can decide what is right for your space.

What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring is composed of many separate layers of wood, which are often positioned in different directions. This construction claims to make it more resistant to warping and damage done by moisture.

Engineered wood consists of a very thin layer of actual hardwood on top of a thicker piece that is made up of the many layers of plywood.

Engineered wood offers many options that mimic the looks of different types of solid hardwood flooring. Because of the thin layer, however, it can only be sanded once or twice before the hardwood layer begins to disappear. 

Proper care and maintenance are pertinent in making your floor last.

Which Choice Is More Expensive?

Hardwood flooring is generally more expensive to purchase and install. That being said, hardwood tends to last much longer.

The cost varies for both. Engineered hardwood flooring costs anywhere from $3 to $14 per square foot. For solid hardwood flooring, costs tend to be between $8 and $15 per square foot.

Engineered Can Mean Bad News for Your Health

A lot of engineered wood can produce off-gassing which is when chemicals are given off in the form of a gas.

A lot of the time, engineered hardwood can be stained or finished with harsh chemicals that will be breathed in and absorbed by anyone who comes in contact with it.

Formaldehyde emissions can irritate the nose, throat, eyes, nose, and skin. It can also trigger attacks in those who suffer from asthma. Babies and children are the most affected by off-gassing as they typically have the highest amount of contact with floors.

In a limited study, reports showed that solid hardwood floors gave off consistently lower emissions than laminate or engineered wood floors.

However, with ever-changing laws and eco-friendly manufacturers, it’s becoming much easier to purchase engineered flooring with low VOC’s.

What Are the Benefits of Engineered Hardwood?

Aside from being less expensive and generally easier to install, engineered hardwood floors do have a couple of additional benefits.

1. Moisture

Engineered wood holds up better against moisture than solid hardwood. Hardwood is never recommended in bathrooms, for example, whereas engineered wood has more flexibility when it comes to where it can be installed.

2. Hardness

Hard hardwoods that are engineered are of the most durable. 

3. Resale Value

Many people think that their resale value will be higher with solid hardwood flooring. But real estate agents can use the term “real wood” and “hardwood” when it comes to engineered hardwood because the engineered wood is, in fact, topped with an actual layer of hardwood.

As long as they’re in good shape, engineered floors can come very close to the resale value of a home with hardwood floors.

What Are the Benefits of Hardwood?

In addition to lasting longer and boasting an original look of comfort and beauty, there are a few additional benefits to solid hardwood flooring.

1. Sanding

Engineered hardwood floors can only be sanded once or twice until they begin to wear out or chip away their top layer.

Solid hardwood floors, on the other hand, can be sanded many times over the years, allowing for refinishing and touching up options that can’t be done with engineered wood.

2. Long-Lasting

Solid hardwood floors can last for decades if maintained properly. The only real thing that can do serious damage is moisture. 

Because of their thin top layer, engineered hardwood floors can’t last as long as the real thing.

3. No Off-Gassing

When it comes to safety and flooring options, solid hardwood provides you with a healthier floor. If you have little ones or pets, going with engineered hardwood could expose them and you to harsh chemicals.

The Resale Value

If the engineered hardwood is in great shape, it will have a similar resale value to a hardwood floor. 

However, engineered wood lasts about half as long as solid hardwood and has a greater chance of chips and damage.

That being said, a solid hardwood floor is a bonus whether it’s in great shape or not so great. This is because, a lot of the time, damage done to a hardwood floor can be repaired and refinished.

The Look and the Placement

Solid hardwood flooring is both luxurious and attractive. Even the most expensive engineered flooring can’t mimic the beauty of real and exotic wood. 

Solid hardwood flooring has a variety of options from soft to hard, and a variety of looks and textures. Reclaimed wood, for example, can be hard to replicate in an engineered product.

Engineered wood can give you more options for where you want to install it. Because it’s less affected by moisture and can be very durable, there are more options for where you can install it.

Which Route Should You Take for the Flooring in Your Home?

There are many things to think about when deciding if you should go with engineered hardwood flooring versus solid hardwood flooring.

Cost is a big factor. If you want an exotic look but you can’t afford an exotic wood, an engineered product might be the better option for you.

If a natural feel is what you’re going for and you want to be able to refinish your space down the road, then solid hardwood flooring is the better option for you. 

Contact us to discuss your flooring needs and questions so that we can help you with your decision today.

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