Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is made of planks milled from a single piece of timbers.
It is usually made from oak, maple, or walnut, and it has a uniform thickness throughout the planks.
Because of its thickness, solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished many times over the course of its lifespan.
When it is installed, the planks are interlocked together and are nailed down to the subfloor (this takes quite a bit of skill).
It is not recommended to install Solid Hardwood directly over a concrete slab.
Solid wood flooring will expand and contract with fluctuations in humidity.
Installers accommodate this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall.
The gap is then hidden by base molding or quarter round.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring looks a lot like solid hardwood, but it is made out of a thin layer of hardwood bonded over a premium-quality plywood layer.
Its advantage is that it can be installed in any room including moist areas like your basement and bathrooms (as long as there aren’t any extreme moisture issues and a protective moisture barrier is installed).
The multilayered construction is what makes engineered hardwood durable.
Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure.
Because engineered wood can be a lower cost alternative to solid wood flooring, it is a popular style for multiple rooms in the home.
Most Hardwood flooring offers two different engineered constructions:
Engineered with Hardwood Core and Engineered with High Density Fiberboard Core.
Solid vs Engineered
Here are some important factors to consider as you decide which type of hardwood you want:
The location of installation for your hardwood flooring basically falls into three categories: on grade, above grade, below grade.
Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not suited for below-grade spaces because of the moisture. Engineered hardwood, however, can be installed in these areas.
Type of Sub-Floor
If your installation will be over concrete, you must use an engineered hardwood to ensure structural integrity.
If your sub-floor is plywood, wood, or oriented strand board (OSB), you can install solid or engineered wood.
If you plan to install hardwood in high-moisture spaces like bathrooms or laundry rooms, engineered hardwood is necessary.