To begin, solid wood flooring is solid wood all the way through.
Solid wood can last up to a century, with a minimum lifespan lasting around 30 years. Solid wood is durable, easy to clean, and one of the most timeless flooring options on the market. The average cost runs about $4 – $12 per square foot with dimensions such as:
- • Plank Thickness → About 3/4 inch
- • Plank Width → 2 1/4 to 4 inches
- • Plank Length → 12 to 84 inches
The typical installation for solid wood is a nail-down, tongue-and-groove method. As this wood is 100% solid all the way through, it can be sanded and refinished a few times throughout the wood’s lifetime.
Solid wood flooring is often made from oak, maple or walnut.
Things to know:
Solid wood is one of the more expensive flooring options on the market.
- • Humidity and damp conditions are not favorable for solid wood to thrive in. The wood can soak up moisture and is prone to water damage. May also expand and warp in humid/damp areas such as basements.
- • Because of the propensity to warp and or shrink or expand, solid wood flooring is typically a smaller width to help with the stability of the product. Many trending looks today involve a wider plank flooring which is better achieved with an engineered wood floor.
This brings us to engineered wood flooring.
Engineered hardwood flooring can last roughly 25-45 years. This flooring is durable, easy to clean, and holds up better in humid areas. The average cost runs about $2.50 – $10 per square foot with dimensions such as:
- • Plank Thickness → 3/8 to 9/16 inch
- • Plank Width → 2 1/4 to 8 inches
- • Plank Length → 12 to 60 inches
The “engineering” comes from a thin layer of hardwood bonded over a panel of plywood, constructed with multi-layers of wood, each layer of wood is positioned in a different direction creating a water-resistant product. Installed in places such as basements where moisture might be trapped, engineered flooring has good resistance to warping/bowing. The top layer of the product is ‘real’ wood. Usually hickory, oak, walnut, maple or bamboo species.
The typical installation for engineered hardwood is a nail-down, floating, or glue-down method. With this flooring containing a thin layer of real wood, sanding and refinishing can only occur roughly once during its lifetime. Engineered hardwood flooring is available in a variety of colors, width, and finishes such as matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss.
Things to know:
- • Steam cleaners can damage this flooring.
- • It is not typically recommended to sand this flooring. Most engineered woods have a surface finish such as ‘hand scraped’ or textured that if sanded, the wood would lose this overall look. Instead, if you start to see wear patterns or want to freshen up the look of your engineered wood, a ‘maintenance’ or top coat can be applied to add another layer of protection and help bring back the original look and appearance.
- • Engineered wood is finished in a factory, typically with a UV light top coat cure that provides a durable, scratch resistant finish that is a harder finish than what can be applied ‘in the field’ on a solid hardwood floor.
Both solid wood floors and engineered wood floors are durable, easy to care for, and have their pros and cons. Ultimately, I feel it comes down to budget and also overall design that will dictate which product would be better to use for your specific installation needs.