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Flooring: Solid Hardwood Vs. Engineered Hardwood

If you are planning on remodeling a room in your home, chances are you are considering changing the flooring. With incredible technological developments occurring all the time when it comes to flooring, there have never been a wider range of options in terms of design and style. For wood flooring in particular, all sorts of species and stain types are available, allowing you to express nearly any type of style you want for your home remodeling needs. In this article, we examine the differences between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring, their pros and cons, and what it all means in terms of your options for home remodeling design.

Solid Hardwood

When it comes to wood flooring, solid hardwood is as authentic as it gets. Essentially, with solid hardwood flooring, each flooring plank is one single solid piece of wood. With such a direct relationship to nature, solid hardwood flooring carries a lot of considerations to take into account. First and foremost is the source of the wood. If sustainability and ethical harvesting is something that is important to you, then finding a hardwood provider that matches your standards is crucial. It really all depends on the species of wood you are interested in, where that wood is harvested from, and who is harvesting it. Not all timber companies operate under the same commitments to environmental sustainability, nor do they all treat their workers equally. Other factors that are influenced by the species of wood and where it is harvested from are the color consistency, the refinement of the grain, and the strength and durability of the wood itself.

For the most part, solid hardwood flooring is very strong and durable. Because of its solidness, this type of flooring is able to withstand repeated treatments of sanding and refinishing. As a result, solid hardwood is capable of lasting an entire lifetime, as any wear and tear that occurs can be fixed multiple times. However, a major limitation of solid hardwood flooring is that it can’t be used to make wide planks. When it comes to solid hardwood flooring, the wider the planks, the more the wood will expand and contract. The only way to address this is through rigorous control of the humidity in your home. In hot, dry places like San Diego, this is extremely difficult due to our dependence on air conditioning systems. However, this is not as much of an issue when it comes to planks that have a more narrow width. Another limitation of solid hardwood flooring is that it cannot be laid down over solid concrete slab foundations, for the same reasons regarding temperature and humidity.

Engineered Hardwood

Unlike solid hardwood flooring, which is made up of planks of solid wood, engineered hardwood flooring is made up of several layers of wood. The topmost layer is made of completely natural wood, which allows you to choose nearly any type of species and/or stain type. This gives you complete freedom for design and style choices to match your remodeling needs. In addition to the topmost layer, the bottom layer is also entirely made of natural wood. However, in between the top and bottom layers there are typically anywhere from 5-7 layers of alternating layers of plywood. This manufactured middle section of plywood is where this type of wood gets its name from. Due to the engineered nature of this type of flooring, there is less likelihood that it will expand or contract as the humidity and temperature in the house changes. This resistance to humidity and temperature change means that engineered hardwood flooring is great for use in basements, or rooms that experience greater changes throughout the seasons. Additionally, the resistance of engineered hardwood flooring to humidity and temperature changes means that it can be cut into planks as wide as you desire, and can also be laid down over solid concrete slab foundations.

Much like solid hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood is extremely durable, mostly due to the nature of its layered manufacturing process. While engineered hardwood can be sanded and refinished several times throughout its lifetime, it is not as thick as solid hardwood flooring is, and therefore there is a limitation to the number of times it can be sanded down. Additionally, the source of the wood is not as much of a concern in terms of environmental sustainability and ethical harvesting as it is with solid hardwood flooring.


Both solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring are capable of providing strong, durable, and long lasting flooring for your home. While solid hardwood flooring beats engineered hardwood flooring in terms of durability when it comes to wear and tear over time, engineered hardwood wins in terms of being able to withstand environmental changes. Additionally, engineered hardwood allows greater flexibility in terms of the width of planks, as well as design and style options. This is because the harvesting sources and methods are not as much of a concern in comparison to solid hardwood, as solid hardwood is made of solid planks of 100% natural wood. Engineered hardwood flooring is also usually substantially less expensive than solid hardwood flooring, depending on the wood species, although this can be balanced out by solid hardwoods’ increased longevity.

We hope this review on the differences between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring has been helpful for you as you make decisions regarding your home remodeling dreams! If you are considering having home remodeling done, please get in touch with us right away for a free estimate.

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