Although they offer the same timeless look and sense of warmth, engineered hardwood and solid hardwood do offer a few key differences when it comes to structural composition, and performance. How are engineered floors different from solid floors?
Composition – Engineered hardwood is manufactured from three or more layers of high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium-density fibreboard (MDF), and a real hardwood veneer top layer bonded together under heat and pressure.
Solid hardwood is milled from a real hardwood species, making it the sole material used in the making of this type of flooring.
Strength – Engineered hardwood is more suitable in high-moisture areas or in areas with frequent temperature changes than solid hardwood due to its “multiple-ply plank” construction. Solid hardwood is noted for adding overall structural strength to the building in which it is installed. The degree to which this is true depends upon the species.
Uniformity – Engineered hardwood is designed for optimal uniformity. Solid hardwood’s uniformity varies depending on grade. Some grades allow for multiple knots, for example.
Dimensional stability – Engineered hardwood is constructed to be more dimensionally stable through multi-ply design. This allows greater resistance to temperature changes.
Solid hardwood is prone to expansion, warping, and cupping to a significant degree if exposed to temperature changes.
Resistance to moisture and heat – Engineered hardwood is surely a suitable choice when solid wood is not applicable due to increased moisture or heat. It is more resistant to both compared to solid wood. Solid hardwood is unsuitable for applications at any location with increased moisture or high temperatures. These could be areas which are not environmentally controlled, damp areas such as below-grade installations, and over radiant heating systems.
Resistance to climatic changes – Engineered hardwood does not warp or cup during climatic changes. It is more resistant to higher moisture levels than solid flooring. It is a better choice for installation over radiant heat sources, damp basements, and locations in rainy climates.
Solid hardwood generally expands and contracts a lot more than engineered wood during climatic changes, especially during extremes in heat, cold, and precipitation.
When deciding on a new wood floor, it’s a good idea to consider the conditions this floor will encounter. This will help inform you on the best type of floor for your space. With both solid and engineered hardwood, you will get a beautiful floor that will add value to your space.