Got new year renovations on the mind but stuck whether to go for solid or engineered wood flooring at home? Read our expert guide below on the two main types of hardwood flooring
Hardwood flooring has remained popular amongst homeowners for generations, and with good reason. Not only does it exhibit an array of naturalistic aesthetic qualities, it also boasts unparalleled practicality, and has a lifespan that far surpasses that of other flooring materials.
With such impressive specifications, it can be difficult to see where solid wood flooring can be improved. But with contemporary updates in flooring technology, there’s a new kid on the block.
You may have already heard of engineered wood flooring, but many are still unsure of how it differs from traditional solid wood. Whilst it may look and feel indistinguishable from its hardwood counterparts, engineered boards offer a plethora of additional benefits that can transform any type of living space.
Follow our easy-to-read guide below, and find out if engineered wood flooring is the right choice for your home.
Humidity and moisture resistance
What separates engineered wood flooring from classic hardwood boards is its unique construction of highly compressed timbers. At the core of engineered planks, multiple layers of wood are bonded together, with grains running perpendicular to one another. This creates a base layer of exceptional strength, which is topped with a solid wood lamella on the surface. Because of this, engineered boards are identical to solid wood in appearance, but offer greater structural stability.
Whilst solid wood flooring is highly durable, its one downfall is its inability to resist humidity and moisture. In short, this means that it is unsuitable for installation in areas such as kitchens, basements, and conservatories. This, however, is not the case with engineered boards. The criss-cross core prevents warping and shrinkages in the presence of water and fluctuating temperatures, allowing for more versatility when it comes to fitting. Engineered wood floors can also be installed above underfloor heating, making it a highly adaptable choice for your home.
Whilst both solid and engineered wood flooring is composed of real wood timber, the latter is an eco-friendlier choice. Because solid wood boards are milled from a single piece of lumber, a greater amount of hardwood is required during the manufacturing process. Engineered boards, however, only use a fraction of this timber, utilising waste wood and pulp in the construction of the core. Alongside this, faster growing hardwoods are used to cut down on deforestation.
Although it is true that many manufacturers of solid wood flooring are working in accordance with FSC regulations for increased sustainability, the lower requirement for hardwood materials only serves as an ecological advantage for engineered boards.
Sanding and Refinishing
Unlike other flooring materials, solid and engineered wood flooring can be sanded and re-finished to pacify any surface damages. As a result, both products can last an entire lifetime whilst retaining their stunning visual appearance. However, solid wood flooring is the more practical option when it comes to sanding. Although engineered boards are just as durable, the amount of times they can be sanded is dependent on the thickness of the solid wood lamella. But even the thickest wear layers available (which can often be sanded up to 9 times) fail to rival the depth of solid wood boards.
This may seem like a drawback, however it is always imperative to assess the area in which your flooring is going to be installed. In most residential and domestic environments, engineered boards are more than up to the challenge of high levels of footfall, and will not need to be sanded for at least 10 years. In this case, it’s likely that the solid wood wear layer will prove more than adequate.
Cheaper than Solid Wood Flooring
Aside from technical specifications, one thing that homeowners are always looking out for is the price. Whether you have money to spare or are working on a tight budget, chances are you’re going to want to save money where possible. Whilst traditional hardwood is an exceptional flooring solution, many people are put off by the initial cost of materials. Thankfully, engineered boards offer the same quality with a lower price-tag. Using only a surface layer of 100% real wood, manufacturing costs are naturally cheaper, allowing retailers to keep their prices at a minimum.
It’s important not to forget that engineered wood flooring is still more expensive than alternatives such as laminate and LVT. However, engineered boards will not require reinstallation, and can actually increase the value of your home, making them an outstanding investment!