Each flooring option possesses unique characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks. Two of the most popular choices for homeowners are hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. To help you make an informed decision when selecting the ideal flooring for your space, here are some main differences between hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors.
Hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of solid wood and is typically ¾ inches thick. It is available in various species, including oak, maple, and cherry, and can be sanded and refinished multiple times, making it an excellent investment for long-term durability.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring is made of several layers of wood veneer glued together under high pressure and heat, with the top layer being solid hardwood. The thickness of the top layer can vary depending on the manufacturer and ranges from 0.6mm to 6mm.
Solid hardwood flooring planks can be found in various widths, typically ranging from 8 to 12 inches, and once installed, create closely spaced seams between the boards. At the same time, pre-finished or unfinished panels of different colours and species are available for personalization.
On the other hand, engineered wood flooring, which closely resembles hardwood, has greater width flexibility and can be mistaken for solid wood when installed due to its veneer layer, although it is usually sold pre-finished and has fewer colour and style options than hardwood.
Keeping solid and engineered hardwood clean requires sweeping, vacuuming, and occasional mopping with a specialized wood cleaner to treat stains. However, solid hardwood is better for long-term maintenance because it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Meanwhile, most engineered wood floors have a thin top hardwood layer and can only be refinished once or twice before needing repair.
Compared to other types of flooring, hardwood flooring has an exceptionally long lifespan, with the ability to last anywhere from 30 to 100 years through proper maintenance, as evidenced by homes with hardwood floors dating back to the 1850s.
Engineered wood flooring can also reach a lifespan of up to 30 years with proper maintenance, though it cannot be refinished as frequently as solid hardwood. Despite this, it has the advantage of allowing for the replacement of single planks, especially those installed using the click-and-lock method.
Most hardwood floors are fastened to the subfloor with nails. Tongue-and-groove planks are another typical installation technique to link the boards together. A subfloor, often plywood, must be secured to hardwood floors.
In contrast, engineered wood flooring often uses a click-and-lock system with tongue-and-groove boards that fit together tightly like Legos, and this system typically floats over a subfloor made of foam or cork. While some engineered wood floors may still be nailed to the subfloor, click-and-lock installation is more commonly used.
Neither hardwood nor engineered wood flooring is suitable for wet areas like bathrooms and basements. Hardwood flooring is susceptible to water and moisture, which can cause swelling and warping, so it’s not recommended for humid environments.
Engineered wood flooring is often more stable due to its plywood construction, making it less susceptible to warping and swelling. While not waterproof, some engineered wood flooring can have a protective layer over the hardwood veneer to guard against water damage.
Both materials have similar resistance levels to heat.
Both solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring have their unique characteristics and benefits, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and specific needs. If you are looking for high-quality hardwood flooring in Toronto, Canada, that will stand the test of time, Capital Hardwood Flooring is the best choice. Contact us today at 416-536-2200.