Should You Use Engineered Or Solid Hardwood In Your Home?

If you've made the decision to replace your worn carpet, tile, laminate, or linoleum, you may be looking into the installation of durable, attractive hardwood flooring. However, the options available can be overwhelming -- even after you've decided on a basic color and size, you must make several decisions on which specific type and brand of wood to use and how you should install it. Read on to learn more about your hardwood flooring options, as well as some factors you can consider to help make your decision easier.

Solid hardwood

  • What is it?

Solid hardwood is composed of boards milled from a single piece of lumber. Common types of solid hardwood include pine, oak, maple, hickory, and walnut. Boards are placed side by side and nailed, glued, or snapped together.

  • Where is it best used?

Because solid hardwood is sensitive to changes in moisture and temperature, it should only be installed above a plywood or wooden sub floor. Installing solid hardwood on a concrete sub floor can cause it to warp and twist as it takes on moisture during humid times.

Solid hardwood can also be much heavier than carpet or laminate -- so you may want to have a contractor inspect the beams and other supports below the room in which you want to install it, just to ensure that the floor and beams can provide adequate support.

Engineered hardwood

  • What is it?

Engineered hardwood is composed of a single layer of solid hardwood (the veneer) on top of several sub-layers of pine or particleboard. This gives the wood the same look as solid hardwood, but at a lower cost. Depending upon the thickness of the veneer, an engineered hardwood floor may be able to be refinished several times, just like a solid hardwood floor.

  • Where is it best used?

Engineered hardwood is much more moisture- and humidity-resistant than solid hardwood, making it a better choice for basements and other areas where the floor must be installed above a concrete sub floor. If you live near a body of water or are at or below sea level, engineered hardwood is the best option to prevent warping of the floor or damage to your baseboards.

Because engineered hardwood is composed primarily of pine and other lightweight types of wood, it is also a good choice if the home's structure won't support a heavier floor. In many cases, engineered hardwood weighs the same as (or less than) carpet.

Work with a flooring specialist like Charles Tyre Flooring to choose the right option for your house.