What’s The Difference Between Solid And Engineered Wood Flooring?

November 20th 2017


Written by Chris Shelper

What’s The Difference Between Solid And Engineered Wood Flooring? The flooring in your home can make a huge difference to the design and styling of a room, and the feeling you get when use that space. If you want your home to be warm and inviting, ditch tiles, laminate or lino and opt for a beautiful wood floor instead. A real wood floor adds the wow factor and you’re bound to receive plenty of compliments from any visitors who call. It’s long lasting too, so can be a great investment.

Choosing wood flooring can be difficult – you’re spoilt for choice with different woods and finishes to consider, and you will also need to decide whether to go for solid or engineered wood flooring in your home. The good news is that both options look great and perform well, so you can’t really go wrong. However, to help you make the right decision for your home, we’ve created this guide.

Engineered wood and solid wood – the basics

Before we start comparing the two, it’s worth explaining what each type is. Solid wood flooring is made from … you guessed it, solid wood. It’s from a single piece of hardwood that’s usually 3/4 of an inch thick.

Engineered wood flooring is made from 100% real wood too, but has been constructed differently. Engineered wood is made with layers of plywood or hardwood, finished with a layer of solid wood on top. It should never be confused with laminate flooring – laminate is a synthetic product that looks like wood because it’s essentially got a photographic image of a wood finish printed on the top layer, overlaid with a ‘wear’ layer.

When you compare solid and engineered wood floors it can be very difficult to tell the difference between them once they’re laid, as they’re both real wood. Price wise there’s not a huge difference either, however in certain situations there are reasons for using one type of wood flooring over the other.

When to Use Engineered Wood?

If the moisture levels of your sub floor are higher than 2-3%, it’s best to opt for engineered wood over an underlay or a membrane. Engineered wood flooring can cope better with changing moisture levels and heat so is ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. If you’re installing underfloor heating, you definitely need to opt for engineered wood, as the fluctuating heat will damage a solid wood floor. Because of the way engineered wood flooring is constructed, a good quality floor can handle fluctuations in temperature and moisture without any damage.

It can also be easier to install engineered wood than solid wood flooring. It can be laid either using the ‘floating’ method where it floats on an underlay, or the ‘gluing’ method where each board is glued to your subfloor.

When to Use Solid Wood?

For areas of your home that experience heavy or high footfall solid wood copes best. A solid wood floor can be sanded and refinished up to six times to restore it after heavy use and still look great, whereas engineered wood can usually only cope with being sanded a couple of times before the top layer of wood becomes too thin.

A solid wood floor can last 100 years, making it a fantastic investment if you plan to stay in your home long term or want to pass property down to future generations!

Choosing Wood Flooring for Different Rooms

When it comes to your bedrooms,living room and dining room both engineered wood or solid wood are ideal. However in hallways and other high traffic areas, solid wood is usually best because of the high footfall that causes wear and tear. You’ll be able to sand and refinish the floor many times to restore it to its former glory.

In bathrooms, kitchens and conservatories engineered wood flooring is the way to go. Any room with fluctuations in moisture levels, including cellars and basement rooms, should use engineered wood. For business use, solid wood is preferable because it copes better with heavy and high footfall.

There are a variety of different woods and finishes available so you can choose the right ones to match your home décor. Having the same wood and finish throughout your downstairs can help make your home look more spacious, but if you’d prefer to have a different wood in your kitchen compared to your hall and living room you can always break the rules! You can also achieve very close matches between solid and engineered wood planks, which can give the illusion of one material being used throughout the house.

Top tips

  • In small rooms with dark colours on the walls,or low ceilings, it’s best to opt for a light shade of wood flooring. White andgrey can help make your rooms seem bigger
  • If you want a modern and chic vibe, opt for theopposite – wood in dark shades.
  • To make a statement, you could opt for flooringin the primary colours. Perfect for art studios or children’s playrooms.

Order some samples

If you want to compare different wood flooring take a look at our range of solid wood and engineered wood and request some samples to see what they look like in your home. Alternatively visit our showroom in Garsington (OX44 9DP) to explore the complete range and speak to our experts or call us on 01865 367888