What should you use, solid or engineered wood floors?

September 8, 2015 - 10:22am
hard wood floor

So you made the decision to go with wood floors in your home or office. Now the many choices come at you. Should I pick solid wood or engineered wood? What does that even mean?  The first thing is both solid and engineered floors are real wood. Here are a couple of quick explanations to let you know more.

Solid Wood


solid wood flooring
Solid wood flooring is just what it sounds like, one piece top to bottom. It ranges from ¾ to 5/16 inches in thickness. It is a nail down floor that needs a plywood subfloor. That is easily done if it is a new home or has the conventional crawlspace. You can recess the concrete slab in the new home to allow for the plywood.  Since it is solid wood, it is best if laid above grade (or above ground level). That means basements are a not good choice. While there are not as many basements in Oklahoma City, we do have some below grade rooms. One of the biggest benefits on solid wood is the ability to sand and refinish it multiple times. It can last multiple lifetimes with little care. There is a longer installation time on solid floors. If you choose an unfinished solid wood, they have to be sanded and finished after installation.  That can take five days at a minimum. 

Engineered wood

engineered wood
Engineered wood is layers of wood put together with the top veneer being the quality wood you are looking for. Layers or veneers are joined to make it more dimensionally stable than solid wood.  Wood was a living breathing tree that was affected by extreme moisture and temperature changes. An opposing direction change is made with each layer so no one layer will grow or shrink too much from that moisture.  Engineered wood can be either nailed down or glued down. That allows flexibility with concrete slab installations. There is no need for that plywood subfloor. It can be laid below grade. While some engineered floors can be sanded and refinished it cannot be done multiple times. The veneer is often only ¼” thick.

As you can see both solid and engineered wood are good for multiple applications. Both can be installed in above grade rooms. There are many choices for living room, dining room, den, bedroom and study/office.  The high moisture rooms such bathrooms and kitchens create some limitations. You will need to consider how the space will be used, what activities are going to be completed. Is water involved?   Are you a gourmet chef or rarely do more than microwave.  Prefinished engineered choices have some very durable floors that can handle either.

Now what do you do with that information?  It is time to assess your needs and your space.  Come into the store with your specific needs, we have the experience and expertise to answers your questions.  Trying to find all the answer on a website is like trying find out what that new pain is rather than make an appointment with a Doctor for an individual diagnosis. You can take all the online style tests, find the horror stories of floors gone bad, search for that perfect picture and still not be sure it is right for you. All it really comes down to is what works for you. To prepare you for your visit, think about the following questions:

  • Do I want the whole wood floor package of solid wood flooring?
  • Am I a purist that has to have the real deal?
  • What are my space needs, extreme flexibility with moisture and temperature changes?
  • Do I want to spend a lifetime there, have lifetime durability with flexibility to sand and refinish my floors multiple times?
  • Is the house set up for solid wood with recessed concrete floors and room for plywood subfloors?
  • How quickly do I want my project completed?
  • Will I focus on every change in the wood flooring during times of more extreme moisture and temperature changes?
  • What will be the traffic, wear and tear of my space?
  • What is the style of the home, other colors and cabinetry?

Rather you want a faster install of prefinished engineered wood floor or that specific solid wood floor, come in for individual help with your choices. Bring your specific questions, wants and needs, we can narrow down your choices so it is not so overwhelming. We will answer the questions of what will it work in your space. Inform you on the upkeep and repair of your wood floor. Find that special touch to make your floor unique. We can also keep your floor within the budget you have in mind.

I will continue to add information on the blog to help you come up with more questions. There is still the type, grade and cut of wood. Color and type of finish choices, and specialty design elements. You can contact me with your questions or suggestions for a blog on the contact page.