Differences Between Engineered Wood And Solid Wood Flooring
When having your wood floors installed, will you go for solid hardwood, or engineered wood? What is the difference between the two? How do you know which is the right one for your particular needs? Here is a breakdown, looking at ways in which they are similar, and what sets them apart:
Solid Wood vs. Engineered Wood Flooring
- What they are
Let’s start with the basics. Solid wood flooring is simply the hardwood itself. Planks that have been chopped up from the various tree species. It’s homogenous throughout its structure, featuring aspects that are completely original, that are from the tree itself. On the other hand, engineered wood is basically plywood that has a layer of hardwood on top of it. The hardwood layer is thin, while the plywood base makes up most of the structure.
- How thick are they?
For solid wood, the thickness usually averages at 0.75 inches. The standard width starts off at 2.25 inches. For the planks, their width can range between 5 – 11 inches.
When it comes to engineered wood flooring, the thickness here ranges between 0.37 – 0.5 inches. The standard width for these units is 3.25 inches, while the planks’ width starts off at 5 inches as well.
- The finishing process
Originally, the solid wood flooring was finished at the site where it is installed. However, more and more units are now available pre-finished, meaning that they come ready to use once installed, and additional process won’t be required, up until when the routine maintenance will be carried out.
For the engineered wood flooring, most of these come pre-finished. However, there are some brands that provide unfinished wood, that way the property owner will have more flexibility with the final outcome that will be obtained.
- The floor sanding process
Here, the two types of wood flooring have a huge difference. The structure of solid wood installations allows the floor sanding to be carried out multiple items throughout the life of its installation. While it will eventually become thin, you get to have more chances to redo the flooring, making repairs and renovations as is needed.
For the engineered wood flooring, remember that the hardwood section is just a thin slice on top of the plywood. As such, the floor sanding can only be carried out once or twice before that thin slice gets worn away.
- Installing the floor
For solid wood flooring, the planks either get nailed or stapled down. Nowadays, the wood is pre-cut into tongue-and-groove planks that are easy to install.
On the other hand, engineered wood provides more methods of installation, including the nailing and stapling, using glue or the fold-and-lock method. Installing the engineered wood is relatively easy, and even the floating method can be used, fastening the planks to each other, thus ‘floating’ them over the subfloor.
- How durable are they?
With proper maintenance, the solid wood floor can remain strong and elegant for decades. The durability varies with factors such as whether or not the floor is finished, the type of wood species itself, plus the room in which it has been installed. Moisture is the main threat facing the installation, though due to the homogeneous structure of the hardwood throughout the plank these floors have higher chances of being salvaged after issues like water damage from flooding.
While the engineered wood is durable, this is less compared to the strength and sturdy nature of the solid hardwood. This is primarily because it only has a thin layer of hardwood, which increases the chances of it getting delaminated, or chipping occurring, when the planks come under loads of pressure, wear and tear. However, it does have the capacity to withstand more moisture, which is a plus for it. Let’s delve more into this:
- How well do they handle moisture
Wood, being hygroscopic is affected by fluctuations in moisture levels in its surrounding- causing issues like warping or buckling of the structure. Solid hardwood flooring is more susceptible to this, hence one is usually advised against installing it in sections like basements and bathrooms where there are expected to be high levels of moisture. However, carrying out a floor sanding and applying a sealer that protects the underlying structure improves the resistance of the wood to moisture.
The plywood in the engineered hardwood flooring increases its dimensional stability, allowing it to be used in the rooms where there are humidity fluctuations and underfloor heating- be it in the conservatories, rooms where you have log burners, and those that have loads of glazing. The higher dimensional stability means that it will warp less compared to solid wood when it comes into contact with moisture.
Let The Experts Take Care Of Your Floor Sanding And Refinishing Needs
To ensures that your flooring receives proper care, giving the renovation task to the professionals is key, as opposed to taking it on as a DIY job. The professionals come with the advantages of having quality machinery for the task, a skilled crew, plus the manpower that is needed to handle the jobs of different sizes. With a DIY process, the task can take even over a week, yet the professionals will have it completed in a fraction of the time. When selecting the company that will work on your floor, ensure that you have gone through the reviews and testimonials that have been left by other clients who received the services. The track record of the company is important, especially its commitment to client satisfaction. You want to work with a team that values you as their customers, and who will put in place the proper structures to ensure that the results are delivered to the expected standards. More companies are putting in place guarantee structures to address the procedures that will be followed should the client not be satisfied with the end result, and the steps that will be taken to remedy the situation. What’s more, with a professional floor sanding and refinishing company, you also get to avoid the risks that are associated with the DIY projects like using the machinery wrongly, which would result in damage to the property.