Which wood is best for your home? Homeowners opting for a hardwood floor can choose between solid or engineered wood. But which one best fits your budget?
What’s the difference?
The main difference between solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring is the composition of the wood panels. Solid wood is cut straight from a tree and then cut into flooring panel dimensions according to size, whereas engineered flooring is a more complex product. It consists of real timber pressed into two or more layers, and many different thicknesses, into one plank. The layers running in different directions make engineered wood more stable than solid wood.
Solid wood flooring
Solid or real wood flooring is typically made from a single piece of wood with a thickness of 18 - 20mm. Available in naturally sustainable sources such as bamboo, pine, oak and cherry, it can be oiled, lacquered or unfinished and is extremely durable ¬– lasting a lifetime if maintained properly. For an au-natural finish to your home, you really can’t beat real wood that comes in varying shades of light to darkest brown, adding warmth, richness, colour and texture to any space. It also adds character with wear and tear over time. If your room needs a new look after a few years, the top layer can even be sanded down and re-stained. Solid flooring is also available in different lengths, meaning it can be suitably matched to make the best of any size of room. For example, if you have a smaller space, lighter, shorter boards will make it seem larger. Solid wood is water resistant but should be sealed if you want to use it in your kitchen or bathroom.
Engineered wood flooring
Engineered wood flooring is a more practical choice for many homeowners thanks to its versatility and suitability to conditions solid wood is incompatible with ¬¬– such as concrete subfloors, basements and under-floor heating. In general, engineered wood is better protected and pre-finished compared to real wood, and its bevelled edges give it a more attractive appearance and a tighter fit. It is designed to reduce any moisture problems associated with conventional hardwood floors. The layers block moisture and the core maintains the stability of the plank. If you want to use engineered flooring for you kitchen or bathroom choose boards with a lacquered rather than oil finish. When compared to solid wood panels, engineered panels are longer and wider, making them more suitable for homes with a contemporary look. In fact, engineered wood flooring is the most common type of flooring used today.
See also: How to Care for Your Wood Decking
Which is best for your budget?
Although engineered wood flooring is generally more expensive than solid wood, overall, engineered floors are still the more cost effective choice. It is definitely easier and cheaper to install than real wood, in fact some DIY homeowners even choose to install their own engineered floors. However, notwithstanding installation, the final cost will ultimately depend on the type of wood you go for, for example, when it comes to more common hardwoods, solid wood flooring may actually work out to be more cheaper overall, although it will still take longer to install. Additionally, if you’re after a wood floor that will withstand the test of time and a lot of foot traffic, it’s definitely worth investing in real wood as the panels are thicker, last longer and can be sanded down and refinished in the future.