Engineered Wood vs. Solid Wood Flooring

Hardwood is an easy way to improve the look, durability and value of your home. Learn more about the types of hardwood flooring and what you should take into consideration when choosing this type of flooring for your home.

Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid Hardwood Flooring Diagram
 Solid Hardwood Flooring Diagram – Solid wood is milled from a single 3/4″ thick piece of hardwood. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts with changes in your home’s relative humidity. Normally, installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall. Base molding or quarter round is traditionally used to hide the extra space.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Shaw's Epic Engineered Hardwood Flooring Diagram

 Engineered Hardwood Flooring – is made for high performance and lasting durability. 

Constructed from wood fibers bonded with proprietary chemistry, Engineered Hardwood holds up to the challenges of climate fluctuation and sub-floor moisture. 

Engineered hardwood core is made up of multiple layers of wood stacked in a cross-grain configuration which minimizes expanding and shrinking.

 Engineered can be installed above, on, or below grade.

Engineered hardwood provides an advantage over solid hardwood because of the ability to install in multiple areas of the home.

Before deciding on Solid or Engineered hardwood flooring, consider these factors

Location, Location, Location

The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls into three categories:  

  • On Grade – at ground level
  • Above Grade – any second level or higher
  • Below Grade – any floor below ground level, including basements or sunkenliving rooms.

Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations, because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier such as Selitac Thermally Insulating Underlayment or Silent Step Ultra 3 in 1 is used during installation.

What type of subfloor do you have?

If you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid wood flooring or Engineered flooring may be used over plywood, existing wood floors, or OSB subfloors. Be sure to refer to Shaw’s installation guidelines for specifics on subfloor requirements.

Will there be moisture in the room?

If you are considering flooring for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it is not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.

Provided by shawfloors.com