Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood

If you’ve been shopping around for a new home, you may have noticed the increasing popularity of engineered hardwood flooring. This is especially true in the inner city infill market, where many builders are adopting this flooring style over traditional hardwood styles.

With its rise in popularity, we’re beginning to notice a lot of questions being asked about the difference between engineered and solid hardwood, so we feel it’s a great time to start addressing some of them.

Here are some of the top questions we receive at NewInfills regarding the two flooring types:

Q: What is the difference between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood?

A: Engineered hardwood consists of a series of very thin layers (usually plywood or HDF) glued together with a 2-4mm hardwood veneer placed on top of that. Solid hardwood on the other hand is a single piece of wood roughly ¾” in thickness.

Q: How can you tell the difference between the two?

A: Generally you can tell the difference by looking at the width of the individual pieces. Engineered hardwood is typically manufactured in wider pieces (i.e. “wide-planks”) roughly about 7.5″ wide while solid hardwood pieces are narrower by nature (4-5″ wide). Sometimes it may be difficult to notice the difference between the two types because the veneer on an engineered plank may have a pattern that resembles smaller solid hardwood pieces put together.

Q: What makes it so popular in New Infills and why are so many new homebuyers in Calgary choosing engineered flooring?

A: Aside from design trends and the aesthetic appeal of wide-plank hardwoods, Calgary’s inconsistent weather plays a major role in the popularity of engineered wood. This is because drastic humidity swings create a challenging environment for solid hardwood as it continuously expands and contracts. If not kept in proper balance, solid hardwood floors may begin to warp over time. On the other hand, because engineered floors have multiple layers with the ability to conform, they are better designed to handle these humidity swings.

Q: Can engineered hardwood be refinished?

A: Since the veneer piece is so thin on engineered flooring (2-4mm), it usually cannot be refinished. Solid hardwood can be refinished because the wood is thick enough to be sanded down and refinished.

Q: What is the difference in price between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood?

A: Although some may think that engineered flooring is cheaper, this is not always true. A number of factors affect the price of engineered wood, such as the quality of the wood and glue used, the particular style of the plank, and the installation process. Depending on these choices, both flooring styles can and often are very comparable in price.

Hopefully this helps clear some confusion and answer any questions you may have had regarding engineered and solid hardwood. If you still have any questions about flooring or New Infills, please click here and we’ll be happy to assist you!