Solid Wood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Which is Right for You?


It’s no secret that wood flooring is a good investment for your home. But while many homeowners still choose traditional solid hardwood flooring, an increasing number are turning to engineered hardwood flooring instead. There are solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring pros and cons, as you’d find with any floor. But which is better for your home? At Floor Coverings International, we break it down for you so you can make the right decision.

Solid Wood Flooring

The Basics

Solid hardwood flooring is made entirely from wood. From the surface layer to the underlayment, the entire product is made from one of several wood varieties. Popular wood options include:

    • Oak
    • Walnut
    • Hickory
    • Pine
    • Maple
    • Mahogany

How it’s Different From Engineered Wood 

    • Sanding—Unlike engineered wood flooring, solid wood wood floors can be sanded down several times over the course of their lifespan. Engineered wood floors can only be sanded once or twice lightly before they start to lose their wear layer. 
    • Durability—While engineered wood floors are durable, solid hardwood floors are incredibly long-lasting. While other durable floors can last over a decade, a properly maintained hardwood floor can last 100 years or longer, according to the National Wood Flooring Association.   
    • Range of hardness—Solid wood floors can range from very soft (such as floors made from Douglas Fir), to remarkably hard (such as floors made from Brazilian Walnut). Solid wood floors offer a greater range of options in this category than engineered wood floors.

Engineered Wood Flooring

The Basics

Engineered hardwood flooring is a comparable alternative to solid wood flooring. The top layer is the same as solid wood; where it differs is underneath. Below the surface layer, engineered hardwood flooring has a base of durable, high-quality plywood. The base comprises 80-90% of the product.

How it’s Different From Hardwood

    • Moisture resistance—The stable plywood base makes engineered hardwood flooring much more resistant to moisturethan hardwood floors. This is why you’ll see engineered wood flooring in kitchens and other rooms in the house where the floor might be exposed to water. 
    • Maintenance—Engineered hardwood flooring is a low-maintenance product. Because of its moisture resistance, it won’t swell or warp like solid hardwood will, making maintenance an easy task.  
    • Sustainability—Engineered hardwood flooring is more environmentally sustainable than solid hardwood flooring because it only uses a thin veneer of hardwood for the surface layer. This means it uses less wood, which means fewer trees being cut. Additionally, the harvesting process produces no sawdust, which means no wood is wasted. Hardwood floors produce a significant amount of sawdust and therefore wasted wood.

A Great Investment Either Way

When you’re looking at engineered hardwood flooring vs. solid hardwood, one thing to keep in mind is they’re both a great investment for your home. Since engineered hardwood flooring can be marketed the same as solid hardwood flooring, both add about the same resale value to a home, which can be a significant amount. According to data from the National Wood Flooring Association:

  • 99% of U.S. real estate agents say homes with wood floors are easier to sell
  • 90% of agents say homes with wood floors are sold for more money
  • 82% of agents say they believe homes with wood floors are sold faster

The right wood floor, whether it’s solid wood or engineered hardwood flooring, can add as much as 2.5% to the sale price of your home. No matter which floor you choose, investing in solid or engineered wood can pay significant dividends.

There are both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring pros and cons, but knowing the differences between the two can help you make the best choice for your home. Whether you choose solid wood or engineered hardwood flooring, the experts at Floor Coverings International are here to help. To learn more or schedule a FREE in-home Design Consultation, give us a call today!