Which Is Better: Solid Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

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Hardwood floors are a great addition to any home. They provide timeless beauty in any room they are placed in. They are also durable enough to last for several decades before needing replacement. Solid hardwood used to be the only option for people looking to install hardwood flooring in their homes but engineered hardwood has started gaining popularity over the last few years.

So which is the better flooring option: solid hardwood or engineered hardwood? Solid hardwood can provide a home with durable and beautiful floors, but it is a difficult material to maintain. On the other hand, engineered hardwood floors mimic the same classic look with only a fraction of the solid hardwood’s cost.

Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood: Which is Better?

In 2019, the value of the North American wood flooring market reached $4.6 billion. The growth was a result of consumer demand for a more durable flooring option for their homes. Unlike soft flooring options like carpets, hardwood is a sturdy material that can last for decades. Hardwood floorings are so tough that they are typically reclaimed from old houses to be reinstalled into a new location.

Although the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood isn’t much, the latter is still the preferred option for many consumers. This is because engineered hardwood provides a low-cost alternative to solid hardwood.

Aside from being much cheaper, engineered hardwood is also widely preferred because its durability is almost comparable to that of solid hardwood. It can also withstand moisture better, which makes it a good flooring option for other parts of the home where solid hardwood planks can’t be installed, such as basements.

How Do These Hardwood Flooring Options Compare?

Even if engineered hardwood floors seem to be the obvious choice, solid hardwood flooring also has its perks where the former can’t keep up. Before making the ultimate decision of which hardwood flooring option should be installed in the home, take a closer look at how these materials compare when it comes to specific criteria.

  Solid Hardwood Engineered Hardwood
Appearance There won’t be a question of authenticity about the material because this expensive choice utilizes solid hardwood. Although the bottom and middle layers are typically made of plywood, the top layer of this flooring material is made of real hardwood.
Durability Most solid hardwoods last for around 30 to 100 years with the right care and maintenance. Top-notch engineered hardwood floors are created to last for about 25 to 40 years in a home.
Warpage Resistance Solid hardwood is prone to warpage if it is installed in humid rooms with high moisture content like bathrooms and laundry rooms. The layers of plywood in engineered hardwood make it a lot less susceptible to warpage.
Installation Method This flooring choice follows a tongue and groove system that allows each plank to be interlocked. There are plenty of installation methods that are available for engineered hardwood flooring, but people with DIY home projects prefer gluing the planks to the concrete subfloor.
Care and Maintenance Since it is made of solid wood, the planks can be sanded and refinished several times to erase the scratches on its surface. Sanding and refinishing can also be done on engineered hardwood, but it might only take a few sanding sessions before the material becomes too thin.


Solid hardwood comes from one solid piece of wood cut directly from a log. It comes as wide planks or narrow strips that provide homes with a homey feel. Reclaimed solid hardwood floors also provide a rustic look to a home that a newly processed plank can’t easily imitate.

Instead of being made entirely of solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is created with three layers – two of which are made of plywood. The top layer utilized real hardwood so that it can maintain the aesthetic which makes hardwood floorings popular.


Solid hardwood floors typically sourced from old-growth timbers – trees that were grown for an extended period before harvesting. This gives the material its excellent durability and longevity that will last for several decades up to a century.

Engineered hardwood floors are also durable enough with their lifespan of up to 40 years. High-quality hardwoods used in making these materials can also maintain their appearance with the right care and maintenance.

Warpage Resistance

The warpage of solid hardwood is typically related to how the logs were cut. Quarter-sawn and rift-sawn planks are more stable than plain-sawn boards. This means that they can resist more changes in the moisture content before shrinking or swelling. But the general rule of thumb is still to avoid installing solid hardwood floors in high moisture areas, such as bathrooms, regardless of how they were cut.

As for engineered hardwood floors that are made with two layers of plywood, the material is more resistant to warpage. This makes it an excellent choice for different areas in the home where solid hardwood flooring can’t be installed, such as basements.

Installation Method

Solid hardwood floors are created with a groove cut on a side and a ridge (or tongue) on the other. This allows the planks to be installed together snugly. The boards are attached to the subfloor using nails that are placed on the tongue.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood floors are DIY-friendly because they come in a variety of installation methods. They can be nailed down like solid hardwood floors, but they can also be glued to the subfloor using special flooring adhesives.

Care and Maintenance

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are susceptible to gradual wear and tear. The best way to erase the dents and scratch marks that have accumulated on their surface over the years is to sand them down and apply a refinishing coat.

For solid hardwood that has a thick wood layer, going through sanding and refinishing sessions in a span of several years isn’t such a big deal. On the other hand, engineered hardwood floors only have a relatively thinner layer of hardwood at the top. This limits the amount of sanding and refinishing sessions that can be done on the material before it becomes too thin.

Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood: The Verdict

  Pros Cons
Solid Hardwood Solid hardwood floorings are thick enough to withstand several sanding and refinishing sessions. Even if you plan to move into a new home, there’s a huge chance that the solid hardwood floors can be reclaimed. If you prefer the consistency and appearance of a solid hardwood that will last for several decades, you will need to prepare a huge budget for the flooring plans of the house.
Engineered Hardwood Engineered hardwood floors offer the elegance and durability that comes with solid hardwood floors without its hefty price tag. They can also be used in many parts of the home without worrying much about the material’s warpage. Since the top layer of engineered hardwood floors, it is still susceptible to dents and scratches. The hardwood layer will become too thin if sanded frequently, so make sure to only sand and refinish the top layer if absolutely necessary.

There are quite a few factors to consider when it comes to choosing a flooring option for a home. Aside from the characteristics of the flooring material itself, it’s also crucial to consider the project’s budget and the area where the floors will be installed.

If you want the authenticity and longevity of solid hardwood, make sure it fits in your budget. A high-quality wood flooring choice that will last for several decades is definitely worth spending on but remember that a home project has other aspects too.

If you’re eager to have hardwood floorings installed in the living room but don’t have the budget for solid hardwood materials, engineered hardwood can provide the same appearance. Ensure that you are prepared to maintain your hardwood floors so that they last for several decades.

Find the Perfect Flooring for Your Home at Zothex Flooring

At Zothex Flooring, we believe that flooring is an art form, which is why our staff continuously improves our craft. Our hardwood flooring options are created from high-quality materials and sourced from sustainable materials.

If you are still unsure about the right flooring choice for your home, our team is happy to help you make an informed decision for your home project. Call us at (916) 925 – 1958 now.

Learn more: 3 Easy and Affordable Ways to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

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