hardwood vs engineered hardwood floors

For hundreds of years, hardwood flooring has been a popular interior design choice thanks to its timeless style, durability, and sustainability. Engineered hardwood flooring, however, is relatively new but has quickly become a strong competitor thanks to advances in its production. This begs the question – what is the difference between hardwood vs engineered hardwood and which is better? Allow Dalton Flooring to guide you through the pros and cons of each flooring type.

What Is Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring comes in long planks that are derived from solid wood which runs throughout its entire thickness. The most common wood species used for hardwood flooring are oak (the more traditional choice), bamboo (an eco-friendly option), cherry (features a reddish-brown color), hickory (one of the most durable), maple (one of the most popular), and tiger wood (exotic and unique looking).

What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring looks similar to traditional hardwood on the surface, but is constructed from a fairly thin layer of hardwood that is then bonded over several layers of high-quality plywood to give it stability. Here are a few more ways to tell if your floors are engineered hardwood.

Hardwood Floor Vs. Engineered Hardwood Floor

If you are trying to decide which type of flooring to pick for your project, there are a number of factors to take into account that can affect your choice. From price to durability, we’ve put together a list of differences to help make your life a little easier.

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Design of Hardwood Vs. Engineered Floors

Hardwood is milled with tongues and grooves on opposite edges so the planks can interlock when they are installed. The planks are usually between 2 1/4 to 4 inches wide and 12 to 84 inches long, with a thickness of around 3/4 of an inch. These are available in both pre-finished and unfinished options.

Engineered hardwood floorboards likewise come with interlocking tongues and grooves. Planks measure on average between 2 1/4 to 7 inches wide and 12 to 16 inches long, with a thickness of 3/8 to 9/16 of an inch. This thickness should be comprised of three to nine layers of flexible and durable plywood to ensure the core is high quality. These are almost exclusively sold pre-finished.

Appearances of Hardwood Vs. Engineered Floors

Hardwood planks are generally narrower than engineered and have tight seams between the boards. Since it is derived from trees, there is a greater range of colors and species to choose from.

Engineered wood planks tend to be wider, with some pre-finished boards featuring slightly beveled edges, which creates modest grooves between them. There tends to be a narrower range of colors and species available.  

Durability of Hardwood Vs. Engineered Floors

If you are looking for durability, hardwood is the better choice because it can last anywhere from 30 to 100 years. The beauty of this type of floor is that it can be sanded and refinished multiple times (especially when performed by professionals like us), adding to its longevity. You can read about refinishing here. Bear in mind, though, that, while hardwood has good heat resistance, it can warp in damp and humid conditions.

High-quality engineered wood on the other hand can typically last between 20 to 40 years – not nearly as long as its counterpart – and can be sanded only once or twice due to how thin the top layer of natural wood is. Like hardwood, engineered wood is also heat resistant, but thanks to its multiple layers, it is less susceptible to warping in humidity.

Installation of Hardwood Vs. Engineered Wood Flooring

Installing engineered wood flooring is a little more DIY-friendly because it can be glued down or floated (snapped together over existing flooring). That said, it is still never a bad idea to enlist the help of a seasoned professional

Which Flooring Is Better?

When it comes down to it, hardwood and engineered hardwood have many similarities with a handful of pros and cons for each. Which is better for you depends largely on what you are looking for. Is it a particular aesthetic? Are you looking to install it yourself? Do you intend to refinish it? The answers to these questions – and the details provided above – will help you make your choice.

Contact Dalton Flooring Center Today

Whether you are interested in installing wood, carpet, vinyl, or laminate flooring, we are here to serve you. Thanks to our luxury shop-at-home service and over 40 years in the business, we are considered the top flooring experts in Michigan. We will even beat any competitor’s price! Contact Dalton Flooring Center at (734) 215-9849 or schedule your free in-home visit so we can help you achieve the home of your dreams.

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