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  • Solid vs Engineered Hardwood Solid vs Engineered Hardwood

    Solid vs Engineered Hardwood

Solid vs Engineered Hardwood


Solid wood is milled from a single 3/4”-thick piece of hardwood. Because of its thickness, a solid hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished over several generations of use. 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 wood is produced with three to five layers of hardwood. Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure. As a result, engineered wood flooring is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity and can be installed at all levels of the home.

Consider these factors when deciding between solid or engineered hardwood flooring:

Where’s it going?

Your hardwood floor will be in one of three locations:

  1. On grade—at ground level
  2. Above grade—second level or higher
  3. Below grade—below ground level, including basements or sunken living rooms

Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well-suited for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms or below-grade installations. The construction of engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability and moisture resistance, so that it may be installed at any grade level.

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, wood, or OSB subfloors.

Will moisture be in the room?

If so, you’ll want to select an engineered hardwood. The moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms where the presence of moisture is possible, such as bathrooms.

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  • Shopping for a New Floor Shopping for a New Floor

    Shopping for a New Floor

Shopping for a New Floor

Ready to shop for a new floor? Let us guide you through the process. The following questions will help you pinpoint not just what you like but what your room needs, so your new floor will be ideal for your home and lifestyle.

Think about room logistics

  • How do you use the room most—what types of activities are common there?
  • What are the room’s lighting sources? (In a room with less natural light, for example, you might want to consider a lighter-colored floor.)
  • What is the room’s size?
  • Does the room open to others or stand alone?

Think about existing or intended aesthetics

  • How do you want to feel when you’re in this room?
  • What types of furnishings do you have?
  • What’s the style or feel of the room? Traditional, contemporary or rustic? Casual, formal or somewhere in between?

Consider risk factors for the room

  • Does the room open directly to the outside?
  • Do you have indoor pets?
  • Will people have food in this room?
  • Will kids play in this room?  (Or better yet, will kids play with their food in this room?)

Understand expectations for the room

  • Is your flooring purchase prompted by the desire for style or for practicality?
  • What’s the first thing you want to notice when you enter the room?
  • Is the floor for your use, or do you plan to sell your home?
  • The better you can answer these questions, the easier it will be to choose the best flooring for your home.

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