Differences Between Engineered Hardwood and Solid Hardwood
If you are considering having hardwood floors installed in your home, you’re going to have to decide whether you want solid wood planks or engineered wood planks. Both of these are surprisingly different from each other.
Solid wood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a thin, clear protective layer which often consists of aluminum oxide, ceramic or an acrylic monomer.
Typically ¾-inch thick, the thickness of solid wood planking enables it to be sanded and refinished many times throughout the life of the floor.
Because the plank is a solid piece of wood, it will expand and contract in accordance with the home’s relative humidity, so to prevent warping or other types of damage, the home’s interior relative humidity needs to remain between 45% and 65% all year round.
Solid wood flooring is available in a wide array of wood species, from oak and maple to black walnut and regional-specific choices like pecan, mesquite and others. The market also sometimes offers rare, exotic species of hardwood from places like Brazil, Africa and elsewhere.
Solid wood flooring is permanently nailed to the subfloor and because of the expansion/contraction issues, installers will normally leave a gap between the wall and the floor to accommodate swelling. This type of flooring should only be installed over plywood, wood or OSB subfloors.
Engineered Wood planks classified as “engineered” feature multiple layers (typically between three and five) that are bonded together under extreme heat and pressure. Because engineered hardwood is processed under heat and pressure, it is not as affected by humidity levels as solid wood planks.
Engineered wood is designed for optimal uniformity. It is constructed to be more dimensionally stable through its multi-ply design, allowing greater resistance to temperature changes.