Engineered Hardwood or Solid “Live”?
Of all the flooring choices you may make for your home, Hardwood and Ceramic will cause you the most financial pain. The main expense for Ceramic is in the labour and preparation, for Hardwood its all three areas, materials, labour and preparation. ( We’ll do Ceramic another day.) So if your going to pay the price it ought to be worth it.
So what do you choose, solid hardwood or Engineered Hardwood?
The differences are easy to spot. Solid is usually 3/4″ thick by any number of widths, and engineered has a plywood laminated type core, with a real wood veneer.(a thin application of real wood)
Consumers usually selected solid Hardwood bewcause it looks heavier and more sturdy, and the thought was you could sand it many many times. Not true. Live or solid wood reacts to environmental changes more, heat, humidity cold etc., and you can usually get two sandings out of it. Engineered wood should not be sanded in my opinion(even though the manufacturer says it can at least once)because experience has taught us you can only lightly sand it to freshen it up, and you take too much of the veneer off if you try a heavy sanding.
Solid Hardwood was also selected in a number of cases because the 3/4″ height was critical to matching up exactly with ceramic installations. As well it is my experience engineered woods are generally more free of knots etc. than some solid woods.
Engineered wood is necessary over concrete, as they can be glued directly down, or floated(the tongues and grooves glued together much like laminate.)
Engineered wood used to only come 3/8″ thick and were generally less expensive comparing grade to grade. Now engineered woods are not only 3/8″ thick, but 1/2″ and 3/4″ and in some instances can be more expensive that solid woods. So matching up to other floor finishes is easy.
So again, which do you choose, solid Hardwood or Engineered Wood?
It’s a matter of personal preference lifestyle, and site conditions. If you simply like the look of the engineered over solid, or one price is better than another, that’s one choice. If your installation is on grade or on concrete, then engineered is your choice. If you don’t like to monitor humidity levels as much, leave your home for extended periods, or live in a humidty prone area, then my money is on engineered.
Either way, make sure you explain to your flooring sales person all of the conditions that prevail in your home, and what your expectations are.
At Michael’s Flooring we have a complete range of all types of Hardwoods, solid or engineered.