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Planning on a New Wood Floor? How to Choose between Solid and Engineered Planks

If you want to install wood floors in your home, you have to make several choices. You’ll need to decide on the size planks you want as well as the type of wood you’ll buy. The type of wood affects the color and hardness of your floor. Another important decision is whether you’ll buy solid wood planks or an engineered hardwood floor. Here are the differences between the two.

Method of Construction

Solid hardwood planks are formed from a single piece of wood. Engineered planks are created by gluing several layers of wood together. The top layer is made from actual hardwood. This makes them different from laminated flooring, which has a photograph of wood laminated to the top. An advantage of only having the top layer made from hardwood is it can reduce cost. If you want an exotic type of wood for your floor, it is cheaper to buy the engineered variety rather than planks made from solid chunks of expensive wood.

Response to Humidity

Neither type of wood flooring tolerates water very well. You wouldn’t want to put an engineered floor or a solid wood floor in a bathroom or laundry room. However, the two types of floors respond differently to humidity. Solid wood expands along the width of the wood, and it is more susceptible to warping and cracking if it is in a high humidity area. Engineered wood is glued together in alternating strips, and this causes the wood to expand in both directions along the plank. The result is a more stable floor that is able to tolerate direct placement on a slab and installation in a basement that has higher humidity than the rest of the house. So, if you want to turn your basement into a family room with wood floors, you may want to choose engineered planks over solid wood.

Installation Method

Solid wood floors are installed by nailing them to a subfloor. Allowances are made so the flooring can expand and contract as needed along with changes in the weather. Your contractor may even place the wood in the room and allow it to acclimate to the temperature and humidity before installing it in order to get the best fit. Engineered planks are much easier to install. They can be nailed, glued, or stapled into place. They can be installed on a floating floor if you don’t want to rip up the old floor. Because they are easier to install, engineered hardwood floors are the best choice if you want to put the floors in yourself instead of hiring a contractor.

Since both types of wood floors look the same once they are installed, you should consider where the floor will be placed and whether you want to do the installation yourself. Your preference is important too. You may prefer solid wood because it is traditional, especially if you are renovating a vintage or historic home. Visit sites like for more information.