How Do I Choose Between Solid & Engineered Wood Flooring?

engineered-wood-solid-woodChoosing the right flooring for your home can be a difficult task, one which needs careful consideration. It can transform the way a room looks and is something that you will live with on a daily basis. Investing in a beautiful wood floor can make the world of difference to your home, making it stylish and adding that ‘wow’ factor that will invite compliments from your visitors and simply look amazing.

Once you’ve decided that wood flooring is the way to go you then need to choose the type of wood, light or dark, the finish you want and you’ll also need to consider if you should use an engineered or solid wood flooring to boot! So to help inform your choice we thought we would put together this handy article to explain the differences between solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring.

The basics of Engineered Wood & Solid Wood

Before we start comparing the two, it’s worth explaining what each type is. Solid wood flooring is made from a whole single piece solid wood and it’s usually 3/4 of an inch thick.

Engineered wood flooring is also made from 100% real wood, but it has been constructed in a different way. Engineered wood is made up with layers of plywood or hardwood, it’s then finished with a layer of solid wood on the top. It should never be confused with laminate flooring – laminate is a synthetic product that looks like wood because it’s essentially got a photographic image of a wood finish printed on the top layer, overlaid with a ‘wear’ layer.

When you compare solid and engineered wood floors it can be very difficult to tell the difference between them once they’re laid, as they’re both real wood. Price wise there’s not a huge difference either, however in certain situations there are reasons for using one type of wood flooring over the other.

When Is Engineered Wood Flooring The Best Choice?

Moisture content: You’ll need to check the levels of moisture in your sub floor, ideally with an RH test and if the moisture levels of are higher than 2-3%, the best choice for your situation would be engineered wood over an underlay or a membrane. Engineered wood flooring is really good at coping with changing moisture levels and heat. This makes it an ideal choice for bathrooms or kitchens.

Underfloor heating: If you’re going to be installing underfloor heating, you will definitely need to opt for engineered wood, as the fluctuating heat will damage a solid wood floor. Because of the way engineered wood flooring is constructed, a good quality floor can handle fluctuations in temperature and moisture without any damage.

Easier to install: It can also be easier to install engineered wood than solid wood flooring. It can be laid either using the ‘floating’ method where it floats on an underlay, or the ‘gluing’ method where each board is glued to your sub floor.

When Is Solid Wood Flooring The Best Choice?

Heavily used areas: If the area you are going to be flooring has a heavy or high footfall then solid wood flooring is a good option. A solid wood floor can be sanded and refinished up to six times to restore it after heavy use and still look great, whereas engineered wood can usually only cope with being sanded a couple of times before the top layer of wood becomes too thin.

Longevity: A solid wood floor can last 100 years, making it a fantastic investment if you plan to stay in your home long term or want to pass property down to future generations!

Choosing The Right Flooring For Different Rooms

Bedroom flooring: Engineered wood flooring lends itself really well to bedrooms, usually light use and footfall. Solid wood flooring is also a good option for bedrooms.

Hallway flooring: Solid wood flooring is the smart choice for hallways due to these areas being more in use on a daily basis and prone to wear and tear. You’ll be able to sand and finish this time and time again to restore it to its former glory.

Living room flooring: Engineered wood flooring lends itself really well to living rooms, usually light use and footfall. Solid wood flooring is also a good option for living rooms.

Dining room flooring: Engineered wood flooring lends itself really well to dining rooms, usually light use and footfall. Solid wood flooring is also a good option for dining rooms.

Bathroom flooring: Due to the typical usage of a bathroom and moisture levels fluctuating engineered flooring is the best choice as it copes with these conditions really well.

Kitchen flooring: Due to the typical usage of a kitchen and moisture levels fluctuating engineered flooring is the best choice as it copes with these conditions really well.

Conservatory flooring: Due to the typical usage of a conservatory and moisture levels fluctuating engineered flooring is the best choice as it copes with these conditions really well.

Cellar or basement flooring: Due to the typical usage of a cellar or basement and moisture levels fluctuating engineered flooring is the best choice as it copes with these conditions really well.

Business flooring: Solid wood flooring is the smart choice for business flooring due to it typically being more in use on a daily basis and prone to wear and tear. You’ll be able to sand and finish this time and time again to restore it to its former glory.

There are a wide variety of different woods and finishes available so you can choose the right ones to match your home décor. Having the same wood and finish throughout your downstairs can help make your home look more spacious, but if you’d prefer to have a different wood in your kitchen compared to your hall and living room you can always break the rules! You can also achieve very close matches between solid and engineered wood planks, which can give the illusion of one material being used throughout the house.

Top tips

  • In small rooms with dark colours on the walls,or low ceilings, it’s best to opt for a light shade of wood flooring. White and grey can help make your rooms seem bigger
  • If you want a modern and chic vibe, opt for the opposite – wood in dark shades.
  • To make a statement, you could opt for flooring in primary colours. Perfect for art studios or children’s playrooms.

Want To Order Some Samples?

Take a look on our site to see our full range of flooring to choose a few that you’d like to compare and request some samples to see how they would look in your home. You can alternatively visit us at our showroom.

Our Showroom is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. Our showroom address is Unit 1a Drakes Drive, Crendon Industrial Park, Long Crendon, Bucks HP18 9EJ.

Still undecided? Why not give one of our experts a call on 01844 217075 and they will advise you on the best options for your needs.