This is a question faced day in and day out by hundreds of home improvers, DIY-ers and builders. While solid wood flooring is arguably amongst the most durable flooring solution you can choose, there are other factors you need to take into account before making your final decision. However, before looking at the pro’s and cons of each, it’s probably worth touching on what we really mean by “engineered” and “solid wood”.
In a nutshell, the difference between the two is in their make-up. Solid wood floor, as the name suggests is made from one single plank of wood whereas engineered wood flooring is made up of a thin layer of wood on top of a plywood base. It’s important to stress that we’re not on about laminated flooring here, which is another, totally different product, we’re on about engineered flooring.
In order to help you make the right decision for your needs, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
1. Do you have an under floor heating system?
2. Is the area where you intend to fit the floor likely have moisture or any water spillage, for example in a kitchen?
3. Is your room subject to a lot of sunshine?
4. Does your home suffer from any form of dampness or is it left un-aired for lengthy periods?
5. Is your house is located close to a source of moisture eg. a river, a stream, a lake or by the coast?
6. Is the floor going to be fitted in a commercial space where there is a lot of through traffic?
7. Do you want the floor to float or do you want to fix it by gluing or nailing it?
Nowadays the price of a solid floor and the price of an engineered floor are pretty similar. That said, in certain cases, engineered planks can end up more expensive due to the labour costs involved in their production as well as the fact that they come in longer and wider machined options, which can come out pricier.
One major advantage of engineered boards is their ability to deal with extreme and unstable conditions like those described above. Its stability and the way it’s made mean it can combat the pressures of a lot of through traffic and can remain more stable under extreme conditions than solid wood.
All of that said, a solid wood floor is extremely durable as can be evidenced from the number of ancient floors around which are still in pristine condition. And of course, for many people, the feeling of stepping on a solid wood floor is second to none.
So, the answer to the question solid wood or engineered is so subjective that there is no right or wrong answer, it all depends on your property’s conditions, your needs, your taste and of course your budget.