Engineered vs Solid Hardwood

“We are interested in having hardwood installed, but we don’t want that engineered stuff” – something we hear from consumers in some form or another when they come in to our showroom and state their interest in hardwood. No matter the product or the project, we like to educate our clients the best we can on what materials would be effective, efficient and enduring for their home. So let’s strip this ‘engineered vs solid’ hardwood debate back to basics. There is a lot to love about both options – but some contributing factors that may make on type more suitable for your space.


What is it? Hardwood flooring done in layers. A hardwood veneer lays on top then plies of hardwood are laid beneath that most often in a perpendicular direction. These plies are not always the same species or type of wood as the top veneer. Engineered hardwood is NOT laminate as some may think due to the name, it is true hardwood through and through – just done in layers.

  • Built with layered plywood and hardwood to create stability
  • Beautiful, natural look and better suited for wide plank floor styles, no two pieces alike
  • 100% wood – composite
  • Durability does depend on veneer type and thickness, board thickness and finish HOWEVER typically more durable and stable than solid hardwood (common misconception)
  • Specific types of engineered wood may be more suitable for pets over another
  • Does NOT expand or contract due to the layered plywood
  • Less sensitive to moisture than solid hardwood
  • Occasionally sweep or vacuum and can be mopped with approved cleaner
  • May be sanded and refinished once, twice or not at all depending on veneer type
  • Radiant heat compatibility with most engineered hardwood floors, check with specific manufacturer
  • Nailed and glued installation method
  • Price fluctuates based on species, type, width, etc.


What is it? As you would assume, it is a solid piece of hardwood for each plank. Typically about ¾” in thickness.

  • Built with one solid piece of hardwood
  • Beautiful, natural look with no two pieces alike
  • 100% wood – solid
  • Durability does depend on wood type, thickness and width – not as durable as engineered due to the stability the layers of plywood/hardwood create in engineered product
  • Prone to expansion and contraction
  • More sensitive to moisture and temperature fluctuation than engineered hardwood
  • Occasionally sweep or vacuum and can be mopped with approved cleaner
  • Can be sanded and refinished multiple times
  • Radiant heat compatibility with small subset of hardwood floors
  • Nailed installation method
  • Price fluctuates based on species, type, width etc.

So with that said, the decision between solid and engineered wood should be made with the following factors in mind: age of the home, style of the home, expectancy of years in the home, where in the home the floor is being installed, what the subfloor/grade situation is like, and if you plan to refinish/sand in the future. Our team will assist you with all of those decisions once we have a better understand of your wants and needs. Contact us today for a complimentary in-home consult or feel welcome to walk-in to our showroom during our open hours.