Engineered vs Solid Hardwood Flooring

In a world that is full of comparisons of different products and features, you will find that it can pay to compare items to get the best deal for your money.

By comparing apples to apples (or even apples to oranges), you can find the product that will best fit your needs and your budget.Comparison shopping sound like a lot of work?

Related article:  Best Hardwood Flooring

Related article: Best Engineered Hardwood Flooring

The good news is that this process doesn’t even have to take you out of your home, if you wish, because most research can be done in the privacy of your home on your computer. Additionally, many flooring companies and installers, like Lumber Liquidators will send a consultant to your home to discuss options further.

Compare Prices: Engineered vs. Solid

Want to see a great comparison of prices from a hardwood (engineered and solid) with the guaranteed lowest prices? Take a look at Lumber Liquidators for a huge range of engineered and solid wood flooring.

Today, we are doing the initial work for you! We’re taking the guess work out of the engineered vs solid hardwood flooring debate. Check out the following comparison to help you make the right choice if you are considering either one of these flooring options for your home or a room in your home.

The Great Debate: Engineered and Solid Hardwood Floor

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Engineered vs solid hardwood flooring can start many a lively debate among friends, home builders or remodelers and homeowners. There are pros and cons to both, but for the most part, nobody can tell the difference in the look once the floor is installed. Let price, availability, environment and lifestyle issues help guide your choice.

When considering engineered vs solid hardwood flooring, you first want to take a look at the individual features of each so that you have some basis to compare these two types of flooring. Here are the basics of each of these two types of wood flooring.

Pros of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

1. Versatility and Ease of Installation: Unlike solid hardwood flooring, engineered flooring can be installed in any room that you choose, even a basement, because it can withstand moisture due to the layers of material in the flooring that are designed to withstand buckling and rippling. Engineered flooring can also be installed over radiant floor heating, which can keep your feet warm during those cold winter months.

2. Durability and Maintenance: Caring for engineered hardwood flooring is similar to solid hardwoods, as the top layer, the “wear layer,” that will come into contact with the cleaning materials is essentially the same for both. With any hardwoods (engineered or solid), you will want to avoid abrasive or harsh chemicals like ammonia, and avoid using excessive soaking, as hardwood is susceptible to water damage. Never use a steam cleaner on your hardwood floors-engineered or solid!

3. Price: Engineered hardwood looks just as beautiful as solid hardwood flooring at a much better price that will fit almost anyone’s budget. Engineered hardwood floors also easy to install, saving on the cost of installation if you have the desire to do it yourself.

4. Environmentally Friendly: Engineered hardwood flooring is also more environmentally friendly than solid hardwood floors because the sub-surface layers are made from “junk” or “scrap” wood that would traditionally have been unusable, not the ornamental wood. This approach saves more forests because each tree of the hardwood, the oak, maple, bamboo, etc., can go further than it does with traditional solid wood floors. 

Cons of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Because the engineered hardwood floors are made by compressing a lower quality scrap wood for the first few layers of the planks and then using the traditional hardwood layer on the surface, you cannot refinish the floors very many times. Depending on the thickness of the top layer, you may be able to get up to three or four resurfacings from most engineered hardwood floors. So, while it’s not as long lasting as solid wood flooring, many engineered hardwood floors can be refinished. Despite only having a top layer of traditional hardwood, engineered wood flooring is a durable floor during its lifetime.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring comes in many different varieties of wood species, ranging from the traditional choices like maple or oak to more exotic woods, like bamboo. Solid wood floors are slightly more expensive than an engineered wood flooring, but if you are a diehard wood flooring enthusiast, then you may want to stick with a solid hardwood flooring. As the name implies, solid hardwood flooring planks are the traditional style of wood floors where the planks are made entirely from the hardwood, not from any kind of a wood composite or filler.

Pros of Hardwood Flooring

1. Added Value: When selling your home, if you have a home has solid hardwood floors, the listing price automatically jumps up. This is because the traditional choice of hardwood flooring has long been sought after in real estate and, with the rise in engineered hardwoods and laminates, it is becoming less and less common to find solid hardwoods in newer homes, increasing the demand and the value-add.

2. Potential For Refinishing: Because you can refinish a solid wood floor more times than you can an engineered wood floor, this flooring type lasts longer. This also helps balance some of the environmental problems associated with some wood floors, as you may be using a greater proportion of the hardwood in the initial design, but these solid planks will far outlast the “wear layer” of engineered woods.

3. Enduring and Long-Lasting: While solid hardwoods require a hefty amount of maintenance to keep in pristine condition and solid hardwood flooring can be damaged more easily than engineered hardwoods, there is no doubt that these floors can be refinished and repaired time and again. So while they may not be near the top of the list for durability, they still have a lasting staying power that means they can be revitalized time and again throughout the life of the floor.

4. Timeless Beauty: Truthfully, it is very difficult to tell the difference between a high quality engineered wood floor and a solid hardwood floor. However, there is a certain sentimentality and beauty in knowing that a solid hardwood floor will last through the lifetime of the home. If your home is a place you plan to live in for a long time, there is a certain appeal in knowing that the solid hardwood floors in your home today will be the same floors enjoyed by generations to come.

Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood can’t be installed (or isn’t recommended) in high moisture areas and should be avoided in rooms where water damage is likely, such as the bathroom, basements, or laundry room. Many professionals even recommend to avoid a solid hardwood floor in the kitchen. This is because the higher moisture content in the air — or excessive water on the floor, as from a leak — can cause the wood to ripple or buckle, which will destroy the flooring.

If you have children or pets, then you may want to consider the durability factor of solid hardwood flooring in your decision. Depending on the hardwood used, these floors can be damaged comparatively easily. All solid hardwoods scratch or dent easier than their engineered hardwood counterparts because the wood composite inside an engineered flooring plank is designed to withstand additional wear. However, the “wear layer” of an engineered hardwood floor is comparable to the solid wood counterparts and both will need to be properly maintained with a regular polyurethane or wax sealant in order for them to last.

It was once true that most solid hardwood flooring needed to be professionally installed. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, then this was traditionally a big negative for solid hardwood flooring. However, these days, most hardwood flooring is designed with tongue and groove style planks that can be installed by anyone with a level subfloor. Check out this video to see how to install the tongue-and-grove style planks typical of modern solid or engineered hardwood flooring.

And the Winner of the Engineered vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring Debate Is...

…entirely a matter of preference!

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which of these two flooring options is the right choice for you. Deciding between engineered vs solid hardwood flooring is a decision that should be made carefully. In some cases, your budget will be the determining factor, but if at all possible, it is better to let other considerations make your decision for you. Consider the rooms that you will be installing the flooring in, the people who will be walking on and enjoying the floors, and what your dream flooring is to help you determine the winner between engineered vs. solid hardwood flooring in your particular situation. I also strongly recommend that you reach out to several different manufacturers and suppliers to check out their products and do some comparison shopping between all of the options.

Compare Prices: Engineered vs. Solid

Want to see a great comparison of prices from a hardwood (engineered and solid) with the guaranteed lowest prices? Take a look at Lumber Liquidators for a huge range of engineered and solid wood flooring.

83 thoughts on “Engineered vs Solid Hardwood Flooring

  1. I often hear that engineered floors cannot be refinished as often as solid floors. I am not sure that I understand the reason. If you look at the portion of the solid wood plank above the tongue, this thickness is the same as on engineered planks (this thickness of the real wood surface – not the plywood base). So why would engineered floors have less refinishing potential compared to engineered? The reason I noted the thinkness above the tongue is because the nail or staple is installed on the top side of the tongue fastening the solid plank to the subfloor. If this thickness is the same in solid or engineered wood floors, why is there the refinish limitation for engineered floors?
    Please help me understand why engineered cannot be refinished as often as solid wood floors.
    Thanks!

  2. Good observation!
    I’ve always bought into the theory that the top layer of the engineered wood was what you had to pay attention to in regards to how many times you can refinish the floor. And that layer is thinner than solid wood planks. But you’re right; the T&G, if nails are involved, would dictate how far down you could go before the floor lost integrity.
    So I guess it depends on the engineered floor. They aren’t all made the same, so if the top layer doesn’t go all the way to the T&G it would have fewer refinishes in it than an engineered plank that has a thicker top layer.

  3. What is an average square foot price I should expect to pay for a med./good grade engineered maple floor installed?

  4. Dave, the price of flooring varies by location. Since I don’t sell flooring I don’t know what you can expect in your area. But some phoning around will give you the information you are looking for.

  5. I’m trying to decided between installing a hardwood floor in both my family room and kitchen. their located side by side. We have a large lab and while we cut its nails, it tends to run around the house and cause some scratches. Is the hardwood floor better at resisting scratches or is the engineered floor better.
    Also, do you recommend wood flooring in a kitchen vs. a tile floor.

  6. Hi Bruce,
    Hardwood & engineered floors are pretty much the same on the surface, becuase the top layer of an engineered floor is hardwood, it just isn’t solid hardwood. As mentioned in the article above, a hardwood floor can be refinished more times than an engineered floor. The biggest thing is to make sure that your floor is finished correctly. I personally love Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane formulated for floors and would recommend 3 or 4 coats if you go with flooring that you have to finish yourself. Read through the posts here and be sure to do a search for varathane – search is located at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
    I wouldn’t recommend wood flooring for the kitchen, for the reasons stated above in the article, but it’s a personal choice. If you do choose wood flooring in your kitchen, it’s going to be very, very important to make sure that it will be protected from moisture.
    Oh, also…… be sure to read through the flooring posts for some problems that other homeowners have experienced with marks that dog’s claws can create. Some of the finished flooring that you buy can be very problematic in this area, a big reason why I’d recommend unfinished flooring so you can finish it properly yourself.

  7. Living in Phoenix, Arizona, is there any advantage or disadvantage of solid wood flooring over engineered wood? We have been leaning towards a solid bamboo, but are being told by some that it would have to be installed over a plywood subfloor only and could not or should not be glued down. Is this also correct?

  8. Well……. Bamboo flooring can be glued, I don’t know why they would have told you that it couldn’t be. I am guessing that you have a nice even floor to start out with.
    Most bamboo flooring is engineered, but that’s not necessarily a *bad* thing. The advantage of engineered wood over solid is that it tends to “weather” the temperature and humidity changes better, and in-floor heat too.

  9. We live in Florida and have been told we need to go with an engineered wood floor. If we built up a wood subfloor instead of installing over concrete would there be any advantages to engineered over solid?

  10. Hi T.,
    Did the person(s) who told you that give an explaination why?? It doesn’t make sense. Just be sure that before you put your subfloor down that you make sure to use some sort of moisture barrier between the concrete and the subfloor that you won’t have any moisture issues to contend with your new wood floor (engineered or hardwood). There’s different types of moisture/vapor barriers, so you may want to read further about your options either here on the site or through your favorite search engine. If you want to read up at this site, just use the search bar that’s at the top right-hand of every page.

  11. Hi Kim,
    Yes, it can work, but you’ll need to take into consideration the height of the new floor, especially in front of appliances like a dishwasher, and under doors. There could very well be weight issues to think about too, so you’ll have to make sure that your floor joists are strong enough to support another heavy layer of flooring. If you have infloor heat, then I think that it would not be a good option.

  12. Hello,
    We are having a new home built and have upgraded our hardwood flooring so we are able to pick either a 3″ solid hardwood floor or an engineered 5″ plank floor. I LOVE the 5 in” hand beveled engineered flooring although my biggest concern is that the finish warranty is only good for 15 years vs 25 for the solid HW. I have kids and dogs and having lived in older homes with original HW flooring, know that refinishing is a nice option every 10 years or so. It’s my understanding that we can’t refinish the engineered floors? Any thoughts on this? I can’t really fathom spending this kind of money for a floor that I will have to replace theoretically in 15 years. In addition, we are having the floors installed in a kitchen and powder room where the possiblity of moisture is there. Thanks in advance. So glad I found your site!

  13. Hi Krista,
    Yes, you can refinish engineered HW floors, BUT, remember, the HW layer is much, much thinner than a traditional HW floor, which means you’re not going to be able to sand into it nearly as much and have to be very careful in doing so.

  14. Hi,
    We are putting new flooring in our dining room and family room. We are trying to decide between Bruce engineered hardwood and bamboo. We have a 2 teenagers and a lab. Any suggestions as to which is best?
    Thanks!

  15. Hi Stacy,
    Either one would be good choice, they’re both durable. Your dog is going to be more of a problem for the floor than your teenagers will – or at least should be! ;~) Just be sure to keep your dog’s toenails trimmed so that the floor doesn’t get scratched up.
    Check with the manufacturer to see if there are any sealers that they recommend for putting over the new flooring (yes, it can be done – you just need to make sure it won’t void your warranty!). I’m not saying that you have to do this, just that some people find it helpful.

  16. I am trying to decide between a solid floor versus an engineered wood. The guy that wants to sell me the solid floor tells me that the engineered layers may come apart, delamination. How true a possibility is that?

  17. Message to Lorrie: we all have prejudices about what the best flooring is. There are good flooring choices and products, and poor ones. You can buy an excellent engineered wood flooring just as you can a solid wood flooring. The important issues are what climate you live in, what kind of heating you have, and even which wood choice you want. Environmentally, as The Flooring Lady often chimes in, engineered wood floors are better because they make use of wood scraps.
    I chose an engineered wood flooring in my house because I have in floor heat and engineered wood is more dimensionally stable than solid wood, so it’s going to hold up to my situation better than solid wood.
    Good luck in making your decision.

  18. I am also trying to decide between an engineered wood floor and solid wood floor. I have particle board for my subfloor and was considering a floating floor, but have concerns over the ability to refinish a floating floor. Does anyone have experience with this? Also, one installer suggested stapling an engineered floor to the particle board (rather than rip and replace with plywood) as a way to save money. Thoughts on that?

  19. Hi Shauna,
    If you staple the floating floor then it can’t expand and contract with the differing temperatures/humidity. I guess that it wouldn’t be a floating floor anymore………..
    Anyhoo, plywood is better than particle board, even better is a subfloor on top of the particle board.
    The call is yours, I don’t know what you’re budget is like for this project and you need to do what you think you can do.
    A floating floor can be refinished, you just have to make sure not to go past the depth of the hardwood layer. ;~)

  20. We have a little baby (6 mos.) and a little dog. We found an engineered floor that we really like…actually we liked the solid initially but it’s twice the price. We’re probably only going to live here for another 5 years or so, but need to re-do some of our floors because the old carpeting is nasty.
    Do you think the engineered floor will be ok with a little baby and a little dog (10 lbs) for 4-5 years?

  21. Hi Lou,
    I think the engineered hardwood floor would be a good choice. The biggest thing is to make sure to keep your dog’s toenails trimmed. At least it’s a small dog, so it shouldn’t have as big as an impact on your flooring as say, a german shepherd.

  22. Hi Jen,
    No, not necessarily. If you’re very sensitive to fumes and some dust, then you might want to consider staying someplace else. Plastic sheets can always be put over doorways to keep sanding dust contained as well as fumes (so long as the room is well ventilated of course!). Many products are lower in VOC’s than they used to be, some are no VOC. Costumers want low or no VOC products because of health and environmental concerns. Most manufacturers have listened and have gone ‘green’.

  23. I am leaning toward solid wood floors. I understand when selling a home this maybe a good investment. Which has less indentation form heavy furniture such as sofa or piano, engineered wood or solid wood?

  24. Your article engineered vs solid helped BUT thinking about doing wood floors through out the house except kitchen (has laminate) bathrms have vinyl – should it be the same wood type/pattern everywhere, down stairs in family,living and dining room, upstairs bonus room, bedrooms, and of course the stairs. Currently have wall to wall carpet.

  25. Does anyone know if you can leave hardwood floring in cold temps during the winter month with no heat on in the home?? we were told that it might buckle? is this true?
    thanks for any input , Dick R

  26. Hi Wanda,
    Nope, there’s no real reason to have the same type of wood throughout the house. You can have one type upstairs, another downstairs or you can even have different types in each room – the choice is entirely up to you.

  27. Hi,
    I have an engineered wood floor right now in my kitchen. Where the graining is in the wood, the finish has pitted. You can now see down to the bare wood. The dealer has agreeded to replace it and give me money towards the cost of installing too. He is not sure why this happened. He is telling me to go with engineered again, just get on with less graining such as a maple one. I have 2 dogs, they are both under 100 pounds and don’t spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen. (The dealer is well aware of the dogs too.) What should I do? I have a feeling he’s pushing for engineered due to HIS cost. The floor originally only lasted 1 year and I really don’t want to go through this again. Let me know, Thanks

  28. I’m trying to decide between solid and engineered flooring. I live in the deep south – lots of moisture and slab foundations that shift regularly. I would like to cover 1300 sq ft, including kitchen,laundry room, DR and den in the same floor. What do you suggest?

  29. Wow, haven’t run into having to consider flooring for slab foundations that shift regularly. My first concern would be with moisture content in the slab itself. Are there cracks? Any moisture issues should be addressed first before you even think about flooring. Moisture in the slab itself is going to be a big no-no no matter if you choose engineered or solid hardwood. Moisture and wood don’t mix. As to which would be better on a slab that’s most likely to shift from time to time, I would think engineered would take it better, especially if floated rather than glued.

  30. hi–I am trying to decide btwn hardwood floors and engineered floors, because my subfloor is a weak particle board. Should I find someone to lay down a plywood over my existing subfloor and then have hardwood or just go with the glued down engineered. Long down the road, I will be selling my house so I am also concerned with resale value. Any suggestions?

  31. Hi. We are remodeling and replacing the flooring in the kitchen, Dining Room and Bath. These are all very high traffic (small house with three kids) and we are concidering engineered wood in at least the Kitchen and DR. Also, my Dad uses a scooter which will occasionally be used in these rooms.(Pebbles may come in on the wheels). Do you think that this flooring would work or does anyone have suggestions?? I know that tile is durable but I can’t take standing on that hard of surface. Maybe if I used an extra finishing product – would that help minimize the scratches? Thanks for any help.
    Betsy

  32. we are trying to decide between solid and engineered Brazilian Cherry. We have 3 large dogs (75-120 lbs) and a 6 month old. We want to put it in the kitchen, dining area and living room as it is all 1 big space. Any suggestions?

  33. Hi Lisa,
    Personally, I am a firm believer in hardwood floors when you’re looking ‘down the road’. You can stain them any color you like, finish them with different types of products and they can be refinished many, many times – unlike engineered floors which can only be successfully refinished a few times, cannot have your choice of sealers/finishes applied to them because of the factory finishes and just won’t last ‘forever’.
    You might be better off ripping up the old plywood and putting down new – height is going to be a big factor here. If your old subfloor is saggy, you’ll need to address that issue too – many people (pros included) will use leveling agents or roofing felt to address the issue before putting down a new layer. You’re floor will turn out better if the subflooring is level. ;~)

  34. Hi Betsy and Amy,
    Yes, some extra coats of polyurethane would help with the traffic, but I think that your floor is still going show examples of distress (life!) considering what it will have to go through. I have heard many complaints especially about engineered flooring – mainly with the finishes themselves – you also cannot put extra coats of anything on them. You can find unfinished engineered flooring, which gives you the option to stain the flooring if you’d like and gives you the option of controlling what you use to finish the flooring.
    Amy – be sure to keep those doggie toenail trimmed so they don’t scratch up your new flooring! ;~)

  35. Thanks for all the great advice! We are building a new home. The home is on a basement. We would like to put a wood floor in the kitchen (we like maple). No dogs, one 6 yr. old daughter, the kitchen is not a traffic through way, and we plan to live in the house for 20+ years. I think the main concern might be the sink/dishwasher/ice maker leaking? Engineered or Non-Engineered? Why? And is Maple an ok choice or do you have another suggestion? Thanks again!

  36. Hi Smitty!
    I would suggest solid wood, simply because it can last so much longer because it can be redone so many times (stripping/sanding). I can understand your concern about leaks, but leaks can wreak havoc no matter what type of flooring product you choose. Obviously, linoleums and vinyls might be better choices in a kitchen if you’re worried about leaks, but if the leak gets to the edges, it can damage the subfloor. Accidents happen once in a great while, but you just have to deal with that and hopefully if it happens, it can be dealt with quickly. Finishing the flooring properly is so important and if it’s sealed/finished well the water shouldn’t penetrate anyway.
    Keep in mind too, that some maple varieties are softer than others and will get distressed more easily – not necessarily a bad thing if you’re wanting a country or ‘old type’ feel. I’ve always thought it adds character.
    Stone and ceramic tile are other good choices too. Any flooring you choose is going to require upkeep despite what any manufacturers claim.

  37. Thank you for answering my previous questions. Your site has been very informative to this first time home owner. I forgot to ask you about plank size. I like 4 or even 6 inch planks, but should I go with a narrower size for the kitchen? I’ve heard that narrower planks resist warping better. How much if any should that factor into my decision?

  38. In theory, I think solid hardwood floors add more value to a home. However, we currently have hardwood and are consider changing it out for engineered. The reason is simple. NOISE. Solid hardwood is susceptible to any change in moisture, even in our house in New England, with central air. No matter how constant we try to keep the humidity, eventually the wood contracts & expands which makes them squeak.
    The floors have gotten louder every year since we moved in and now we can hardly stand it. We’ve tried everything from drilling screws through to the joists, liquid fillers etc. Nothing has worked.
    Personally, I’d rather have a quiet home with a good look-alike than real hardwood that sounds like a haunted house. Just my opinion, for people who are trying to decide.
    Good luck with all your home improvements!

  39. Hi Smitty!
    You haven’t mentioned what this new flooring would be installed on. Is the kitchen on a concrete slab? Do you have a basement? If you have a concrete slab or only a crawl space, you should make sure that a good vapor barrier is installed as this will help with humidity issues and minimize any warping. Sounds like 4 or 6 inch planks would work well, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about either way. Smaller planks may have less chance of warping, but any wood would can warp – which is why keeping it dry from underneath is so important.

  40. Hi Kate,
    I know lots of people who live in very humid areas that don’t have problems with their wood floors squeaking. This is usually caused by weak floor joists, or the joists being too far apart to provide the stability wood floors need. Sometimes this can also be caused by humidity if on a concrete slab or there is only a crawl space. Termite damage will also make your joists weak (obviously!) You might want to do a little investigating before you sink your money into new flooring.

  41. My husband and I are debating between installing solid hardwood or engineered wood floors in our great room. We want to install the floor that will be the most valuable for resale. The room is on a concrete slab and there is currently no subfloor (it used to be a garage), just concrete. Is it possible to create a low profile subfloor by floating plywood on a moisture barried such as Delta FL or something similar to prevent us from having to raise exterior french doors that we have in the room? I know engineered hardwood are the easiest solution, but I’m concerned that they are not the best value for resale.

  42. Hi Nicki,
    You are correct, solid hardwood would be best for resale value. Your idea of using a moisture with floating plywood would work well too. You can either nail or glue the hardwood onto it.

  43. I am debating over engineered vs. hardwoods also. I found a beautiful 3/4 inch X 5 Koa at a discount flooring store vs. a Cherry hardwood from a distributor. The installer says the Cherry has 4-6 ft lengths which causes a problem with a tight seam for glued down hardwood whereas the cheaper Koa lengths are shorter. Cutting the 4-6 ft lengths causes the saw to fray the edges. Is this why wide plank 3/4 hardwoods are not recommended for glueing? Is there a wide plank solid wood product with long lengths available for glueing? I would prefer the solid hardwood but I keep hearing engineered is better to glue.

  44. Hi Angie,
    Either one can be glued, but solid is considered more durable and will last longer. You haven’t mentioned what this new flooring is going over (slab, wood or plywood subfloor…..).
    If it is tongue and groove flooring, it can be set into place with a hammer (for click and lock flooring) or nailed down. Some types of hardwood flooring are secured with glue as well, so be sure that you understand what type of flooring that you have before you begin the installation process.
    Using the proper type blade and making sure to replace when it gets even a little dull will help to insure that you don’t get splintering when cutting the wood.
    You might also want to read this article.

  45. I’m sorry for the ommission. I have concrete slab which is part of the problem. I would love the look of wide plank pine(I know it’s soft), but I’m told you can’t install it on slab because the lengths are too long and its too wide to stay glued down. I talked to a guy who specializes in reclaimed wide plank and he says it can be done if you put concrete blocks on the planks after placing it to ensure a tight seal throughout the board. Does this make sense to you and is there other options available to me? Thanks for listening.
    Angie

  46. i wish to install engineered cherry floor in my first floor, over concrete slab. I found a nice 5 inch wide 1/2 inch thick engineered at a local store. My question, is it better to glue the boards straight onto the concrete, or to float the floor over a sound and moisture foam padding. And in floating the floor do you glue each board on the tongue and groove to the next board, or do you just snap each to the other using no glue. I have a dog which is getting to the age that he has accidents, and im worried that urine might seep into the joints and cause problems. Im also concerned that if i have to glue the boards directly onto the concrete, that might be to much for me to handle, causing me to hire a professional increasing my costs.
    I dont know if the weather has anything to do with which install is best. But I live in virginia and the winter is not too bad in this part so i dont run the heat much and i dont think the temperature changes are that drastic.
    kevin

  47. Hi Angie,
    Yes, it does make sense to me – it helps to ensure that the planks stay in their proper position while the adhesive is drying. Make sure that your concrete is level too. Your contractor will have some tricks up his sleeve for that too I’m sure. Make sure too that there are no moisture issues (not just leaking, but dampness that rises through concrete). Good luck!

  48. I am trying to decide whether to go with hardwood or engineered floor for 2 bedrooms. They are on a concrete slab and we’re in Texas. My concerns are if you use a trowel applied moisture barrier and glue 1/2″ thick hardwood down, will there be a potential problems vs using an engineered floor? (I do have a humidity control on my thermostat) And secondly, is there a big difference using hardwood vs engineered flooring for resale?.

  49. Hardwood is better for resale purposes. There shouldn’t be any problems (hardwood vs. engineered) with the method you propose. On engineered though, I prefer the moisture barrier underlayment that is designed for installing a floating floor. Floating the floor allows for the expansion/contraction that is due to variances in humidity/temperature. It sounds like that won’t be much a problem for you though with the humidity control that you have installed.

  50. I am considering engineering vs. hardwood for a kitchen floor. It is on the first floor and would be placed over plywood. We have a pet who does get water on the floor. We are fairly handy diy’s (this will be the third kitchen we have installed). I am very concerned for resale as well. I was unaware that engineered floors may detract from the resale value. Any advice?

  51. I live in a manufactured home with plywood floring and a crawl space. The craw space is separated from the outside by aluminum siding with no backing attached on 2 ft centers to metal furing strips. I want to install 3/4 inch hardwood or should I use engineered wood. I am doing my kitchen, large living room and bedroom 1100 sg ft. Please advise

  52. Hi,
    I live in NJ and I am planning to put hardwood floor in my living room which is a high traffic area. I liked exotic wood like Brazilian cherry but I am not sure about its hardness. I saw my friend’s flooring who did the same one but it has a lot of spaces in between two strips.
    If I go for Engineered wood, what would be the best one? 1/2 inch or more?

  53. Do you have any experience with Provenza Antico (hevea wood) vs Carlton (birch) – both engineered wood flooring? I’m trying to choose between the two.
    Also – will hevea or birch wood withstand my furniture (dents, etc)? They both are on the low end of the Janka hardness scale – but they’re engineered wood, so I don’t know if it’s harder because it’s engineered.
    Finally – I was told I had to use engineered because the wood goes on a slab foundation (California). Is that true?

  54. Hi, I’m considering Mohawk’s solid Tigerwood, any experience with this as far has hardness? Will be installing flooring in bedrooms only and do have two small dogs. Concern is softness of wood, or rather concern is for lack of knowledge of softness of wood…will heavy bedroom furniture ruin flooring?
    Thanks,
    Rizan

  55. Hi Kids,
    While the overall thickness is a good indicator of how sturdy the flooring will be, it’s also important to consider how thick the top layer of hardwood is. The thicker that top layer is, the better. Engineered floors can be refinished if needed, but obviously not as much as a solid hardwood floor can. The thicker the hardwood layer is when dealing with engineered flooring, the more times it can be refinished. Obviously, the thicker overall the engineered product is, the sturdier the overall floor will be.

  56. Hi Lisa,
    I’m sorry, I don’t have any personal experience with either of those flooring products. Have you tried to google to see if you can find any consumer kudos or complaints? Sites such as epinions.com might be helpful as well.
    Engineered wood can be harder than hardwood, but only because of the hard, durable finish that’s applied. You can also get a very hard, durable finish with hardwood when you apply a product such as Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane too – a product like this helps tremendously.
    Some hardwood flooring products can be floated or glued down as well – it all depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations. If glueing, make sure that the concrete has been sealed – many times the adhesive will actually act as a moisture barrier, like Bostick’s Best adhesives.

  57. Hi Rizan,
    To find out the Janka rating (which you can also google for) on this particular flooring product, I’d recommend looking it up on Mohawk’s site or calling them. Heavy furniture sitting on the flooring is usually not a problem, moving the furniture might be and can be avoided by using moving pads of some sort.

  58. We are about to install a wood floor in our Hall, Lounge and Dining room about 37 square meters. The house is only 12 years old with a good concrete floor and no moisture problems.
    The Choice is between a floating Tarkett Engineered floor (14mm – 4mm Oak, 10 mm ply) with 3mm underlay and a Tuscan Solid wood 18mm floor glued to the concrete. The samples of both look very good and overall costs are similar when including installation, glue underlay etc.
    When the floor has been laid, would there be any noticeable difference in sound and feel between Engineered and Solid flooring?

  59. Hello,
    We live in the Houston area and are shopping for hardwood floors to be installed over concrete; however, the sales folks at the few stores that we have visited are insisting that we install Engineered Wood instead of Solid Wood because of the moisture issue in the area. One installer has suggested that he would glue the hardwood floor over concrete after treating the floor with moisture barrier. But others are saying this would be a disaster after a year or so. We are confused and wanted to know your thoughts. Any help would be appreciated.

  60. Hello,
    Thanks for this outstanding forum. My wife and I live in Tampa, FL. Our base floor is a concrete slab. We want to install hardwood floors in our hallways and bedrooms. Every “expert” we’ve spoken to has given us different suggestions. Our biggest challenge is the Florida humidity. We are leaning towards engineered wood versus solid. One salesperson told us that engineered floors sounds cheap and thereby recommended gluing solid wood floors. The next salesperson told us that because of the humidity in FL, we should use a floating engineered floor. The third salesperson recommended a solid floating floor.
    Would you recommend gluing a solid floor, gluing an engineered floor, floating a solid floor, or floating an engineered floor?
    Thanks in advance.

  61. DS,
    Whew! When I put engineered bamboo flooring in my house I heard the same sorts of debates. My conclusion was that regardless of the choice I needed to let the flooring material completely acclimate to my home and its conditions. It took patience, but I’d already had one flooring choice go bad and I was willing to do it right.
    Engineered flooring is more stable than solid wood. It can’t be refinished as many times, but you may not care about that, especially if you take good care of your floor.
    Floating floors do move with climate changes as humidity and heat go up and down and are easier to install than a glue-down. To avoid gluing the edges of the boards/planks be sure to get a click floor, if possible, so you create one large floor that will shift with the weather.
    Good luck. And enjoy that new floor.

  62. I have read all the pages in this article……and we have to tell the builder tomorrow what floor we want. I see that you say you chose bamboo for your own house. We are trying to choose between bamboo and engineered wood. The dealer says the bamboo doesn’t feel like wood when you walk on it..it feels like vinyl and tennis shoes can stick to it and it scuffs more. My whole decision is based on which is truly the best environemntally PLUS the best buy. Would you discuss bamboo vs. engineered hardwood? Thanks.

  63. MB,
    This article and as well as my article on Engineered or Nonengineered Hardwood Flooring which does discuss the environmental decisions between the two should help you in determining what type of flooring will fit your eco-conscious and your budget.

  64. Please clear up confusion as to cost of engineered hardwood and solid hardwood. You stated that engineered hardwood is “less expensive” than solid hardwood. Chris Smitts at ezinearticles.com/Engineered-Hardwood-Floors-Can- Dramatically-Speed-Up-Your Installation says you “may pay a few more dollars for the engineered hardwood floors”.

  65. Lots of great information. My husband and I live in Texas and we are having engineered wood flooring installed in our home. We have cats and a dog, how does engineered wood flooring stand up to pet accidents? Thanks for the help.

  66. GC,
    Engineered wood floors do stand up to moisture better than hard wood. Pet accidents are hard on any floors, but this would be a good choice. I would be sure to ask the installer if any additional sealer is needed, and let them know your concerns.

  67. I came upon your site looking for comparisons about engineered vs solid hardwood for a friend, and feel compelled to say something. Solid hardwood floors are NOT that difficult to install – my husband and I have installed unfinished oak and hickory (and finished them) and finished bamboo – beautiful. We are about to install finished maple, oak, and more bamboo as well as engineered cork. Also, while I applaud the environmental concerns (why we use bamboo, and no, while it doesn’t sound like true hardwood, it certainly doesn’t sound like vinyl!) – engineered wood, while using ‘scrap’ woods, must require more glues (chemicals) to adhere the layers (increased VOCs) – and many scrap woods may not be sustainably harvested either. We obviously use both, and I have seen plenty of engineered wood that is much more expensive than solid. To be fair. Cheers,Angela

  68. Thanks for bringing to my attention that engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid wood. My husband and I have decided that we want to build a deck, and we’d like to put in wood flooring. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go with something engineered so we can save some money on this project.

  69. I want to have a solid hardwood flooring installed in our new home because I know that wood is effective in keeping a home cool. I know that there are a lot of factors to consider in choosing this, that’s why it’s good to know that even when it’s not that durable, it can be repeatedly repaired. That’s a good enough reason for me to choose hardwood. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.

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