Engineered Wood vs Hardwood Floors

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood in Denver, CO & Beyond

A+ Hardwood Floors: Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring

Choosing the right flooring for your home is a crucial decision, as it not only impacts the aesthetics but also the functionality and durability of your living space. When it comes to timeless elegance and natural charm, two contenders often take center stage: Hardwood Flooring and Engineered Hardwood Flooring. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the characteristics, advantages, and considerations of both options to help you make an informed decision for your home.

What is Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring is a type of flooring material made from solid, natural wood derived from various hardwood tree species. It is renowned for its timeless beauty, durability, and the natural warmth it adds to interior spaces. Each plank comes from a single piece of wood, usually about ¾ inch thick. The type of wood used can range from popular varieties like oak, maple, and cherry to exotic types such as Brazilian cherry or purpleheart.

What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered hardwood is a type of flooring made from real wood. However, unlike hardwood flooring that uses a single plank of wood, engineered wood consists of several layers. The top layer is genuine hardwood, but beneath it are multiple layers of different wood materials. The top layer, known as the wear layer or veneer, is made of real hardwood, while the underlying layers are typically composed of plywood or high-density fiberboard (HDF), which makes it a more eco-friendly option as it doesn’t use as many trees in its construction. Here's a breakdown of the typical construction of engineered hardwood flooring:

  • Wear Layer (Veneer) – The top layer is a thin slice of real hardwood, usually ranging from 0.6 to 6 millimeters in thickness. This layer determines the appearance of the flooring, showcasing the natural grain patterns and color of the chosen hardwood species.
  • Core Layers – Beneath the wear layer, there are multiple layers of plywood or HDF. These layers are stacked in a cross-grain configuration, which provides stability and resistance to the expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Backing Layer –The bottom layer serves as a backing and provides additional support and stability to the flooring.

 Durability: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Traditional hardwood floors, made from solid wood, are known for their exceptional durability and longevity. With proper care and maintenance, hardwood floors can last for generations. The ability to sand and refinish multiple times allows for the removal of scratches and dents, contributing to its long lifespan. This also allows homeowners to change the style of the floor to keep up with their style and the current trends. 
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwood floors consist of a top layer of real wood bonded to layers of plywood. The number of times it can be refinished depends on the thickness of that top layer. While they are generally durable, their lifespan may be slightly shorter compared to solid hardwood. However, advancements in technology have led to the development of high-quality engineered hardwoods that offer impressive durability.

Maintenance & Care: Engineered Wood Flooring vs. Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Maintenance for hardwood floors involves regular cleaning, avoiding excess moisture, and promptly addressing spills. Periodic refinishing may be required to remove scratches and dents, but the process helps extend the life of the floor.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwoods are generally easier to maintain than solid hardwoods. Regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping are usually sufficient. It's important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure proper care, as some engineered floors may have limitations on refinishing.

Size: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Hardwood flooring planks are typically known for their substantial thickness, measuring 3/4 inch. The standard width for hardwood flooring planks is 2 1/4 inches, offering a classic and timeless look. While there are variations available, it's noteworthy that hardwood planks are usually never more than four inches wide. This narrower width contributes to the traditional aesthetic associated with hardwood floors. Hardwood planks can vary significantly in length, ranging from 12 to 84 inches.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwoods offer more flexibility in terms of sizes and can come in wider planks. In contrast to solid hardwood, engineered wood flooring planks are generally thinner, with thicknesses ranging from 3/8 to 9/16 inches. While this might raise concerns about durability, modern engineering has led to high-quality, stable products that still offer impressive longevity. Engineered wood flooring often boasts wider planks, with widths reaching up to seven inches. This broader width contributes to a more contemporary and expansive appearance, making it well-suited for modern and open-concept living spaces. The increased width can visually enhance the overall design of a room. Similar to hardwood floors, engineered wood planks can vary in length, ranging from 12 to 60 inches.

Cost: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Solid hardwood floors are often perceived as a premium option, and the upfront cost can be higher than that of engineered hardwood. However, considering their longevity and the potential for refinishing, the investment pays off over time.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwoods are generally more cost-effective upfront, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners. However, it's essential to consider the long-term value and potential refinishing limitations when evaluating the overall cost.

Installation: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Installing solid hardwood floors is a meticulous process that often involves nailing or stapling the planks to a wooden subfloor. It may be more time-consuming and may require professional installation for optimal results.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – One of the biggest advantages of engineered wood flooring is the ease of installation. Engineered wood floors offer more installation flexibility. They can be installed as floating floors, glued down, or nailed down, and they are suitable for various subfloor types. This makes them a more DIY-friendly option and can reduce installation costs.

Style: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – The classic beauty and warmth of solid hardwood floors have timeless appeal. They come in a variety of wood species, each with its unique grain patterns and colors, allowing homeowners to choose a style that complements their aesthetic preferences. Plus, hardwood flooring showcases the authentic beauty of natural wood. Each plank is cut from a single piece of solid hardwood, preserving the unique grain patterns, knots, and color variations inherent in the wood species.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwoods also offer a wide range of styles and species. With advancements in manufacturing, they can mimic the look of solid hardwood, providing options for those who appreciate the aesthetics of hardwood but prefer the benefits of engineered flooring.

Comfort: Engineered Wood Flooring Vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Solid hardwood floors offer a solid and substantial feel underfoot, providing a sense of luxury and comfort. They also provide natural insulation that helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. It can feel warm underfoot and is compatible with radiant heating systems.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwoods, with their layered construction, can be more stable than solid hardwoods, making them less prone to expansion and contraction due to temperature and humidity changes. This stability can contribute to a more consistent and comfortable feel underfoot.

Sustainability: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Sustainability can vary depending on the source of the hardwood. Opting for hardwood from responsibly managed forests or certified sustainable sources can enhance the eco-friendliness of solid hardwood floors.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Some engineered hardwoods use recycled or fast-growing wood species for the core layers, making them a potentially more sustainable choice.

Moisture Resistance: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Solid hardwood floors are susceptible to moisture and humidity, which can lead to warping or cupping. They are more susceptible to weather changes. It's crucial to avoid installing them in areas prone to high moisture levels, such as basements or bathrooms.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwood is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood. Its layered structure helps it resist warping and cupping, making it suitable for environments with fluctuations in temperature and humidity, including basements, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Resale Value: Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood

Hardwood Floors – Homes with solid hardwood floors often have a higher perceived value in the real estate market. The timeless appeal and durability of hardwood can be a significant selling point for potential buyers.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – While engineered hardwoods may not carry the same level of prestige as solid hardwoods, they still contribute positively to a home's resale value. The key is to highlight the quality and durability of the engineered flooring to potential buyers.

Explore Your Options With A+ Hardwood Floors

At A+ Hardwood Floors, located in Denver, CO, and servicing surrounding areas, we aim to assist you in the debate between Engineered Wood Flooring vs. hardwood. But there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Solid hardwoods offer timeless beauty and long-term durability, while engineered hardwoods provide versatility, cost-effectiveness, and improved resistance to moisture.

Consider factors such as your lifestyle, the environment in which the flooring will be installed, and your long-term goals for the home. Whichever option you choose, proper installation and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and beauty of your chosen flooring. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information or for expert installation services.