Interested in having hardwood floors installed in your home? If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to consider your options and do some research on the types of flooring available. Different flooring types may suit certain areas of your home better than others (for example, hardwood in a bathroom or other moist area typically isn’t a good idea). When it comes to selecting wood floors, a homeowner must first decide whether to go with solid hardwood or the engineered variety. What’s the difference? Keep reading to find out.
As the name suggests, a solid hardwood plank is made up of a single piece of wood (whether it is oak, maple or birch). It’s solid all the way through, which means this type of flooring can be refinished over and over again.
An engineered wood floor is made up of several layers of real wood. The layers don’t need to be of the same type of wood. The grains of the layers are laid perpendicular to each other, and the layers are bonded under very high pressure. This makes them especially strong and not as likely to be subjected to the type of movement seen in solid hardwood flooring during fluctuations in a room’s temperature and humidity. The highest quality wood makes up the top layer. It’s possible for engineered wood floors to be refinished, but this can’t be done as often as with solid hardwood flooring.
Both engineered and solid hardwood flooring can be installed on grade or below grade, though they shouldn’t be installed directly on concrete. A vapor barrier should be placed between the wood and the concrete sub-floor.
When it comes to engineered and solid hardwood floors, the care and maintenance is pretty much the same. Homeowners can extend the life of their wood floors by taking simple precautions like using area rugs and asking guests and members of the household to refrain from walking on the floors with shoes that could cause damage (high heels, cleats, etc).
Never wet mop your wood floors! For regular cleaning, use only a dry mop. Even though an engineered wood floor isn’t as likely to warp as a solid wood floor, it can still become discolored and its finish can be marred.
While both solid and engineered hardwood floors are relatively simple to install (if you know what you’re doing), we still recommend hiring a trained professional. A professional installer will get the job done quicker and you’re more likely to be satisfied with the results. It’s also a good idea to use a professional to sand and refinish hardwood floors, a job which is labor-intensive.