What is Engineered Wood?
Most homeowners and consumers don’t realize that there are actually two kinds of wood: solid and engineered wood. Both types of wood are used in constructing homes, offices and other structures and can also be for making flooring, furniture, and other accessories. Solid wood vs engineered wood, who would win? This guide will show you.
Engineered wood is made up of many layers of wood. Usually, the top layer of engineered wood is 100% natural wood and may be of any species of tree. The bottom layer is also wood, however, the middle is a core built from 5 to 7 layers of plywood. These layers usually crisscross in different directions which add stability to the wood.
Engineered wood has a highly stable core that is less likely to expand, warp, contract or shift due to moisture, exposure to extremes in temperature and humidity changes. Therefore engineered wood is mainly used for flooring in rooms that are subject to moisture or over a concrete slab or for radiant heating systems.
As the name suggests, solid wood is 100% solid hardwood. Each piece of wood is a single solid piece. Solid hardwood is very strong and can withstand different stresses. Solid wood can be made from any kind of hardwood and can be available in a variety of widths and sizes.
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Solid hardwood is a good choice for the first and second floor of a home. It can be used in high traffic areas because it is durable. It can be installed on living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. Solid hardwood floors are usually installed using nails.
On the other hand, engineered wood is for all other areas where solid hardwood cannot be installed like in basements, over concrete floors or over radiant heating systems. You can count on different installation options for engineered wood like staple, glue or float.
Solid hardwood is strong due to its very solid body. It can be sanded and refinished no matter how many times you do this in a lifetime. The solid construction holds up well for years.
Depending on the wood species, solid hardwood durability comes down to the wood species as well as its protective finish. Harder woods such as hickory and oak are denser and thus more dent resistant and those with more resilient finishes. Solid hardwood sounds and feels solid when you walk on it.
Engineered wood may also be sanded and refinished several times throughout the life of the floor. If you have concerns about moisture, temperature, and humidity then the best choice is an engineered floor.
It has a layered construction that makes it stable against environmental changes. Engineered floors can sound more hollow compared to solid floors. This can be corrected by stapling down the planks instead of floating them. You may also use premium engineered flooring which is thick to look and sound just like real hardwood floors.
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When it comes to comparing the cost of engineered and solid hardwood flooring, a few factors should be considered.
Solid wood is known as the gold standard in flooring, and it’s more expensive. There are, of course, many variables to consider.
Solid hardwood can vary in price depending on the warranty, finish and how many finishing processes have been used for a particular look.
If you prefer a distressed and scraped style then you can expect to pay for more.
Engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid hardwood but of course the exception of premium collections that contain a thicker hardwood top layer.
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Wood species for engineered wood vs. solid hardwood
When it comes to wood species for solid hardwood the three most wear-resistant and the strongest are oak, maple, and hickory. When it comes to engineered wood, there is a number of good wood species to try. You will find engineered wood made from oak, maple, hickory, birch, cherry, and walnut. There are also exotic woods like such as acacia, African mahogany, and Tigerwood.
Engineered wood basically strengthened wood with the top and bottom layers made from 100% natural wood. The middle part is a core built from 5 to 7 layers of plywood. Compared to solid wood, engineered wood is almost similar in strength but no doubt is more beautiful depending on the type of wood that was used as a top and bottom layer.