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Whats the difference between engineered and solid wood flooring?


30th July 2019

Solid wood floorboards are cut from single pieces of timber, so they’re incredibly straightforward in terms of construction, whilst they’re completely natural. Engineered floorboards are made from several layers of wood, and these are then pushed together. The top layer is a veneer of solid wood, so this is why it looks just like regular solid wood flooring, however, beneath the surface, the core is constructed of different woods. Many engineered flooring options feature a layer of plywood with a hardwood surface, so you get the look and feel of real wood, without any of the drawbacks. For example, engineered wood flooring is more resistant to fluctuations in temperature and humidity than solid wood flooring, whilst it’s cheaper too.

So why is solid hardwood so expensive compared to engineered?

Solid hardwood can shrink or warp, making installations a little trickier, but it is famous for its durability because it is completely solid and cut from one piece of timber. It can also gain a great deal of character as it ages, whilst it can be sanded and refinished multiple times during its lifetime, meaning it can last for more than a century! You’ll often find solid hardwood used in high traffic areas, such as hallways, kitchens and living rooms, especially in many historic town houses. That said there’s a deep history of wood flooring. Popularity soared in colonial America, when the first floors were wide, thick planks cut from the continent's abundant old-growth forests, so this type of flooring has certainly impressed over the last 400+ years, remaining popular to this very day.

Is engineered flooring an improvement on solid wood?

This is difficult to answer, because for some people long life expectancy is the top priority, and solid wood will win hands-down in this category, yet engineered oak flooring is quick and easy to install, and can be used with underfloor heating with a click system for optimum convenience. So it really does depend on the character and qualities you’re looking for. Even though engineered flooring may not be quite as durable as solid oak or walnut, its layered construction provides stability against environmental changes, whilst it too can be sanded down and refinished numerous times throughout its life. Some people feel there is likely to be a major difference in sound, with engineered floorboards more likely to make creaking noises, but this simply is not the case. You can find many engineered floorboards with good acoustic properties, whilst soundproofing can be carried out if this is a major concern.

Why do UK Sleepers supply both types?

We know that contemplating the different features of these flooring options can feel a bit like a ping pong rally. The truth is there are plenty of reasons to choose engineered wood flooring, and there are just as many motives for choosing solid wood flooring, but it really comes down to a careful consideration of:

  • Practicality
  • Budget
  • Style
  • Ease of installation
  • Durability
  • Finishing Options

Whether you choose engineered or solid wood, you’ll be guaranteed a quality natural finish that will add value to your home. If you’d like to speak to us about your needs in more detail or need some advice on the ideal solution for your project, please call us today on 01536 267 107.



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