When it comes to choosing Solid wood flooring for your home, solid or engineered hardwood, there are a few considerations you’ll need to take into account. One important factor is the location of your home and what rooms it houses, especially those with high humidity or water exposure such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. Solid hardwood isn’t the best choice for these types of wet areas, as it can be damaged by spills and water exposure, and it won’t perform well in basements either where moisture or condensation can occur.
Engineered wood, on the other hand, can be more suitable for these wet areas since it’s a bit more resilient to water. It also has the benefit of a plywood base that’s less prone to warping, making it more suitable for installation on concrete subfloors or for rooms with more fluctuations in temperature or an underfloor heating system. Additionally, engineered wood is easier to clean and maintain than traditional hardwood floors, requiring only sweeping, vacuuming and the occasional damp mopping with an approved wood cleaner.
Solid hardwood has the advantage when it comes to longevity, with a lifespan of up to 100 years if properly cared for. However, engineered wood is a close second with up to 30 years of service possible, assuming the surface hardwood layer can be refinished at least once or twice before it wears out.
Both are environmentally friendly choices if sourced from a responsible supplier and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes sustainable forestry practices around the world. Solid wood has the edge here as it requires more trees to produce than engineered wood, but both can be reclaimed at the end of their lifespan and are biodegradable when discarded.
While many people mistakenly believe that engineered wood is less expensive than traditional hardwood, this is not always the case. In fact, the price of an engineered wood floor can be as much or more than a solid hardwood floor, depending on the thickness and quality of the veneer, the species of the wood and the fabrication process used by the manufacturer.
In addition, it’s important to remember that engineered wood is not a completely natural product and can contain a mix of components such as adhesives which can off gas, although with the recent push for lower VOC emissions this shouldn’t be an issue with quality products. It’s also worth noting that if you’re installing your own floors, solid hardwood is typically more cost effective than engineered, as it’s easier to cut and install and often requires more material than an engineered floor. Regardless of which type of floor you choose, both offer beautiful and durable options for your home that can last for decades and even add to your property value when it’s time to sell or move. Ultimately, it comes down to what’s most important for you and your family.