Choosing Between Solid and Engineered Hardwood Flooring | Murphy Construction

Hardwood floors give a space character and warmth, making the environment feel more intimate and elegant, whether in a business or a home. Now, the choices in hardwood flooring are expanding with new product lines and an increasing availability of sustainably harvested wood and flooring choices.

Solid Wood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is generally installed over a subfloor of plywood or a similar material and is attached to the subflooring with nails. Solid wood flooring is milled into planks approximately ¾ inch (1.9cm) thick with a tongue and groove edge on each side of planks which are 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) wide.

While the look of solid hardwood flooring is outstanding, these floors are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, making solid wood flooring unsuitable for installation over concrete sub-floors or below grade. Solid wood flooring is also usually best not used in rooms where moisture is present, such as kitchens, baths, laundry, and patio areas.

Engineered hardwood flooring has a veneer of hardwood laminated to a multi-layered plywood base and is manufactured into planks of widths between 3 and 7 inches (7.6 and 17.8cm). The veneer comes in thicknesses ranging between .02 and .24 inches (.6mm and 6mm) and is made from many species of hardwood including:

  • Red oak
  • Black and English walnut
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Mahogany
  • Bamboo
  • And many others.

Engineered hardwood flooring is more tolerant of temperature fluctuation and is faster and easier to install compared to solid wood flooring. Because it comes in several thicknesses, it is easier to install at intersections between rooms where there may be a difference in floor elevation.

Because it is glued to the subfloor and has greater moisture resistance, engineered hardwood flooring can be used in kitchens and other moisture-prone areas, and engineered hardwood flooring with thicker veneers can be refinished like solid flooring, but not as many times.

A high-quality engineered hardwood floor can be hard to distinguish from a solid wood floor, and engineered flooring is manufactured using less wood per square yard, making it a more environmentally sustainable product. Fast growing, extra-hard bamboo is another sustainable and affordable choice as a veneer of engineered flooring products.

When you are building or remodeling your Southern California home, office, or business, Murphys Construction is ready to help you with all phases of construction, including installing your solid or engineered hardwood floor.