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Flooring dilemma! Solid hardwood vs. engineered hardwood - which is better?

April 2, 2013
I've read about the pros and cons of both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. From a longevity, aesthetic and long-term value perspective, in your opinion, which is best? We're looking to redo our main and 2nd floors (due to flooding!). We currently have the original solid oak flooring (over 100 years old), but it's been sanded/refinished already and can't be done any more. Any insight is appreciated! Thanks!

Comments (11)

  • PRO
    Blue Desert Interiors
    Here in AZ, it's more expensive and costly to put down solid wood in renovation, since most of it goes down on concrete. It sounds like you can easily install solid wood since you have traditional wood floor joists. That being the case, I would do solid wood than you can resand more times than engineered. This meets the longevity and long term value of the home. Aesthetics doesn't make a difference once installed.
  • feeny
    Yes, for longevity you can't beat solid hardwood, as you can see from your own floors which are only now being replaced after more than 100 years! The hardwood floors in our house are 90 years old, have been refinished a number of times (last time 20 years ago) and still have one more refinishing in them (I'm told).
  • cathk99
    Thanks for your feedback! I just realized there's also pre-finished solid hardwood - is the only difference between this and solid hardwood the fact that it's already stained/finished?
  • maureenroth
    The pre-stained floors have a harder finish than an on-site finish, but they have a micro bevel which personally bothers me.
  • feeny
    I've heard professionals on Houzz recommend finishing on site for hardwoods in the kitchen as the coats of polyurethane go between the floorboards that way, protecting better against spills seeping between the boards to the underflooring. I am not an expert, however, and I don't think this is an issue for other rooms--just the kitchen.
  • cathk99
    Thanks feeny! We need the flooring for the living/dining areas and the 2nd floor (bedrooms, hallway, den, etc.), not the kitchen. All this info is helpful (being a farily new homeowner and all!) - I'm leaning towards solid hardwood....just deciding if pre-finished or on-site finishing is the way to go now!
  • adambroderick
    Since you were flooded once, could there be a chance of that happening again? Or was it just a once-in-a-life time event? If so, I would stay away from any type of wood.

    Anyways, I have done both and as far as a flooring repair goes, you can't beat a engineered piece with a good thickness of veneer on it.

    For a repair, just get a new piece from the left over box and install. As for refinishing, it should have at least 1/4 of veneer, I have a mannington product and I think it has about 3/8 of veneer
  • carolavigne
    I just bought a new build home and have had the same debate - and after doing a lot of research on the topic, I've settled on engineered hardwood floors. Depending on the climate where you live, engineered hardwood can last longer. I live in Canada and due to the changing temperatures, the wood wood flooring will expand and contract regularly, which causes warping in solid hardwood floors. Engineered hardwood withstands the switch in temperatures better due to its different layers. Also, solid and engineered hardwoods can be sanded down the same amount of times because you will eventually hit the staples/nails used to install both types of flooring when you sand them down.
  • PRO
    NAS Hardwood Flooring
    When using solid I always prefer unfinished due to the fact that you can choose the actual color that is to be used, making it you own personal floor. Plus trying to match any possible stairs, handrail or other sanded wood that will be used in that room is a difficult task. The ONLY advantage to using refinished is that you do not have to endure any dust or smells from the stains and finishes. That being saiid always prefer unfinished.
    Good luck
    NAS Hardwood Flooring
  • maryraymond

    I'm currently faced with same dilemma....replace carpet with same or some type of hard surface. If wood, it will go into kitchen also. Handscraped laminate? I'm on a slab in Fla.

  • Kat Cheng
    We moved into a new (to us) home, and it has engineered hardwood floors throughout the kitchen, entry, and living room. We have had significant problems with the kitchen area. 1) a leak while we were on vacation, which, though small, resulted in an $8000.00 repair job; 2) a minor water spill, which went unnoticed for a day, caused warping. We have yet to get that damage repaired. I am seriously considering replacing the floor, at least in the kitchen. I would never use engineered hardwood again. Before this house, we only had experience with real hardwood floor. There's no comparison, in my opinion!

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