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Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood: Which one is for you and what are the differences?

Hardwood flooring is a very popular choice for homes and commercial spaces since it is such an enhancement to the appearance of a room. Hardwood is a natural product, and it can be harvested from many types of trees. Hardwood is durable, versatile and beautiful. It is available in a wide variety of shades from brown to grey to red to white and is available in a variety of finishes.

But did you know that hardwood comes in two major types: solid and engineered? If you’re not sure how to choose between the two types or are looking for more insight, give us a call at 240-542-8961 to speak with one of our flooring consultants. At Contract Carpet One, we are proud to serve the homes and businesses of Beltsville, Silver Spring and Bethesda.

Read below for more information and some inspiration!

Is Solid Hardwood Better?

Solid hardwood gets its name because each plank is made from a single piece of solid hardwood. Normally when homeowners are searching for hardwood flooring, they think of solid hardwood as a traditional option. Solid hardwood is composed of one solid strip of wood with a finished surface. In most cases, solid hardwood comes in planks that are ¾’’ thick, but there are other options available for areas that see high foot traffic.

Since solid wood is a thick material, you have the option to refinish your floor multiple times. It is important to refinish your hardwood floors because naturally over time the organic material loses its sheen. Refinishing can be as simple as sanding down the floor, fixing any imperfections, and applying the resurfacing finish. You can install solid hardwood floors in on and above level rooms in your home like dens, living rooms, and bedrooms. 

Hardwood is not moisture-resistant and so is not the best choice for the bathroom. In addition, hardwood should not be installed below ground level, but can be installed on and above ground level.

Great for natural looking floors that don’t have glossy finishes.

Are Engineered Hardwood Floors Durable?

Engineered hardwood gets its name because it is made from at least three and at most five thin layers of wood that are fused together. Interestingly, not all the layers will always be from the same species of wood. This results in a drop in price since the lower layers can be made from a more common wood while the top layer can still be the special species you want to feature!

Engineered hardwood is sturdier than solid wood because the layers are laid cross-directionally and pressed together. This causes the wood grains to run in opposite directions and counterbalances woods tendency to expand or contract due to changes in moisture or weather. Engineered wood is good for above, below, and on ground areas like finished basements, dens, and living rooms. It can handle changing seasons, but is still not suitable in areas with moisture.

Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood cannot be refinished multiple times because of its multiple layers. 

To make engineered hardwood, sheets of wood are laminated together to create one board. In order to get maximum durability and strength, the sheets are laid together in a cross-ply pattern, which alternates the grain pattern between each layer. The sheets are then cut into planks and can be installed in a random pattern to achieve a natural look. Engineered hardwood can be installed at any ground level.


Check out this recent kitchen installation, featuring beautiful hardwood.


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