Nothing beats the beauty and elegance of a genuine hardwood floor. If you are thinking about installing a hardwood floor in your home, you will want to learn the differences between solid and engineered hardwood. Both are real wood and both are very similar, however, they also offer many significant distinctions.

Big Differences

Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. Solid hardwood floors were originally used for structural purposes, being installed perpendicular to the wooden support beams of a building known as joists or bearers. With the increased use of concrete as a subfloor in some parts of the world, engineered wood flooring has gained some popularity. However, solid wood floors are still common and popular. Solid wood floors have a thicker wear surface and can be sanded and finished more times than an engineered wood floor. It is not uncommon for homes in New England, Eastern Canada, and Europe which are several hundred years old to have the original solid wood floor still in use today.

Engineered hardwood flooring is composed of two or more layers of wood in the form of a plank. The top layer (lamella) is the wood that is visible when the flooring is installed and is adhered to the core. The increased stability of engineered wood is achieved by running each layer at a 90° angle to the layer above. This stability makes it a universal product that can be installed over all types of subfloors above, below or on grade. Engineered wood is the most common type of wood flooring used globally.

Where they can be installed

Solid hardwood expands and contacts in reaction to different moisture and temperature levels in different areas. Therefore, solid hardwood floors are only recommended for rooms at ground level or above.

Engineered hardwood floors are constructed in a way that created a structure that is far less likely to buckle, gap, or react to fluctuations in humidity temperature. Engineered hardwood can be installed on any floor, including the basement and bathroom.


Solid hardwood doesn’t just look good, they are good. They are made to be lived on, used, and abused. Not to mention the extremely tough coating that they receive to further increase their strength. There is nothing like a true solid hardwood floor.

Engineered hardwood floors are also quite durable and also have an extremely tough coating. Though they are not as strong as solid hardwood, they are the next best thing.


Solid hardwood flooring is either flues, nailed, or stapled to a wood subfloor. It is best to let the pros do this since it’s quite a tough job even for the most experienced DIY’er.

Engineered hardwood are either nailed down or glued down just like solid hardwood. They can also be installed as floating floors which the boards attach to each other and are not glued or nailed to the floor.


Solid hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished many times throughout their life. Depending on the board thickness, they can be refinished up to 10 times.

Engineered hardwood boards can also be refinished, but much less. Usually 1 or 2 times.


Solid hardwood floors may cost more than engineered floors, but that’s not always the case. There are many factors that affect the final cost, including installation method, labor, and subfloor condition. One way to reduce expenses is to install the floor yourself. Engineered wood installations are more DIY-friendly. Armstrong’s price estimator is a helpful tool to get an estimate for the cost of buying and installing a hardwood floor.

———————————Reprinted from Wikipedia