Solid vs. Engineered
Which is better? Both perform well, but the important question is which is better for my project? It depends on several factors such as subfloor type, climate/environment, and preferred installation method.
Let’s start by profiling both types of hardwood construction.
Just as the name indicates, solid hardwood floors are manufactured as one single piece. Solid floors are most often 3/4” thick, and is the only size Smart Plank offers for solid construction. Solid hardwood flooring can be installed over plywood or oriented strand board. These floors are naturally durable and can be refinished numerous times, all the way down to the tongue and groove. However, solid floors are more susceptible to expansion and contraction. Typically this movement occurs in the width of the planks, which means that larger widths are more likely to experience movement. Our recommendation is to avoid solid construction if you plan on having planks wider than 5 inches in order to reduce the chance of issues, as excessive movement will stress the wood and lead to splits or other deformities. Regardless, it's important to properly monitor your floor's environment to ensure that it remains as stable as possible.
Engineered hardwood floors are multiple layers of wood adhered together in a cross directional format. This method creates a dimensional stability that limits the seasonal movement seen in solid construction.
The core material is an important element to consider when purchasing an engineered floor. Smart Plank uses premium core materials which provides enhanced durability and protection against movement. Another important consideration is the top layer. Obviously, this is what gives the visual, and it is most directly exposed to foot traffic and the environment.
The appearance is identical to solid floors, but with the stability only engineered construction can provide. With a thick sawn top veneer, an engineered floor can be sanded as many times as a solid floor.
Which is Better?
The net result is that both have their place. Engineered flooring has more installation options. It can be used anywhere in your project. In wide width products, engineered provides additional stability. Many people are drawn to solid because the idea of one solid piece of wood creates the impression that it is better. Practically speaking, high quality engineered wood flooring has everything a solid has and is more stable. This is becoming more accepted as engineered sales continue to grow.