As you begin the search for hardwood flooring, you will quickly discover that you have a huge selection. In addition to finding different woods, colors, grains, textures, sizes, and styles, you will also find solid and engineered floors. The next few sections will discuss solid vs engineered floors and explain the benefits of each.
The first thing to know about solid hardwood is that the word "solid" is a reference to the thickness and way the wood was milled. In other words, when you find hardwood that is rated as being solid, you know it was created from solid, milled wood coming out of one piece of wood measuring three-quarters of an inch thick. The advantages include having a strong flooring material that can easily be sanded and refinished for many decades to come.
Another benefit of this option when talking about solid hardwood is that as the moisture and humidity levels change the wood is capable of expanding and contracting. To you as the homeowner, this means that the floor will naturally adjust to the environment, giving you consistent beauty and a much longer lasting floor. By using solid hardwood, you eliminate the need for the installer to make adjustments so moisture and humidity changes can be accommodated.
Unlike solid floors, engineered floors are composed of multiple pieces or layers. Hardwood flooring that falls within the engineered category means wood is comprised of layers ranging from three to five. In this case, the hardwood layers are piled on top of each other using a distinct cross-grain design. Once in place, the layers are bonded, using a heat and pressure method. The benefit of solid VA engineered hardwood is again, when the home has changes in humidity, the floor will not respond negatively. This is also a type of flooring that can be installed within any room of the home, to include the bathroom.
Keep in mind, when making comparisons of engineered hardwood with traditional solid hardwood, the primary difference is the engineered wood's ability to handle moisture and humidity. Because the bathroom is the one room of the house that has the most change, professionals never recommend standard solid hardwood be used. However, using engineered hardwood eliminates the problem, making this a more versatile option.
Finally, as with any type of flooring, it is important to have a prepared subfloor and then to have the job done by a professional. With engineered hardwood, it is important that you choose a solid subfloor, which can be made from OSB, wood, or even plywood. Building a beautiful floor on a prepared subfloor will ensure you end up with something that will last for many years to come and with little maintenance.