The main difference is that engineered is more stable and handles water better than the solid version of hardwood.

Both are real wood, so much so that real estate sales associates around the country are legally allowed to advertise engineered wood in their marketing materials. Both increase property values, and potential buyers will often pay more for a home with wood floors.

Any hardwood adds style and warmth to a home and you have an assortment of species, colors, and stains from which to choose. With the right stain, you’ll get the same richness and elegance as solid.

Engineered: taking the hardwood industry by storm

Solid is just as it sounds; one big slab of wood that goes all through each plank. While it’s easy to care for and durable, it can be damaged by excess water which causes warping and cupping. Some rooms, like the bath, are well-known for their wetness, so solid is never recommended for installation there or for any below-grade room.

It also tends to expand and contract to adjust to weather conditions and, while the process of acclimation is simple, you don’t need to be at all concerned with that with engineered.

That hardwood is a layered construction. At the top is a slab of real wood, with the layers below being a combination of wood and other materials. Each layer is positioned in a crisscross manner. That construction is what gives it stability.  

It has a little more flexibility in the rooms in which it can be installed; for example, many southern homes do not have basements, but many also do. If you have a home with a basement, as long as the subfloor is completely dry, you can install it.

Engineered can handle water better, but please know that this hardwood is NOT waterproof. You must exercise caution by wiping spills immediately, avoiding installation in wet, humid and leak-prone rooms for installation, and never submerging in puddles or letting water sit.

To learn more, visit the Specialty Flooring showroom in Ridgeland, SC.