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July 12, 2022

Hardwood Flooring Options For Your Home: Solid vs. Engineered

Making your hardwood flooring choices for your home can be a fun challenge. There are different tones, types, textures, patterns, finishes, colors — but before you can decide any of that, you must answer one big question: solid wood or engineered wood floors?


Solid hardwoods are best at ¾-inches thick and 2 ½ to 5-inches wide, because they can be prone to cupping with an increased plank width. Those wider solid hardwood planks will also need to be both glued and nailed down, which can increase installation time and labor costs. So you’ll probably want to look at engineered hardwood if you’re looking for wider wood planks.

Installing solid hardwood planks involves nailing them to the subfloor or nailing them to tar and screeds. One major benefit of solid hardwood planks is that they can be sanded and refinished multiple times over the years — a notable difference from engineered hardwood and the reason they can increase your home’s resale value.

One of the biggest drawbacks to solid hardwood flooring, however, is how susceptible they are to moisture or other water leaks. Moisture can travel quickly through solid planks and cause expansion or cupping and can be costly to repair. Temperature changes can also affect solid hardwood’s expansion and contraction process. Make sure you consider this factor when making your hardwood flooring choices.

Although solid wood flooring used to be substantially more expensive than engineered flooring, that is no longer the case; they are on equal footing these days when it comes to cost.

a newly remodeled white kitchen with beautiful engineered hardwood floors


Engineered hardwood has no similar restrictions when it comes to plank width, giving them a leg up on design options from solid hardwoods.

Although both solid and engineered hardwoods are made from actual wood, engineered wood flooring combines several layers of wood into one plank so that there is one top layer of hardwood veneer and several layers of wood and/or plywood glued together. This specific engineering makes these options more stable and better able to endure environmental changes such as in moisture seeping through or temperature changes.

High-quality engineered hardwood flooring is typically 5/8 to ¾-inches thick, with a very thin veneer layer. The veneer layer can be anywhere from 1/12 to 3/16-inches thick. The veneer thickness is what determines the number of times the engineered wood planks can be sanded down and refinished, while the lower layers determine the strength and stability of the flooring.

Engineered hardwood comes in a wide variety of styles and finishes but can, like solid hardwood, come unfinished so that homeowners can customize stain and surface detailing to fit their preferences. 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both engineering and solid hardwood flooring choices. As with the rest of your custom home, you should pick the option that’s right for you and your family.

a cozy living room with hardwood floors


In this blog, we discussed the differences between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. When it comes to price, there is no substantial difference however, they both have pros and cons. Ultimately, the decision of what wood flooring to use should depend on what works best for you and your family. We love supporting homeowners in the Rochester, MN area with our home remodeling and home design services. Get in touch and contact us!

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