With real hardwood – There are two subcategories in real hardwood. There’s solid hardwood, and there’s engineered hardwood, and let’s show you some differences between them, and some examples of both. Solid hardwood is one piece of hardwood from top to bottom. As you can see in the cross-section here, this is one piece all the way throughout, from top to bottom. Solid hardwood comes in different thicknesses. Typically it’s three quarters of an inch thick, but it could be five-eighths uh… is the lowest I’ve seen. Sometimes you’ll see a half-inch thickness of the solid hardwood, but five-eights is a little more typical these days, but the most typical you’ll see, the most prevalent is three-quarter inch solid hardwood. So that would be measuring from top to bottom. It’s all one piece of wood, whenever the piece- the product is, the species, oak, maple, um… hickory, three-quarter inch all the way top-to-bottom. The only way, really, to see the difference between solid and engineered is to look at a cross-section, because from the top, just looking at the surface, you can’t tell the difference.
Even with laminate – you can’t tell the difference between a solid hardwood, an engineered hardwood, and a laminate necessarily just by looking at the surface. You have to look at a cross-section and see how the product is actually constructed. As you can see with an engineered hardwood, an engineered hardwood is made up of layers of wood. Typically it’s seven layers, but it can be anywhere from four or five to nine, I’ve even seen, but it’s layered wood, where the wood is actually put at ninety degree angles all the way across, all the way up, and then the top layer, and usually the bottom layer as well, is the real… oak, hickory, maple, whatever the the product is.
It’s that top layer is what they’re referring to. And the top layers vary in thickness. The top layers, just like in solid or in laminate, 0:02:12.700, 0:02:16.470 could have different features. They could have a gloss on ‘em. They could have a um… a handscrape texture, but the top layer is what’s the actual real wood. Now solid hardwood, some differences between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, solid hardwood must be nailed down, nailed or stapled down to a wood sub floor. Okay? You shoot the nails, or the staples, typically right through the tongue at an angle and that’s how you install this. So, typically solid hardwood is not installed on concrete subfloors, concrete floors. There are some glues out there that um… that do work with solid hardwood. They are very expensive. They’re relatively new to the market. We don’t even carry them uh… because we’re not a hundred percent convinced that they are the right product to install. Solid harwood – we still go with the traditional nailed down, staple down to a wood sub floor. Now, years and years ago, solid hardwood was installed by face nailing and putting nails right through the face.
That’s still done, typically only around the perimeter of a room, uh… mostly there is a staple process now, through a nail gun, which you can go out and rent if you don’t wanna buy, and you’re gonna do this project yourself um… where the the staple actually goes through the tongue as I said and then… wood go through the tongue, and then the next piece would click together a tongue and groove, and then you’d continue on through this tongue, and so forth throughout your job. So one major difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood is that solid hardwood must be nailed or stapled down to a wood sub floor. So that typically eliminates um…
The population out there that has no basement, that their home is just built on a concrete slab, and they’re doing their project on the first floor. The engineered hardwood you have options in terms of how to install it. It can go down on it wood subfloor or concrete subfloor. On a concrete subfloor, you can actually glue it down direct. You trowel out glue, and put the actual pieces down. That’s very common, a little more difficult for the do-it-yourselfer, but still very common. The other way to install over a concrete subfloor would be to float. You’d actually glue the tongue and grooves together. Put a thin bead of glue in the groove side. Glue the tongue and grooves together and float over a pad. You’d lay a pad out first, just like in laminate. The other way to do it, if you are on a wood sub floor, is just like with solid. You can actually shoot staples through the tongue side, and install it that way. So, there are some installation differences between solid and engineered.
Typically must be mailed or stapled. Wood subfloor only for solid. Engineered you can glue, you can staple, or you can float. You have your options. Now, with solid hardwood, if you get a deep gouge, a deep scratch, um… something damages the floor itself, you have the option, and this is one of the great benefits of solid, you have the option of sanding the floor and refinishing it. The absolute great benefit of solid hardwood – it can be sanded and refinished. Typically multiple times. It’s typically job done by a professional, and they know just how deep to go to get that gouge out that you’re looking for, to replace or to to fix, and they do a very good job of not taking too much off so that you can do it multiple times if you want.
But if you have a deep gouge, a deep scratch, you want change the stain color, you do have that opportunity to sand and refinish. Now, if the the solid hardwood that you have in your home or your business had a handscraped texture to it, if it gets sanded remember that handscrape is gonna be gone, because they’re gonna take it down to a smooth, flat, level surface, and then they’ll apply the stain. So a definite benefit is that can be sanded and refinished, but keep in mind, with the sanding and refinishing comes a pretty good expense.
Um, could be upwards of two, three dollars a square foot, some cases even more cost to you to get it sanded and refinished. It typically – they do have some newer ways of doing it now but it typically is very messy, very dusty, Typically all the furniture in the home gets moved out. The job takes a few day- two to three days, and then all the furniture gets moved back in, so it is a process, but it is a great benefit to solid hardwood, there’s no doubt about it. SOME engineered hardwoods can be sanded and refinished. Typically, that’s not the case. Typically they can’t be. What it depends on, really, is the thickness of that top layer of the engineered hardwood, and if a professional can actually sand down and still stay within the top layer so that you can stain it, recoat it, and still have a beautiful floor. At Floors To Your Home we don’t recommend sanding and refinishing engineered hardwoods.
It’s just – there are too many people out there doing the sanding and the refinishing, and we don’t want to say to you that we guarantee you that you can sand and refinish this wood X amount of times. That’s just not something we do. We want to be upfront and honest with you and tell you that typically you’re better off on our engineered products not sanding and refinishing. So again, a great difference between the solid and the engineered: can be sanded and refinished, typically not on the engineered. Now, with solid hardwood, solid hardwood is typically the most expensive flooring product, wood flooring product, out on the market. People consider it the best of the best, and it’s a great product, there’s no doubt about it, but there are things you need to consider when you’re buying solid. Because of the nature of the installation, because of shooting the nails into a wood subfloor, you do have the opportunity to see what we call cupping over time. Now, because of changes in humidity and temperature, in your home and in the area you live, you can see, you WILL see, the actual individual boards of wood expand and contract.
Now when they contract, you can see boards – and i’ll show you a liottle example of this – you can see boards tend to come apart a little bit, (they’re not gonna come apart this much) but they will come apart a little bit, and they can cup, and you can see gaps in your floor where before that bevel was tight, the tongue and groove were tight, and maybe they came apart a quarter of an inch, or three-eighths of an inch or half an inch. It’s something that happens, again due to changes in temperature and humidity. It’s very possible that that could happen to you in your installation. With engineered hardwood, because of its layered properties, okay, because it’s not one piece of wood from top to bottom, because of these layers, it has greater stability against changes in humidity and temperature, especially when you float the product, you glue the tongue and grooves together, you will see – there will be expansion contraction, but because it’s a floating floor, the floor will move (you’ll never see it or feel it) the floor will move and take care of itself.
You will not seek cupping with this product. It is a benefit of engineered over the solid hardwood. Those are the main differences between engineered and solid. There really aren’t a lot of other differences. They both, as i’ve said before, they both can have gloss finishes. They both can have textured, handscraped finishes. They both could have beveled edges, any of the aesthetic features can be shared between the two of them. They both come in a variety of species, color stains, everything else is is relatively the same – widths, you know, anywhere from two and a quarter-inch width 0:10:23.890, 0:10:28.320 up to, I’ve even seen thirteen inch wide boards. That could be a solid hardwood or an engineered hardwood. You you really don’t need to pick one of those two to get a specific species or, you know, to get a natural hickory, or to get a three-inch natural hickory. They’re gonna be available in either an engineered product or a solid product.
But the basics of this, and the purpose of this, is to really just tell you the difference, and explain the difference, between a solid hardwood and an engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood, it’s pluses and minuses, it’s a great great product, the best of the best, must be nailed down uh… one piece from top to bottom, can be sanded and refinished. Engineered hardwood: also great product, a great product for those of you out there on concrete slabs, that can’t have the solid.
If you want the real thing, this is it. There is no difference from looking above. Your friends will never know whether you have solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. When you go to resell your home, this is still classified as wood. You can still put ‘W’, for word, on that and M L S sheet. You have wood in your home. Those are the differences. If you have any other specific questions on differences between solid hardwood, engineered hardwood and laminate, please feel free to give our customer service reps a call.
We’re standing by to answer your questions. We’re always happy to help and answer any questions you may have. Thank you. .