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Today we are talking about engineered vs hardwood flooring pros and cons. This is one of the biggest home improvement questions that is asked by home owners and rightfully so. Choosing the right flooring for your space can be overwhelming, especially with so many hardwood flooring options available.
I’m not a flooring expert but I do have real life experience with installing engineered and solid hardwood flooring so I’ve done my homework!
Let’s take a look at why we picked engineered hardwood flooring for our family room makeover at our previous home.
What are Engineered Hardwood Floors
The top layer of engineered flooring is made from real wood. It is essentially a real hardwood veneer that gives you the authentic look and feel of traditional hardwood floors.
These wood planks can mimic the beauty of various hardwood species, offering you a high-quality, durable floor that’s resistant to water damage and temperature changes.
Also, engineered flooring’s easy installation makes it a good choice for DIY enthusiasts and homeowners looking for a hassle-free renovation, even on a concrete slab.
It’s like having the best of both worlds—natural wood aesthetics with none of the moisture issues that can plague solid wood floors.
Engineered Floors – The Affordable Choice
Overall, engineered wood flooring looks great, cleans up nicely and is a great choice for high traffic areas and pets.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Pros of engineered wood flooring
Affordability is the biggest selling feature when it comes to engineered vs solid hardwood. If you are working on a tight budget but desperately want to update a space, then engineered flooring is for you.
The price per square foot typically ranges from $3 – 5 dollars where solid hardwood will run a minimum of $9 and upwards for materials alone.
Durability is the second feature of engineered wood as it’s tough as nails! It’s designed to withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations, making it perfect for family spaces.
Ease of Installation
We installed this engineered flooring in the span of a weekend and that included prepping the subfloor. We used the floating floor method of installation making this a top choice for a DIY installation.
The installation is much easier than solid hardwood and the labor cost (if you are paying someone) is also much cheaper.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
Engineered floors are easy to clean with a mop, water and vinegar. The quick mops like Swiffer Wet Jet also work great.
You don’t need to worry about getting too much water on the floor so cleaning up messes is super easy!
Cons of Engineered Wood Flooring
Limited Sanding and Refinishing
One of the biggest drawbacks of engineered floors is the inability to refinish the floors to a different color down the road.
Depending on the type of engineered flooring you choose, you may be able to have the flooring refinished 1 time later on in life.
It will depend on how much lighter you are going and how much re-sanding needs to be done.
Honestly, for me it’s not a big deal because I don’t ever plan on changing the hardwood floor color so engineered was a no brainer for me.
It’s not secret that solid hardwood floors are the best and hold a lot of value when it comes time to selling your house.
Engineered flooring in the past (like over 10 years ago) got a bad wrap because some were not manufactured well and were honestly, kind of cheap looking and low quality.
That is absolutely not the case anymore and thanks to technology, there are several high and mid grade level engineered flooring options available.
If you can afford solid hardwood floors and budget is not an issue, then solid hardwood may be for you but if budget is the priority, rest assured, you can purchase a great looking floor for much less than you can solid hardwood.
Amazon has some great options for engineered flooring:
- SimpleFloors Engineered Flooring offered in several colors
- Harris Oak Engineered Flooring also offered in a few colors
Hardwood Flooring – Timeless Elegance
Alright, let’s take a look at hardwood flooring pros and cons.
Many will argue, especially the older generation, that there is nothing better than solid hardwood and in some instances I would agree.
For example, if you are going after a certain look (as shown below in our Mediterranean home) that requires a Brazilian Cherry finish, then investing in solid hardwood floors makes sense.
Pros of Solid Wood Flooring
If you are planning to sell your home, many potential buyers will value hardwood flooring as a premium feature. Hardwood floors can definitely boost your home value.
Hardwood floors can last for generations with proper care. They’re the real deal when it comes to longevity, and that classic charm never goes out of style.
Sanding and Refinishing
Real solid hardwood floors can often times be re-sanded up to 3 times if you are looking to change your aesthetic and design of your home.
For example, we recently changed the look of our old world Mediterranean home from a dark stained floor finish (image above) to a light white oak finish and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if the original floors were engineered as the amount of sanding necessary to remove the dark stain was significant.
Engineered hardwood floors don’t have a thick layer of wood on top of the base so if you sand too much, you will remove the actual wood part of the floor.
Cons of Solid Wood Flooring
There is no doubt about it, solid wood flooring is twice as much if not more, than engineered. Not only is the cost of the material double but the labor to install solid wood floor is also significantly higher.
Susceptibility to Moisture
Hardwood doesn’t take kindly to moisture or water for that matter. It can warp or even stain when exposed to excessive dampness, so it might not be the best choice for bathrooms or basements.
We recently had a water leak from our freezers ice machine and we didn’t notice for a few days and the hardwood floor boards in front of the freezer have started to buckle and warp.
It’s fixable but just a pain and will cost money.
To keep those hardwood floors looking pristine, you’ll need to commit to regular maintenance. This includes refinishing every few years, which can be an added cost.
Is Engineered Flooring More Durable Than Hardwood
So, what’s the verdict? Well, it depends on your specific needs and budget. Both engineered and hardwood flooring have their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s all about finding the right balance.
In my opinion, engineered flooring is better suited in damp areas where moisture may be an issue like basements and bathrooms.
We do have solid hardwood in two of our bathrooms and it’s really difficult to keep water spots off the floor.
If you want that classic elegance and have the budget for it, hardwood is the way to go. It’s a long-term investment that pays off not just in terms of value but also in aesthetic appeal.
On the other hand, if you’re renovating on a budget and need something durable, versatile, and stylish, engineered flooring is your best bet. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, which is always a plus. I personally love engineered hardwood floors and so doesn’t my wallet!
Engineered Wood Flooring Before and After
Here is the family room with white berber carpet before we removed the carpet and installed the engineered hardwood floor.
As you can see, the engineered hardwood flooring really transformed this family room and we love how it came out.
In the home improvement journey, choosing the right flooring is a significant choice but keeping these key factors in mind, the decision should be stress free!
Whether you’re leaning towards the timeless beauty of hardwood or the budget-friendly allure of engineered flooring, remember that both have their unique selling points.
More Flooring Posts You Will Love
- best tips for choosing hardwood flooring
- how to remove carpet + prep for hardwood flooring
- how to install engineered hardwood flooring tips
- Vinyl plank flooring installation in a basement
- Why we love vinyl plank flooring in a basement
- Pool house flooring installation for wet areas
- Basement wide pine flooring
Here is a short video of the space from start to finish.
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.