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Engineered vs Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons

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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.

Gorgeous Engineered Hardwood Family Room Reveal
Beautiful engineered hardwood flooring in our family room

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.

How to Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring Tips + Tricks
Engineered floors are the best choice for DIY installation

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.

Gorgeous Engineered Hardwood Family Room Reveal

Pros of engineered wood flooring

Affordability

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

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.

How to Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring Tips + Tricks
engineered flooring installation is so easy

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.

Gorgeous Engineered Hardwood Family Room Reveal
Loving our Shaw Floors wide pine plank engineered flooring

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.

Perceived Value

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.

Gorgeous Engineered Hardwood Family Room Reveal
If you are a flooring expert, you may know this is engineered but most would think it was solid hardwood planks

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.

Gorgeous Engineered Hardwood Family Room Reveal
Shaw Fairbanks Maple 5″ engineered flooring in Gold Dust

Amazon has some great options for engineered flooring:

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.

Arhaus dining table, slipcovered parson chairs, Hinkley Modern Traditional Chandelier, greenery, Dash and Albert off white wool rug -1
Our cherry stained hardwood flooring before we refinished the floors to a lighter tone

Pros of Solid Wood Flooring

Add Value

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.

Longevity

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.

how to arrange a living room with a sectional
solid hardwood flooring stained to look like cherry wood floors

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.

Our floors were so dark they needed to be sanded two times to get the stain removed

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.

refinished hardwood flooring in white oak
Our hardwood floors refinished to look like white oak flooring

Cons of Solid Wood Flooring

Higher Cost

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.

refinished hardwood floors in bona nordic sealer
solid red oak flooring refinished to look like white oak flooring

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.

Maintenance Requirements

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.

If you have been following along, you know that the prep work was the difficult part, the hardwood flooring installation was the easy part.

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.

How to Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring Tips + Tricks
DIY engineered hardwood flooring installation

As you can see, the engineered hardwood flooring really transformed this family room and we love how it came out.

Gorgeous Engineered Hardwood Family Room Reveal
The wall color Rainwash coordinates perfectly with the new flooring

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.

Meet Jessica

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.

21 Comments

  1. Oh Jess it looks amazing!!!!
    The color is beautiful and the room looks so pretty – awesome job girl!! I’ll make sure to check out the Shaw line when we replace ours… I don’t even want to think about it yet though.

  2. It looks great! Just the color I have been thinking of. I wonder if the floor scratches easily. Also, I’m clumsy: if I drop something on the floor and chip it, does the color go all the way through past the top layer?

  3. I took a peek at your floor and I will have to say it looks amazing! We have a leak under our house that is causing our old pine boards to buckle. May have to replace our flooring soon. Nice to know that Shaw has such beautiful choices!

  4. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  5. Beautiful floor, Jessica! Thank you for sharing! Quick (unrelated) question -I noticed from the pics that your window grills look painted…did you paint them yourself? Or did they come that way? Thanks!

    Sue

    1. Hi, nope we didn’t paint the window grills, they came that way. Our windows (trim and grills) are brown 😉

  6. Jeri Macinnis says:

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL room!!! ?
    I would love to know the wall colors!!

    1. Hi, thank you! The wall is rainwashed by Sherwin-Williams and the lower part is pure white and extra white (by SW) 🙂

  7. Really wanted to know what exact color and fabric you chose on the Kerry sectional?

  8. Really wanting to know which color and fabric you chose for your Kerry sectional? Do you recommend it for quality as well?

    1. The couch is EXCELLENT quality and firm but not too firm. It holds it shape, meaning, it doesn’t leave the BUTT mark when you get up! -ha. The color is baileys Paprus 🙂

  9. That rug is beautiful! Where did you purchase it and what color is it?

    Thanks!!!

  10. Sara Terry says:

    After thousands of pinterest pics, I have finally found an inspiration pic to share with my designer. I love every single thing about this! Thanks for this amazing post!

  11. Hi! So happy I found your post.
    Are you still happy with your wood floors? I would love to know how they are holding up.
    Thanks

    1. Hi, we sold this house a couple years ago but I when we left they were amazing!!! I am friendly with the new owners and they love them too 🙂

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