Types of wood flooring: Solid & Engineered Part 1
“Solid” hardwood flooring refers to the fact that the species of wood the flooring is made from is the same material from top to bottom.
Typically, this type of flooring is ¾” thick. Since it is solid hardwood all of the way through it, this type of flooring is more sensitive to the fluctuations of moisture and humidity and therefore is not recommended for any below grade applications such as a basement or any area that is poorly insulated or where moisture cannot be properly controlled.
This construction provides a surface that can be sanded and refinished multiple times and is available in both prefinished and unfinished boards.
“Engineered” wood flooring refers to the multi-layer construction of a board utilizing a combination of real hardwood on the top layer and multi-ply for the rest of the board. Engineered floors vary in thickness from 3/8” to 5/8”. The top layer of the board is what is referred to as the “wear-layer”. This layer is solid wood that can vary in thickness from a thin veneer to ¼ of an inch. The rest of the board will typically be made up of multi-ply layers that are cross laid for extra stability.
This type of wood floor is not to be confused with a laminate floor where no real hardwood is used.
Here in Chicago we can have 2 seasons in one day! Engineered flooring is ideal for climates like the Midwest where there can be extreme fluctuations in humidity and temperature.
The quality and cost of this type of flooring is based on the thickness of the material, thickness of the wear layer, the number of ply’s, the quality of multi-ply used, Birch plywood being your premium material and MDF which is more economical the quality and number of coats of finish that are applied to the board and finally, the reputation of the manufacturer who makes the product. The majority of engineered floors sold are pre-finished though they can be purchased in an unfinished state, and are available in all of the same species that you can find in solid flooring.