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Solid vs. Engineered – which one is the right choice for you?



Engineered wood is produced with three to five layers of hardwood.  Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure. As a result, engineered wood flooring is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity and can be install at all levels of the home.

If you plan to install over concrete, you must us an engineered product to ensure structural integrity.


Solid wood is milled from a single piece of hardwood ¾” thick. Because of its thickness, a solid wood floor can be sanded and refinished over several generations of use. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts with changes in your home’s relative humidity. Installers compensate for this movement with and expansion gap between the floor and wall.  Base molding or quarter round is traditionally used to cover this gap.

The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls in three categories:

On grade—at ground level

Above grade—any second level or higher

Below grade—any floor below ground level-including basements and sunken living rooms

Traditional solid hardwoods are not suited for below-grade installation because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of engineered hardwood allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier is used.

If you are considering flooring for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it is not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.

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