The broad appeal of hardwood flooring has made it a popular choice among homeowners. It has a classic aesthetic that matches a variety of styles, whether you’re working with a traditional interior or something more modern.

However, as you evaluate the many flooring options, you may see the appeal in engineered hardwood. While it’s a composite material, also called manufactured or man-made wood, it’s just as beautiful as solid hardwood with several advantages.

What are the pros and cons of each type of flooring? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know, looking at the cost, environmental factors and maintenance concerns of solid and engineered hardwood.

Variations in Cost

Hardwood flooring

You may not find a consistent cost difference between solid and engineered hardwood. Each’s cost depends on a few factors, and you’ll have a better idea of the price you’ll pay when you compare quotes based on the wood variety, dimensions and finish.

If you want to install the flooring yourself, however, you’ll benefit from engineered hardwood. You can purchase it prefinished, and its floating, lock-into-place construction makes it attractive for do-it-yourselfers. So, if you’re hoping to save on labor costs, the advantage of this type of flooring is clear.

Further Reading:

How Hard Is It to Install a Wood Floor?
How to Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Environmental Factors

Wood floor closeup

Your regional climate should also influence your decision. Engineered hardwood is preferable in more humid areas of the country, as it can withstand more humidity without warping. In the engineered hardwood vs. solid hardwood debate, this is another point in engineered hardwood’s favor.

At the same time, “off-gassing” is a potential issue if you’re worried about toxins in the home. It occurs when newly manufactured items release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that affect human health. Though the reality of this concern is arguable, prefinished solid hardwood flooring has lower formaldehyde emissions.

Care and Maintenance


Your approach to care and maintenance will change if you decide on solid hardwood over engineered hardwood.

With solid hardwood, you’ll need to show greater caution when dealing with water, as it’s very susceptible to water damage.

That said, you can sand and refinish your wood floor to retain its appearance throughout its lifespan.

You can refinish your engineered flooring as well, but too much sanding can lead to issues. Engineered flooring can only withstand the refinishing process a couple of times. Then again, it has moisture-resistant properties that improve its durability, increasing the longevity of your boards.

When deciding on solid or engineered hardwood flooring, there is no “right” answer. You can only look at your unique set of circumstances and determine the best answer for you based on the criteria above.

Whatever you choose, you can feel confident you’re making an educated decision.

Holly Welles is a home improvement writer and blogger. More of her work can be found on her own blog, The Estate Update, where she shares tips for novice homeowners.


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