According to Floor Covering News, a weekly publication that covers the flooring industry, about 90 percent of hardwood sold in the Southwest region of the U.S. is engineered hardwood. The number is nearly as high in the Southeast, where 81 percent of hardwood purchases are engineered.
These statistics can be somewhat misleading, though. Solid hardwood isn’t necessarily unpopular. In fact, we are often asked about solid hardwood by our customers. Engineered hardwood sales are so high because Southern flooring stores don’t really sell solid hardwood. But they don’t sell it because engineered is the better choice, especially for the climate.
So before we tell you all the reasons why, you need to know what the difference between the two is:
Difference between engineered and solid hardwood
Engineered hardwood and solid hardwood floors aren’t cut from the same cloth (or log, rather). To keep it brief, engineered hardwood is made from several different layers of wood, called plies, with a real hardwood veneer on its finish. Solid hardwood is constructed from only one wood piece. If you’re ever confused about how to visually tell the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, you’ll be able to tell by looking at the piece of hardwood from a side angle.
Now that we’ve covered the basic difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, here’s why you probably don’t want solid hardwood floors:
It’s Less Stable
Solid hardwood isn’t as durable as engineered hardwood. Because engineered hardwood is constructed from several different plies, it’s much stronger than a single piece of wood. It’s also manufactured under extreme heat and pressure. That means it’s more durable against temperature and humidity changes than solid hardwood, says Floor Covering News. For South Texans, better resistance to temperature and humidity changes is a must.
It’s More Susceptible to Humidity
Translation: bad news, Corpus Christi. You’ll want to keep humidity levels on the lower end even with engineered hardwood because hardwood and moisture just don’t mix. But solid hardwood is at a higher risk of sustaining damage due to moisture exposure. Why? It all goes back to how each hardwood is made. It’s a lot harder for moisture to penetrate several layers of plies than it is a single piece of wood.
It’s Less Necessary to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors
One small advantage solid hardwood has over engineered hardwood is its ability to be refinished multiple times. Engineered hardwood can typically only be refinished once or twice depending on how thick its veneer finish is. The thing is, with today’s manufacturing technology it’s so rare that you’ll actually need to refinish your hardwood floors. Even if damage occurs, most engineered hardwoods come with long warranties, like Mohawk’s 50-year warranty on its Armormax hardwood floors.
It Uses More Resources
Literally, save the trees. Per Mannington Residential, engineered hardwood floors use half as many trees that solid hardwood floors do. That’s incredible. And yeah, the environment is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re trying to figure out what hardwood floors to buy, but reducing carbon footprints is never a bad thing. We’re all about sustainability.
It’s Less Bang for Your Buck
So there’s no set-in-stone price difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. It all depends on what you’re buying and from whom. In general, they cost around the same price. When you consider the fact that engineered hardwood comes in more colors, textures, thicknesses and sizes than solid hardwood, though, it’s really a no-brainer that engineered is the better value. You just have more options. Plus, solid hardwood floor installation is more expensive because it has to be nailed down, and you can only install solid hardwood at certain levels in your home (never below ground or on a concrete slab).
Still not convinced? We’re always available to answer your questions. Send us a tweet here or call the store at 361.851.9440.