Solid vs Engineered Floorboards

When purchasing floorboards, there are many things to consider. One of the factors you’ll likely come across is whether to buy solid or engineered flooring. In this post, we will talk about the difference between solid and engineered flooring, the pro’s and con’s of each and how to decide which one is best for you. 

Solid Flooring

Solid flooring is pretty much as the name says- a solid piece of hardwood that is milled into a floorboard. Solid floorboards can be made from a variety of timber species. These include hardwood species such as Blackbutt, Spotted Gum and Ironbark and softwood species such as Cypress Pine and Birch. As you can imagine, hardwood species are a lot more durable and long-lasting than softwood species. 

 

Pro's

One of the main pro’s of solid timber flooring is that it has a longer lifetime than engineered timber. The top layer (lamella) of the floorboard is 5-6mm on a solid timber piece, whereas an engineered board only has about 3-4mm. Each sanding and re-polishing process takes off approximately 1mm of the board, therefore you can get up to double the life out of each board. 

Solid flooring has a much more sturdy and durable feel under foot. When coated with a high quality polyurethane, they are highly suitable for high traffic areas or homes with children and pets.

Con's

One of the mains downsides to solid timber flooring is that they are a lot more costly. It can be up to twice the price of its engineered counterpart. This is because hardwood is a lot more slow growing and therefore sparse than timber from fast growing plantations that are used in the engineered core. This extra timber is factored into the overall cost of the product. 

Another downside to solid timber flooring is the cost of installation. Solid timber needs a floor underneath for support. This subfloor can be constructed with timber joists. While most engineered flooring comes refinished, it’s not uncommon for solid flooring to be sold as a raw product and require varnish after installation. The raw timber needs time to acclimatise to its conditions once installed. This allows the timber to expand and contract, depending on the temperature changes in the environment. This process could take many weeks.

solid tasmanian oak flooring

Engineered Flooring

Solid flooring is pretty much as the name says- a solid piece of hardwood that is milled into a floorboard. Solid floorboards can be made from a variety of timber species. These include hardwood species such as Blackbutt, Spotted Gum and Ironbark and softwood species such as Cypress Pine and Birch. As you can imagine, hardwood species are a lot more durable and long-lasting than softwood species. 

 

Pro's

There are many things to love about engineered flooring. One of the main benefits is that they are a lot cheaper than their solid counterpart. 

Engineered boards generally are more durable under different climatic conditions. This is because the engineered layer prevents the hardwood timber layer from expanding and contracting. They are also more resistant to water damage. Engineered boards are usually pre-finished at the factory, enabling a greater moisture barrier than if they were to be finished onsite. 

Engineered boards are usually much easier to install than their solid counterparts. They can be installed straight onto a slab or even an existing flooring, without requiring any joists. This is great for those undergoing renovations as it reduces demolition costs. Flooring installation of engineered flooring is less complicated than solid flooring, especially since most come refinished, so it’s a great option for DIY projects.

Con's
Depending on the thickness of the top hardwood layer, engineered timber flooring can only be re-sanded roughly 3-4 times in its lifetime. While this may seem like a drawback, re-sanding only recommended roughly every 10 years, engineered timber floorboards still have a very long lifespan.  You’re also not getting the ‘real deal’. The feeling of having solid flooring underfoot has a certain authenticity that can’t be matched with engineered flooring. 

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