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Engineered Hardwood Vs. Natural Hardwood: Which One Is The Better Choice For Your Home?

Choosing the perfect flooring for your home is no easy task, but when it comes to the timeless beauty of hardwood, the decision becomes even more crucial.

In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between engineered hardwood and natural hardwood flooring options, uncovering their benefits and drawbacks and helping you make an informed choice that suits your lifestyle, budget, and design preferences.

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Key Takeaways

Benefits of Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a type of flooring that combines a top layer made of real wood veneer with multiple layers of high-quality plywood underneath. These layers are bonded under heat and pressure, producing a strong and durable product.
engineered hardwood plank brown

Increased Durability and Stability

Engineered wood is designed to withstand the challenges of daily life. Its layered construction provides enhanced stability, making it less prone to warping and shrinking than a solid hardwood floor. This durability ensures that your solid and engineered hardwood floors can withstand heavy foot traffic and resist impacts from furniture and other objects.

Suitable for Various Environments

Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in various environments, including basements, kitchens, and other areas where moisture and temperature fluctuations occur. Its construction helps minimize the risk of expansion and contraction caused by humidity, making it a versatile choice for different rooms in your home.

Wide Range of Styles and Finishes Available

Engineered hardwood offers an extensive selection of wood species, colors, and finishes to suit your design preferences. Whether you prefer the warm tones of oak or the rich walnut hues, you can find engineered hardwood that matches your desired aesthetic. It also comes in different plank sizes and textures, allowing you to create the look and feel you desire for your home.

Limitations of Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood has a few drawbacks, but some are circumstantial, so they might not apply in your case.
natural hardwood parquet floor

Lower Resale Value

While an engineered hardwood floor provides many benefits, it may not have the same level of perceived value as solid hardwood when it comes to property appraisals. Some potential homebuyers may prefer the authenticity and prestige associated with solid hardwood floors, which could impact resale value.

Limited Refinishing Options

Engineered hardwood typically has a thinner wear layer than solid hardwood, which means it can only be refinished a limited number of times. This is an important consideration if you anticipate the need for frequent refinishing due to heavy wear or scratches. However, it’s worth noting that engineered hardwood’s durable construction often requires less refinishing than solid hardwood.

Thinner Wear Layer

The wear layer of engineered hardwood is thinner than solid hardwood, which affects its overall longevity. While engineered hardwood can still provide decades of use, excessive wear or refinishing can potentially compromise its lifespan. Following proper maintenance and care guidelines is crucial to ensure your floors stay in excellent condition for as long as possible.

Benefits of Natural Hardwood

Natural hardwood refers to solid wood flooring harvested from trees, milled into planks, and installed in your home. It showcases the unique beauty and characteristics of the specific wood species used.
engineered hardwood floor

Authenticity and Timeless Appeal

Natural hardwood offers a sense of authenticity and warmth that is hard to replicate. Its natural variations in grain patterns, knots, and color variations add character and charm to any space. The timeless appeal of natural hardwood floors can enhance the overall aesthetic of your home.

Higher Resale Value and Investment Potential

Solid hardwood flooring is sought after by homebuyers due to its perceived value and durability. Choosing natural hardwood can potentially increase the resale value of your home and be viewed as a desirable investment. It’s an investment in quality that can pay off in the long run.

Ability to Refinish Multiple Times

One significant advantage of natural hardwood is its ability to be refinished multiple times. Over the years, if your floors become scratched or worn, refinishing can restore their original beauty. This process involves sanding down the surface and applying a new finish, allowing you to refresh the appearance and extend the lifespan of your floors.

Drawbacks of Natural Hardwood

When considering natural hardwood for your home, it’s important to be aware of its drawbacks, including susceptibility to moisture and temperature changes, limited installation options, and higher upfront costs compared to engineered hardwood.
natural wood drawbacks

Susceptible to Moisture and Temperature Changes

Natural hardwood is sensitive to moisture and temperature fluctuations. Excessive humidity or dryness can cause the wood to expand or contract, potentially leading to warping or gapping. Maintaining consistent indoor conditions and properly acclimating the wood during installation is crucial to minimize these effects.

Limited Installation Options

Unlike engineered hardwood, natural hardwood is not suitable for all areas of the home, especially those prone to moisture, such as basements or bathrooms. It is also not recommended for installation directly over concrete slabs. Understanding the limitations of your natural hardwood installation options is essential to ensure the longevity of your floors.

Higher Upfront Costs Compared to Engineered Hardwood

Natural hardwood typically has higher upfront costs compared to engineered hardwood. The price can vary depending on the wood species, grade, and finish you choose. It’s essential to consider your budget and long-term investment when deciding between natural and engineered hardwood.

Key Considerations for Homeowners

In the engineered hardwood vs natural hardwood battle, we have to consider some extra factors that will tip the balance in one’s favor.

Foot Traffic and Wear and Tear: Consider the level of activity in your home, including pets and children, to determine the durability requirements of your flooring.

Environmental Conditions: Assess your area’s humidity and temperature fluctuations to select a flooring option that can withstand these conditions.

Upfront Costs: Compare the price per square foot of engineered hardwood and natural hardwood to fit your budget.

Maintenance and Replacement Expenses: Evaluate the long-term costs associated with maintenance, refinishing, and potential replacement of the flooring.

Resale Value: Determine how the choice of flooring may impact the resale value of your home.

Wood Species and Varieties: Explore the wide range of hardwood species available and consider their appearance, color, and grain patterns.

Compatibility with Existing Decor: Ensure that the chosen flooring harmonizes with your current interior design elements, such as furniture, walls, and overall style.

Suitability for Different Areas: Determine if the flooring suits specific areas of your home, such as basements or rooms with moisture exposure.

DIY vs. Professional Installation: Assess your comfort level and skills for installation or decide if professional help is required for a seamless result.

Frequently Asked Questions

Because its solid wood construction allows it to be sanded and refinished several times, solid hardwood flooring comes out on top when it comes to longevity. If you’re basing your decision solely on lifespan, longevity is one of the disadvantages of engineered wood. Although, 30 years is still a decent span of time.

he simplest way to tell the difference between the two types of wood is to pick up a loose plank. Look at the side of the plank. If it is one solid piece of wood with a continuous grain, it’s solid hardwood. If you see different layers of wood, it’s engineered hardwood.

Given that the actual surface of engineered wood flooring is the same as that of solid hardwood flooring, the two are both equally resistant to scratching.

While engineered hardwood flooring is less susceptible to water damage than Solid hardwood flooring, prolonged exposure to liquids can result in damage. Use only a dry to damp mop or cloth for best results when cleaning.

Turn To Modesto's Flooring Experts

At KHB Flooring, we install different floors using our experienced team, quality materials, and the right tools for the job. Whether you’re interested in engineered hardwood floors or prefer the timeless appeal of natural wood, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us to experience first-hand what working with experts in natural and engineered wood flooring is like.

If you’re ready to install your new floor, give us a call at (209) 487-9663 and let’s talk! Or you can request a free quote, and we’ll circle back ASAP!