Wooden flooring is a great choice for any home – but with many different varieties to choose from, it can also bring a lot of difficult decisions.
Hardwood flooring and engineered wood flooring are the two main options, and they both offer their own pros and cons.
Although you can achieve a very similar style and design with either option, solid hardwood flooring is known to be very hardwearing and durable. This means that it is more of an investment in your home: you will end up with flooring that can last through the generations and become a key selling point for the property if you decide to move.
However, hardwood flooring is also a lot more expensive. If you’re working to a budget, engineered flooring is going to help you avoid overspending while still achieving the desired impact. And, although it doesn’t last as long, it is easier to maintain in the short-term. There are definitely plenty of good reasons to go down this route if you’re less concerned about overall lifespan (and don’t worry – engineered flooring still lasts well, just not with the same durability as hardwood).
To help you make the decision, we’re going to look at each option in more detail, explaining what it is and any strengths and weaknesses. This should help you make an informed decision about which one suits your home.
Solid hardwood flooring
The clue is in the name here: solid wood flooring is made using solid planks of wood, with oak, walnut, cherry and maple being the most popular choices. When you think of a traditional wooden floor complete with long planks of smoothed down wood, this is the type of flooring you’re probably picturing. The different wood choices means that there is lots of variety available, and it can be tailored to suit different styles and tastes.
It is created using planks that interlock to create a seamless finish, and nailed down to the subfloor. The installation process can take a little longer, and requires a skilled practitioner. However once in place, you can expect it to last for up to 100 years. This is because solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished two or three times throughout its lifespan, giving it a new lease of life.
The downside of solid flooring is that its significantly more expensive, and can be harder to maintain. Its more susceptible to warping, and more likely to become scratched or blemished during routine cleaning. The price difference can be as much as double the cost – which makes sense when you consider that it can last for twice as long, but is still not ideal for those on a budget.
Engineered wood flooring looks very similar to hardwood, however it is constructed differently with a top layer of harder that’s bonded over a second layer of plywood. Although the boards tend to be wider than solid wood, and there are larger grooves between each plank, the overall effect is very similar.
One of the biggest strengths of engineered flooring is the fact that its cost effective and easy to install. In fact, many homeowners who are good with DIY are even able to install this type of flooring themselves. Despite this, it still has very good stability and can be expected to last around 30 years. That may not be as long as solid wood flooring, but its far longer than other types of flooring such as carpet, which become shabby quickly.
It’s also easier to keep it clean, as you can run a damp mop over the surface without worrying about damage. For the average homeowner looking for something simple but effective, engineered wood flooring tends to do the job.
So which one is right for you?
There’s no definitive answer here! It all comes down to your priorities. Hardwood flooring is the right option if you’re more focused on longevity – and can also offer more style choices and a slightly more sophisticated overall look and feel. But for anyone with a budget to stick to, or for those who want to prioritise simple everyday upkeep, engineered wood flooring is the perfect alternative. Either way, wood flooring is sure to make a stylish addition to your room.