Best Methods To Tell The Difference Between Hardwood And Engineered Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is generally considered one of the most expensive options for your floor. However, it is also one of the most durable, making it a cost-effective solution in the long term.

However, what you may not realize is that there is more than one type of hardwood flooring, solid and engineered.

It’s important to know the difference before you purchase.

Solid Hardwood

If you’ve ever seen herringbone parquetry flooring then you’ve probably been looking at solid hardwood flooring. It’s stylish and never really goes out of fashion.

Solid hardwood is effectively pieces of wood placed on your floor. Each piece is solid wood crafted into the desired shape and attached to your floor. The fact that it is solid wood means it’s very durable. Stains and even dips in the floor can be sanded out, leaving it looking like new.

Engineered Hardwood

In contrast, engineered hardwood is not solid wood! It is usually made up of three or four layers of wood, glued together. The top layer of engineered flooring is usually solid wood. That means, from the top, engineered flooring looks the same as solid floorings.

Fortunately, there are several ways to tell the difference:

Side Profile

Take a loose piece of solid hardwood flooring and one of engineered flooring. Put the pieces next to each other and you’ll see the engineered flooring has several layers, the solid flooring is just one layer.

Mirror Images

If you can’t get a loose piece of flooring then you’ll need to bring a mirror to check what type of flooring it is. A properly installed wood floor will have spaces, especially around the edge. This allows the wood to expand and contract. You can insert a mirror into this gap and you’ll be able to see the side profile of the wood in the reflection.

Poke The Surface

Another way of telling the difference is to use your fingernail. All you have to do is push your fingernail against the floor. If it is possible to make a small indent in the floor it is likely to be solid hardwood.

This is because solid hardwood floors are finished with a polyurethane solution to protect them. This plastic-based solution will give a little, allowing you to dent the floor in an inconspicuous area.

In contrast, engineered flooring has a baked aluminium oxide coating which won’t indent with a fingernail.

Why You Need To Know The Difference

Both types of flooring are durable and should give you years of service. However, a solid hardwood floor can be sanded multiple times, allowing you to make the flooring look new again.

In contrast, because engineered wood flooring is made of layers, it can only be sanded two or three times. After this, the hardwood top will be gone and the flooring will disintegrate surprisingly easily.

In short, you need to take greater care of engineered wood flooring than you do of solid hardwood flooring.

Feature Image By rhyman007

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