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What's the difference between solid wood and engineered wood? Engineered wood is more stable, versatile and affordable than solid wood. Also, solid wook has a tight wear layer and thick wear layer.

Wood texture or background


One question among your customers that likely comes up a lot is: what’s the difference between solid wood and engineered wood? Besides cost, there are many pros and cons among both. As a contractor or retailer, it’s your job to know that difference and educate your consumers. Solid hardwood floors have been around for centuries, thanks to abundant raw materials such as lumber. Today, advanced manufacturing technologies have brought about the emergence of engineered or ply-type construction products, according to Hardwood Floors magazine.

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors each have their own distinct characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Let’s go over what those are.


Engineered prefinished wood flooring is overall more stable, versatile and affordable than its solid wood counterpart. Here are some benefits to engineered wood varieties:

1. Stability. Veneer construction like this tends to be more dimensionally stable due to the fact that each layer of wood is glued to the next layer at a 90-degree angle. What does this accomplish? You don’t see the expansion and contraction, leading to warping, which is found with solid wood. In addition, you won’t get gaps or cupping occurring with the change in humidity levels and seasons.

2. Versatility. As you may well know as a contractor, engineered wood floors are easier to install simply because of the many options you have. They can be glued right to the subfloor or floating floor. They’re particularly well-suited to below-grade installation as well. In contrast, solid wood installation is dependent on just the right conditions for subfloor moisture content and overall climate. Solid hardwood installation involves nailing and stapling, although recent advances have brought about glued or floated versions so there’s no need for a wood subfloor.

3. Affordability. Engineered flooring generally costs less than solid, as it is essentially crafted of many several thin veneers of wood glued to each other, allowing for increased yield of raw materials. The under-layers of the product aren’t noticed by the customer and don’t have to be perfect.


Solid flooring is more attractive only because there is a denser wood grain pattern, plus it’s versatile in that it can be refinished several times over the years. Here are the two main benefits of solid wood:

1. Tight grain pattern. Unlike engineered wood which features a top layer that peels away from the log, solid boards are harvested directly from the raw log. This results in a tight and dense grain that is generally more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This is the major reason so many people choose solid wood flooring over others.

2. Thick wear layer. Due to the presence of a thicker wear layer, solid wood can be sanded, finished and stained several times over its life span. The homeowner even has the option of changing the color if they want.


Being educated about the types of hardwood flooring you sell is crucial to consumer satisfaction. Part of the job involves knowing the difference between engineered and solid prefinished hardwood floors so your customers can make informed decisions about the flooring type they want for their homes and businesses. Adleta is your partner in flooring education, proud to be your trusted hard surface flooring distributor around the country for the past 40 years.

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