The Difference Between Solid Hardwood Flooring and Engineered Hardwood Flooring

There are a lot of different ways water can get into your home and cause quite a bit of damage. Water damage can come from mundane causes like faulty water appliances or from a malfunction in your plumbing system. However, here in Tampa, the chances of serious flooding happening due to hurricanes or other tropical storms are growing every year. As always, it’s not a matter of if a hurricane will strike our beautiful city, but when. We’ve been fortunate over the past 100 years to avoid experiencing a major storm, but we can’t count on that luck forever. Whatever the causes are, water damage is a serious concern for all homeowners.

The fact of the matter is that the first casualty of any kind of flooding is a home’s flooring. We specialize in home restoration here at Premiere Builders, and we want to make sure our community here in Tampa is prepared to deal with any damage that might occur, especially in the event of a major storm. Seeing as the wood flooring in any given home is usually the first thing to experience damage due to flooding, we’ve prepared this article to help you expedite the process of getting your wood flooring restored. Knowing the differences and inherent properties of the different kinds of wood flooring that are available in advance of needing restoration work done is essential to getting your home back in shape as quickly as possible. Let’s face it, in the unfortunate event of serious water damage being done to your home, you don’t want to waste any time in getting your home restored.

There are essentially two major types of wood flooring; solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. Both have inherently different properties and therefore have various limitations in their applications. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between these two types of flooring, cover their pros and cons, and explain where you can and can’t utilize them.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring is a relatively new invention that has revolutionized the flooring industry. It’s durability, strength, and relatively cheap manufacturing cost has made it ubiquitous in homes throughout the world. The ingenious design of engineered hardwood flooring takes advantage of the use of alternating layers of thin sheets of plywood to create a strong, durable surface. The alternating layers of plywood lie between two slightly thicker layers of wood on the top and bottom. On the top layer is wood that is completely natural. The top layer is where you as the homeowner get to decide what species of wood and what kind of stain will be used. The bottom layer is also made of completely natural wood, but as it will be hidden from sight, the species of wood, along with any kind of staining, are mostly obsolete.

The engineered nature of this type of wood is not solely for the purpose of creating a strong and durable surface, although this is of course a top priority for any kind of flooring.

The most important aspect of this type of flooring’s engineered nature is its ability to withstand expanding and contracting in response to changes in temperature and humidity. This ability to withstand expanding or contracting has several implications as to what you can do with this type of flooring. Seeing as it is resistant to the effects of temperature and humidity changes, this type of flooring is excellent for basements, which tend to be cooler and a bit more humid than the rest of the home. Another implication regarding this type of flooring’s resistance to temperature and humidity changes is that it can be cut into planks that are as wide as you desire. Utilizing wide planks is not possible for other types of flooring that are not engineered to be as resistant to changes in temperature and humidity. This is because they would be much more likely to expand and contract when such changes occur.

Engineered hardwood flooring is a little bit thinner relative to other types of wood flooring. While it can be sanded and refinished a handful of times throughout its lifetime, the number of times you can do this is limited. The top layer of natural wood can only be sanded down so many times before the middle section of alternating layers of plywood will be exposed. This means that if your floor is subjected to a lot of wear and tear, you may need to have the top layer of wood replaced after some time. That being said, this is really the only considerable drawback to engineered hardwood flooring, and the many pros heavily outweigh this one single con.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is a classic and authentic choice for any home. Each floor board is made of one single solid piece of wood, meaning that the flooring is extremely durable and strong, and can be sanded and refinished over and over again. This means that any wear and tear that might occur can be fixed repeatedly, so these floors really can last a lifetime. There are only a few minor drawbacks to this type of flooring. The first is that it can’t be cut into very wide planks, as they will be too susceptible to expanding and contracting in response to changing temperatures and humidity levels, ultimately causing your floor boards to warp. This susceptibility to changes in temperature and humidity levels also means that this type of flooring is not ideal for use in basements, nor can it be laid down over concrete slab foundations. Unfortunately, concrete slab foundations just experience too much fluctuation in terms of temperature and humidity as the seasons change for them to be used with solid hardwood flooring.

There is one more thing to consider when it comes to solid hardwood flooring, and that is the impact that comes with harvesting the type of wood you choose to use. As stated above, each floorboard of solid hardwood flooring is a solid piece of wood, meaning that the floorboards are coming directly from nature. Every species of wood that is available for use as flooring has different growth rates, grows in different conditions, and is harvested in different ways. Therefore, you should take care to understand exactly where the wood you want to use is grown, who harvests it and how it is harvested. Not every timber company takes enough care to make sure their product is being harvested sustainably, nor does every company treat their workers with fairness. If those kinds of things matter to you, it is important that you do your research when deciding what species of wood you want to use for your solid hardwood flooring.


We hope this article has helped expedite the process of choosing your home’s next flooring layout in the event that you are in need of home restoration. Both of these types of flooring are excellent options, and each have their pros and cons. In the unfortunate event that your home is subjected to flooding, this information will help you make your restoration decisions quickly, so that your home can be back to normal as soon as possible. If you are ever in need of any restoration work for your home, please get in contact with us right away! Remember, we are always committed to providing free estimates for any and all projects.