People find it hard to decide whether solid hardwood or engineered hardwood is right for their house. These questions and answers should help you to think about the differences and which is best for your lifestyle and living space.

Which Is More Sustainable?

Solid hardwood is as near to a tree as you can get. That’s good if it’s sustainable wood, grown in forests that are continually being replaced. Not so good if it’s wood from a tree that takes a long time to grow and which isn’t being grown sustainably. Sustainability here means that the use of the wood for building matches the supply being grown.

Engineered flooring, on the other hand, is incredibly efficient in terms of its use of wood because it’s made up of layers of ply that are bonded together and topped off with a hardwood layer. It doesn’t require prime planks from a tree – it can be made from offcuts, so it really makes the most of the natural resource. Yet the wood top layer makes engineered wood look like a traditional hardwood floor.

Which Lasts Longer?

Hardwood can be sanded down several times and can last for centuries – witness the number of ancient houses with wooden floors. However, damp and humidity can cause problems with hardwood floors, so you need to measure the humidity. The design site Houzz has a good discussion on this, along with an illustration of “cupped” floors which have resulted from excess moisture.

The composite structure of engineered flooring makes it much less likely to warp or move. It’s also more suitable for areas of higher humidity. It can be re-sanded, usually two or three times. It’s definitely better for bathrooms or kitchens, because while it expands and contracts a little, it doesn’t warp or crack as hardwood can, and it copes better with fluctuations in temperature. It will need an appropriate membrane or underlay to cope with the damp, though. It’s best to get expert advice from a competent supplier such as www.woodfloorwarehouse.co.uk.

Which Is Cheaper?

If you are happy with one of the commoner hardwoods, then the cost will probably be comparable between the two choices. Don’t forget, though, that the hardwood boards will need a sub-floor structure and will take longer to install.