comparing pre-finished engineered with pre-finished solid hardwood floors

with Mike Dickinson (Dickinson Hardwood Flooring, Inc.)

Hardwood flooring is timelessly classy. Today, however, we have more hardwood flooring options than ever before, making it difficult to know what is best for our circumstances. In an earlier post, Mike Dickinson of Dickinson Hardwood Flooring, Inc. helped us understand the strengths and weaknesses of pre-finished v. job-site finished hardwood floors. In this post, Mike helps us take a closer look at pre-finished floors, .

An article on presents six points for comparing pre-finished engineered and pre-finished solid hardwood floors.

1: Durability — “Both engineered and solid hardwood floors offer great durability and a long lifespan.” However, since it is “the finish that provides the main protection” and “the hardness of the wood species” that determines how well it holds up against dents, you’ll need to be careful with what you choose.

2: Lifespan — As long as an engineered hardwood floor has “a good thick wear layer,” it will “serve you just as well as” a solid hardwood floor. This is because “there are only so many times you can refinish a solid wood plank” before you reach the tongue and groove.

3: PriceMike Dickinson tells us, “Pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring is typically less expensive than pre-finished solid hardwood flooring as long as you are comparing products which are of the same species.  However, pre-finished solid hardwood flooring can be less expensive than pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring when comparing a domestic solid wood such as red oak to an exotic engineered wood such as Brazilian Cherry.” recommends that you “set your budget and then see what is available in both types of flooring and choose the one that best suits your style.”

4: Installation — While the installation process of engineered and solid hardwood floors are comparable, “the main thing to remember with pre-finished solid hardwood is that your planks will need time to acclimate in your home before being installed.” Mike Dickinson tells us that acclimation takes 10-14 days. This, of course, can be a big inconvenience for people who just want to upgrade their floor coverings. In contrast, a pre-finished engineered hardwood floor requires no acclimation time and can be installed in one day.

5: Stability — Pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring “is far more resistant to the expansion and contraction that occurs with solid wood planks” during seasonal changes in humidity. “If you live in a particularly dry or humid region then you would be well advised to consider engineered wood floors first. The same applies to wood floor installation below ground level and over concrete.” Since the Bay Area offers microclimates depending on your specific location, Mike Dickinson recommends consulting with your salesperson who should be knowledgeable about the demands of your specific microclimate.

6: Appearance — Since “the top layer of a [prefinished] engineered plank is made from the same material as the [prefinished] solid wood plank,” there is “barely any difference between the two.” However, one thing to remember is that “all pre-finished floors have bevelled edges.”
To conclude, advises, “Unless you have a home with a very high or very low humidity, or are laying planks below ground level or over concrete, there really isn’t much to choose between [pre-finished] solid hardwood and [pre-finished] engineered hardwood.” The overall comparability, but wider adaptability of pre-finished engineered floors helps explain its popularity. Additionally, Mike Dickinson tells us, “there are more product lines available in engineered than there are in solid,” with “many of the manufacturers of pre-finished wood flooring only make engineered flooring.” These reasons, combined with its generally lower price, make pre-finished engineered hardwood floors an attractive option to consider.

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