Is Solid Hardwood Better Than Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Solid hardwood versus Engineered hardwood:

A question that we’re commonly asked is, “What better, solid or engineered hardwood” to any novice within the industry, this can be misconstrued just by the flooring names. As we love giving people advice on their flooring solutions, we thought we would write an in-depth article about this common question. So, without further ado, let’s get right into this.

  Engineered hardwood flooring being installed

What is Solid and Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Before we dive into the answer, it’s best to understand each wood type better to ensure you’re on the right track.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Simply put, this flooring is milled from a single piece of wood. Solid hardwood flooring is a natural product that reacts to fluctuations in temperature and moisture by expansion and contraction. Unlike engineered hardwood, this flooring has to be securely fixed to the subfloor during installation by nailing it to the plywood subfloor.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

 As you can probably grasp from the name “engineered,” it is constructed from a solid wood top layer attached to a core of several wood layers (or plies), stacked and glued together under pressure. Combining different types of wood species can result in a much better flooring product that offers a broader range of protection against humidity and temperature changes. For example, Hickory is a hard and strong wood as your top wear layer, but it’s also very dry and unstable. Therefore, you need to combine Hickory with other wood species, such as the Baltic birch of Russia, to get the stability and performance needed from your hardwood flooring.

So, in high insight, different species of wood serve unique purposes within the overall construction of the engineered products. You can achieve more from this type of flooring than you are from a single species of wood.

   Engineered hardwood flooring installed in North Vancouver BC

Solid Hardwood Vs Engineered Hardwood

From an overall perspective, engineered hardwood is much better than solid hardwood. But let me explain why over a variety of important flooring factors.

Hardwood Stability

First, let’s talk about the differences in structural stability found in solid versus engineered hardwood.

It’s renowned that most hardwood flooring provides poor stability through temperature changes and a lack of humidity control, meaning moisture can affect the structure of the planks. However, engineered hardwood flooring is constructed in a way that can withstand such structural changes. This is all thanks to the engineered core that contains more stable species of wood that can compensate for movements. A great example is the Baltic Birch of Russia, as it’s grown in an extremely cold environment. Therefore, it’s super stable and our top choice for core construction.

Hardwood Installation

A massive advantage of engineered hardwood flooring over solid hardwood is that it can be installed however you like it. You can float, glue, or simply staple it just like nailing down a solid hardwood. Therefore, it can be installed in most house locations, including basements and other areas that are subject to moisture or need reduced noise levels. If solid hardwood is installed instead in these locations, it’ll swell, quickly become damaged, or be rather noisy for the neighbours below.

   Solid hardwood flooring installed in West Vancouver

Hardwood and Radiant Heating

You may be considering getting radiant in-floor heating with your new hardwood flooring. If so, you would have to make sure you purchase engineered hardwood flooring. Engineered wood’s multi-layered design is consistent with temperature changes and doesn’t cause a moisture build-up. It’ll react to its environment by expanding and contracting depending on its current state, something solid hardwood flooring struggles to offer.

Price of Hardwood flooring

It’s clear to see that engineered hardwood flooring is the more superior flooring solution in comparison to solid hardwood. However, with convenience, better stability control, and wider boards, engineered hardwood flooring comes with a bigger price tag.

The type of wood you opt-in for will reflect massively on the price. Still, as an overall market average, engineered hardwood is more expensive than your traditional solid hardwood.

   Engineered hardwood flooring in Metro Vancouver

What Type of Hardwood Flooring Should I Choose?

Knowing which flooring is better is great, but what floor should you choose? This depends on an array of variables which can be found below.

Budget – First is budget, and as mentioned above, engineered hardwood flooring can typically be more expensive than your average solid hardwood. However, this does depend on what type of wood you opt in for.

Location – Engineered floors can be installed anywhere, whereas solid hardwood floors aren’t recommended in areas with high humidity or moisture levels, such as basements. This is because solid hardwood flooring and engineered wood don’t cope with temperature changes.

Style – If you’re interested in the current flooring trends and are looking for wider planks to modernize your home, you’d have to stay with engineered hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood widths get no more than 5″. This is strictly related to the overall stability of the planks we’ve been talking about. A solid hardwood plank over 5″ width would not be stable enough for flooring purposes. However, engineered hardwood construction allows you to go up to wide planks. Manufacturers are offering boards up to 9″ in width and 96″ in length in the hardwood industry.

Our most recommended oak hardwood floors:

  • Purparket – Made in Croatia and finished in Canada
  • Mercier – Made in Canada
  • Lauzon – Made in Canada
  • Preverco – Made in Canda
  • Boen – Made in Europe

Canadian Home Style is your family-owned and operated flooring retailer with a showroom in North Vancouver, BC. We provide full-service commercial and residential flooring solutions across the Lower Mainland with an extended warranty. We are proud members of the BC Floor Covering Association (BCFCA) and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). In addition, we have won the Consumer’s Choice Awards back-to-back in 2021 and 2022 for our commitment to business excellence. We are considered the highest-rated flooring experts in Metro Vancouver. We pride ourselves on holding the highest standards in the flooring industry. To uphold our high standards, we have a strict policy of “not selling or displaying any products that we wouldn’t want in our own homes.” Before we select a product to feature, we carefully assess product quality, off-gassing, warranties, and responsible sourcing. Book now to visit our North Vancouver showroom; we can help you choose the perfect floor for your home or business.


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Main Areas of Service in British Columbia:

  • Vancouver
  • North Vancouver
  • West Vancouver
  • Burnaby
  • Coquitlam
  • Squamish
  • Whistler

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