So, what is the difference between these two materials? Is it possible to install either floor anywhere in my home? To answer these questions, we ought to start by explaining what each kind of flooring is in turn and then we can focus on the distinctions.


Solid hardwood

Solid hardwood is exactly what its name indicates. Wood has been harvested, cut into slabs, and dried. Then it is milled down to various widths and thicknesses and has a tongue and groove routed into its edges so that it can interlock with other planks to create a floor. They are finished at the factory and then shipped to the retailer for installation. This is what most people think of when it comes to hardwood flooring.


Engineered hardwood

The one weakness of solid wood is that it absorbs moisture and can swell or warp. Thus, designers went to work trying to discover a way to make hardwood flooring that could be placed in basements and on concrete slab foundations. The result was an engineered hardwood.


Engineered hardwood has a layer of hardwood on top, but anchors the hardwood to a plywood base. This base minimizes the moisture that comes through the floor (remember, concrete is porous) and it stabilizes the hardwood on tape from bending, warping, or swelling. This creates a floor that is well suited to go on top of concrete either as a floating floor or one that is glued directly to the concrete subfloor.


Similarities and differences

When installed, both kinds of flooring look nearly identical because, on the surface, they are identical. The same manufacturing process that makes solid wood is applied to the engineered wood, just thinner strips are being used. Both kinds of flooring can be sanded and refinished, though an engineered floor can only have that done once or twice whereas a solid hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished 2-4 times depending on the original thickness of the wood. The difference is primarily that a solid floor is not suited for basements or concrete slabs; engineered flooring can be installed anywhere in your home.


If you are looking for hardwood in the Tampa Bay area or St. Petersburg, Brandon, Largo, Carrollwood, Clearwater, Wesley Chapel, New Port Richey, Sarasota, Lakeland, Venice, Brooksville, and Ocala, we would like to serve you. Give us a call or stop by one of our 16 Bob’s Carpet Mart locations and you can see for yourself the solid and engineered hardwood options available to you.