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What's the Difference Between Hardwood Flooring and Engineered Hardwood?

What's the Difference Between Hardwood Flooring and Engineered Hardwood?

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At The Hardwood Floor Company, people always ask us the difference between hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. While both are considered wood flooring, the answer isn't so cut and dry. To start, hardwood is a natural product that's cut and milled from a tree. It’s wood, all the way through. On the other hand, engineered hardwood is a manufactured design that's more complex than hardwood. How? Once we learn more about each product, then we can solidify the differences between the two.

Hardwood Flooring 101

People have been using hardwood flooring in their homes for centuries. And, typically, the wood came from the nearest trees. Nowadays, you can choose from just about any tree species and most boards come in different grades, widths, and lengths. There are three different types of hardwood cuts: plain sawn, quarter sawn, and rift sawn. Plain sawn is the most common, least expensive cut. Angled at 30 degrees or less, the cuts come out as a mix of tangential and cathedral patterned grain. Quarter sawn is a more expensive cut and is done by quartering the log at angles of 60-90 degrees. This kind of cut results in straight or vertical grain. Rift sawn is the least common and most expensive cut of wood. Cut at an angle of 30-60 degrees, it’s milled and perpendicular to the log’s growth rings. This approach results in a unique linear appearance with zero flecking. Because this method creates more waste, it can also increase the lumber cost.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring 101

In the 1960s, engineered hardwood floors were introduced as an option for basement floors or concrete substrates. Now, recent developments and innovations have made engineered hardwood a popular option. What makes an engineered hardwood floor “engineered,” is the 100% composite wood backing with wooden veneers on top. This design makes the flooring very structurally stable and because of the veneer, you’re able to choose the appearance of the species and cut you want for your home or space.

What’s the Difference?

Surprisingly, there are more similarities than there are differences in these two flooring options. Both kinds of floors are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and moisture, but engineered hardwood is more durable due to its structural stability. Because of its core design, engineered hardwood is also less susceptible to expanding and contracting than a hardwood floor. When you’re deciding between the two floors types, The HFC recommends you ask yourself these essential questions:

  • What kind of climate do I live in?
  • What kind of substrate do I have?
  • Will I want to change the appearance of my floor over time?
  • Am I going to have this product installed in an area that could get wet?

Whether you settle on hardwood floors or engineered hardwood floors, The HFC is here to help pick the best flooring option for your home or space. So get in touch with us for a consultation or swing by our boutique showroom and find your new floor today.