Wood Flooring Construction - Solid vs. Engineered

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Considered the highest-quality flooring, unfinished solid hardwood is the oldest form of wood flooring and comes in longer plank sizes than prefinished and engineered types. Solid hardwood flooring is used with wood subfloors or is created with a floor joist system. Unfinished solid flooring is nailed or stapled into place and sanded, and then a finish is added.

As with any type of unfinished flooring, unfinished solid hardwood offers several design possibilities with stains. Rather than going off color samples (the typical procedure for prefinished flooring), you can test different stains in your home and find which one works best with the space. Once you have found the best stain, all test spots can be sanded down. Solid flooring can be sanded a nearly-unlimited amount of times.

Solid flooring offers more variation than other types of wood floors. In addition to longer plank sizes, unfinished solid flooring is manufactured in thinner strip sizes. Typical solid flooring is 3/4ths of an inch to one inch thick and is 2.25 inches wide. Width can go up to five or seven inches, depending upon the brand. A piece of unfinished hardwood, however, may be as thin as 5/6ths to one-half of an inch and 1.25 inches wide.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Able to be installed above, on, or below grade, unfinished engineered flooring expands and contracts less compared to solid hardwood when exposed to moisture and heat. In order to achieve this, engineered flooring manufacturers put together three to nine separate layers of hardwood, with the grain on each facing a different direction.

This type brings together the design possibilities of unfinished hardwood with the versatility and ease of installation engineered floors have. Unfinished flooring, in general, offers many finish possibilities and provides a greater area for testing a stain. This way, you do not need to go off the color samples for prefinished flooring, and you can find the right match for your space.

Unfinished engineered floors have certain assets and downsides depending upon need. Unfinished flooring general blends in better with existing hardwood, but the installation process is significantly longer than that for prefinished flooring. Finishing can take weeks and the space needs to be fully clean and isolated.

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