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The Ultimate Showdown: Solid Wood vs Engineered Wood

27 April 2021

By: Floorrich Singapore

You’ve heard them all – laminate, SPC, vinyl, solid wood flooring. The number of flooring options that have been cropping up in recent years has increased multifold – at least in the sense of variety and extensiveness when browsing the catalogue. Of these, there are a few made of a specific material that still continues to wow everyone. Probably one of the first raw materials used by man to make contemporary furniture, wood remains high up in the scale since it made its debut in the interior design world years ago. Dating as far back as the 1600s, solid wood flooring has been used by thousands of homeowners to build their homes. To this day, it is one of the most versatile flooring choices, complementing any style, colour palette, and finish to a T.

What You Need to Know

As much as wood is a natural material, there are two categories of wooden flooring: natural timber flooring and man-made engineered wood flooring. That is not to say that solid wood flooring does not go through any distressing processes or is not sealed off with protective finishes. Both non-toxic flooring requires some processing to get the final product, with several key differences distinguishing the two. One of them is that the planks of solid wood flooring are made entirely out of real timber such as oak, maple, and walnut, with the same thickness throughout. Due to its thickness, this type of timber flooring can be sanded and refinished several times so that it looks brand new again. On the other hand, engineered timber flooring is a combination of solid timber and other wood composites. As such, its surface hardwood layer is relatively thin and cannot be refinished as frequently as its hardwood counterpart.

Similarities between Solid Wood & Engineered Timber Flooring

Since both these floor types are made with the same material, there are bound to be similarities between the two. The obvious is the fact that both are made of natural wood. Therefore, in terms of stability, both options are extremely durable and tough, making them ideal for installation in areas of your home that have lots of foot traffic.

With authentic timber showcased on the surface of each plank, the unique graining and grooves that wooden fixtures are famed for will be on full display. But if you are concerned about keeping things spotless and cleaning between the grooves, fret not. Both these floors are easy to care for. However, one aspect you should be wary of is their porosity. Since they are prone to absorbing moisture, be mindful of the amount of water or steam they are exposed to so that they do not buckle and swell.

Differences: Engineered vs Solid Wood Flooring

Unsure of which wood flooring to opt for? Similarities aside, there are a few differences worth considering to help your decision-making process. Based on certain parameters, installing one or the other could make or break the structural integrity of your home floors, budget, and even home value. Here are a few to take note of:

1. Construction

Before we dig deep, it is pivotal to understand the core difference in terms of composition. Solid wood planks are about 12-18mm thick. And as mentioned, they are made of solid wood throughout their thickness. Engineered hardwood planks are just as thick as solid wood planks but with only about 2-4mm of hardwood, with the rest being composed of high-quality plywood.

2. Installation

Solid hardwood typically has to be nailed to the subfloor, while the innovative engineered wood floors tend to have a click and lock system integrated. So, if you are rushing to get your renovations done, note that engineered wood flooring is easier to install.

3. Moisture & heat resistance

Both types of wood flooring have good resistance to heat. However, when it comes to water-resistance, they vary drastically. Although hardwood flooring is a product of nature, it is more susceptible to moisture – it can warp in humid and damp conditions. Engineered wood flooring has good resistance to warping due to its multiple layered structures of plywood. But that does not mean you can leave pools of liquid for long periods at a time.

4. Resale value

Looking to up the value of your home from the get-go? Although both types of wood flooring are premium choices in the world of interior design, solid timber flooring is the best material when it comes to adding good real estate value to your home.

5. Longevity

Nobody likes the idea of having new floors installed, only to have them look old and worn out after a few years. Solid wood floors can last up to 100 years, while the lifespan of engineered timber flooring can last for about 40 years. If you plan on staying in your home forever, then solid wood should be your go-to.

6. Cost

This depends on the flooring company you go to for your HDB flooring and the wood species, its length, and thickness. That is to say that the price of American white oak engineered flooring will differ from American walnut wood flooring. In general, the cost can vary from S$12 to S$29 per square foot for solid wood flooring, and engineered alternatives will be approximately S$1 to S$10 cheaper.

Which Do You Choose?

When it comes to the debate of solid wood vs engineered, there is no clear winner. It ultimately boils down to personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Since both are aesthetically appealing and durable, it is hard to state which one is better than the other.