You would find it difficult to tell the difference between engineered or solid hardwood flooring once they have been installed, but they are very different types of flooring. They are both made from real hardwood, but in very different ways. The main difference between engineered and solid wood flooring is in the construction of the planks. This, in turn, affects how, when and where they can be used. The choice between engineered or solid usually depends upon your preference and also where and how you want the flooring to be fitted.
What is engineered hardwood flooring?
Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of multiple layers of wood. The surface of the flooring plank is called a wear layer. This is the part that you can see once the floor has been fitted. The wear layer is your chosen species of wood. For example, Oak or Walnut, and is usually between 2.5mm – 6mm in thickness. The rest of the plank of flooring is made up of base layers. This gives additional strength and stability to the flooring. So, for example, the total thickness of your flooring plank may be 18mm but only 4mm of that may be real hardwood and the other 14mm will be the base layers. There are usually multiple base layers made from either plywood, Hevea or Eucalyptus which are fixed to the wear layer at a 90 degree angle to give dimensional stability to the flooring plank.
Engineered hardwood can either have a click fitting system or a tongue and groove profile, and can also be found in parquet blocks. Plank widths, thicknesses and lengths can vary depending on your requirements. There are also different finishes to choose from including: oiled, lacquered, brushed and unfinished. If you choose an unfinished floor, then you will need to protect it with an oil or lacquer once it has been installed.
Engineered hardwood flooring should not be mistaken for laminate flooring. Engineered hardwood actually has a top layer of real hardwood, whereas laminate flooring is a high quality picture of wooden flooring laminated onto high density fibreboard (HDF), not wood.