Standard Wood vs. Engineered Wood Flooring

Standard Wood vs. Engineered Wood Flooring

Since you can expect wood flooring to last a century with proper care, it’s an investment a homeowner shouldn’t skimp on.

From laminate bamboo flooring to stunning maple hardwood, there’s an endless variety of styles and sizes of wood flooring on the market. The question then becomes: What kind of flooring is right for your budget, lifestyle, and current decor?

Below, we sort the glueless engineered boards from the ash planks in our guide to wood flooring for homes.


With both types of flooring far superior to laminate flooring when it comes to appearance, how do they stack up in the durability department?

Both standard and engineered hardwood floors feature a durable factory-applied finish. Only solid hardwood can be sanded down and refinished numerous times over its 100-year-plus lifespan.

Both floors will benefit from a varnish recoat once every couple of years. Owners should vacuum, clean, and wet-mop with a wood cleaner at least weekly.

Neither floor type does well in humid or wet conditions, though solid wood floors are more prone to warping than engineered. If you need to lay your planks onto a concrete subfloor, choose an engineered wood flooring. The plywood base is more moisture resistant, and therefore more stable over time.

Colors, Sizes, and Styles

A world away from wood-look vinyl flooring, standard wood flooring comes in a wide variety of tree-woods and colors.

At no more than 4 inches wide, solid wood planks tend toward the narrower side, with tight seams between each board. They’re also close to an inch thick, which is why a professional can refinish hardwood floors many times over.

By contrast, engineered hardwood is limited to a few favored species. For example, check out this comparison of hardwood and bamboo flooring. This is due to its predominantly pre-finished design.

Engineered wood boards are also often bevelled, leaving a minor gap. They run thin in depth (around three-eighths of an inch is common) though the planks tend to be as wide as 7 inches.

At the end of the day, the difference between the two comes down to personal preference. Which wood-look do you prefer? And do thinner and longer or wider and shorter boards better suit your interior design?


Both engineered and solid hardwood flooring are considered premium flooring materials by consumers, real estate professionals, and designers alike. In saying that, the cost between the two is slightly different because engineered floors have less solid wood.

Standard wood planks come in at around $8 a square foot, whereas homeowners should budget between $4 and $7 per square foot for engineered flooring. If you choose a tongue-and-groove style board, installation costs will add anywhere between $3 and $10 a square foot in either solid or engineered wood. If the room is an unusual design, the labor could cost even more.

Homeowners looking to save money by DIYing their floors should choose a glue-able or click-in-place engineered hardwood floor. This is much easier to install than the nail-down tongue-and-groove boards that solid hardwood typically comes in.

Luxury Wood Flooring That Lasts

With such a minimal difference between these two high-quality wood floorings, homeowners have the luxury to choose what best suits their decor taste. For those looking to save a buck, choose DIY-install engineered flooring. And those who prefer long-lasting wood flooring should stick with standard wood.

Are you seeking more interior design tips and tricks? Be sure to browse the other articles on our website.