So, you’ve decided on a hardwood flooring option, but your decision making isn’t done. Not all hardwood floors are the same, despite appearances. Your two main options are solid and engineered hardwood which are similar in some aspects, almost identical in others, and then completely different in even more. It depends on a lot of factors and what you need out of your hardwood choice and your budget.

Solid hardwood flooring, as the name might suggest, is solid wood.

Generally it’s oak, maple, or walnut and has the ability to be sanded and refined multiple times. Engineered wood looks similar but is constructed of a thinner layer of wood bonded to plywood which means something about its durability and about its ability to receive maintenance over the years.

Below is information on the comparability of solid or engineered hardwood.

Lifespan and Durability

It’s probably not a secret that solid hardwood has a longer lifespan, estimated at anywhere from 30 years to potentially a hundred while engineered wood runs at best 40 years. This is in large part because engineered hardwood is made of less reliably sturdy materials, even if the plywood is high grade. That being said, engineered hardwood does better in certain conditions such as humidity were solid hardwoods will swell, engineered is more stable thanks to its hybrid construction.


The fact of the matter is, solid hardwood and engineered hardwood look very similar. The point of engineered hardwood is to get a look as close as possible to traditional solid while also having some versatility in construction. There are some minor differences though: engineered hardwood tends to be wider and comes pre-finished and solid hardwood has more of a range of colors and widths to choose from. There’s no obvious right or wrong, but it depends on your preference of how the floor will look.


Solid hardwood is installed with what is called a tongue-and-groove system where the boards are blind nailed to the subfloor. Engineered hardwood is installed similar but their edges are designed to come together smoother or even installed as a “floating floor” by gluing rather than nailing. This makes it easier for any DIY floor installers.

Related Questions

What is the cost difference between the two?

The cost ranges are fairly close, but the economic advantage is with engineered hardwood. Generally, solid hardwood sells for an average of $8 per square foot while engineered hardwood can average as low as $4 or as high as $7. If you are looking for a lifelong investment, solid wood is worth the price.

What about re-sale value?

Any form of hardwood floor is going to be a huge boost for your resale value. Solid hardwood may have a small advantage but ultimately, either flooring option is considered a step up from tile or carpet flooring. It’s important to talk to a flooring professional about your hopes and wish list for your hardwood floor!

Cameron the Sandman has been installing, repairing and refinishing solid hardwood floors for over 80 years. There is a lot to know about a wood floor, so you can count on our design professionals to educate you and help you select the perfect wood floor for you home. We manage each project from start to finish and everything in-between. Installing hardwood flooring in your home or business is a great choice. Questions? Call us to learn more!