difference between engineered and solid wood flooring

What is the Differences Between Engineered and Solid Wood Flooring? 

There are several differences between engineered and solid wood flooring. If you’re thinking about remodeling an interior, you’ll need to get to grips with what sets these flooring materials apart. Solid wood is a classic option and packed with character, but it can be difficult to install and maintain. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance alternative, engineered wood flooring is the way to go.  
At Wood Flooring Ireland, we offer an unbeatable range of bespoke flooring products to suit every interior. What are the different types of wood flooring available? We stock everything from long planks to elegant parquet panels. 

For more than 15 years, we’ve been leading the way when it comes to premium flooring solutions. In 2019, our focus has been firmly on engineered wood flooring. With a passion for premium material and a commitment to sustainability, you can be confident that you’re investing in an environmentally-friendly and ethically sourced product.  
Do you need help understanding the differences between engineered and solid wood flooring? Read on for everything you need to know to help you make the right choice for your interiors.  

The Key Differences Between Engineered and Solid Wood Flooring 

 Solid wood flooring, or hardwood flooring, is made of any material that falls into the hardwood category. Typically, it’s made from woods like oak, walnut and maple. Oak wood flooring is made from a single piece of wood, with no extra materials added during manufacturing.  
However, it’s rather difficult to install. Whether it’s long plank wood flooring or a parquet style, solid wood flooring material needs to be nailed into place to a subfloor layer. This is not only time-consuming but requires the right experience if the job is to be done well. If properly cared for, solid wood flooring can be incredibly long-lasting. Solid wood can also be sanded down and refinished over the years.  
When it comes to appearance, engineered wood flooring is almost indistinguishable from hardwood flooring. However, only a small amount of hardwood is used to produce planks and panels. This thin hardwood veneer is bonded to a plywood core. If the veneer layer is thick enough, engineered wood flooring can be resanded and refinished much like solid wood flooring.  

Thickness and Size 

differences between engineered and solid wood flooring

 This is another key difference between engineered and solid wood flooring. Generally speaking, solid wood flooring has a thickness of around 0.75 inches. Meanwhile, the smallest plank widths start at around 2.25 inches. However, many solid wood flooring planks come in widths exceeding 10 inches.  
Engineered wood flooring tends to be thinner, with most panels no thicker than 0.5 inches. This makes them a practical option for spaces where bulkier hardwood flooring can’t be installed.

Differences in Cost 

 Solid wood flooring tends to be more expensive than engineered wood flooring. Price can vary wildly, depending on which wood you’re looking to use. As a rule, the harder the wood, the more costly it will be. You can make a slight saving by purchasing unfinished solid wood flooring. Prefinished planks and panels tend to come at a premium.  
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative, engineered wood flooring is the way to go. As very little hardwood is used, you won’t have to fork out a small fortune to refinish your floors. Other factors do affect the price. If you want a thicker veneer, expect to pay more for the privilege. If you want an ornate parquet style like Versailles panels, bear in mind these are usually pricier than standard long plank flooring.  

Cleaning Process 

A solid wood floor requires considerable effort to keep clean. However, hardwoods shouldn’t be exposed to excess moisture, meaning you’re quite limited when it comes to maintenance. As a rule, you should avoid using cleaning products. Furthermore, it’s not a good idea to use a wet mop when tackling solid wood floor cleaning tasks.  
Wondering how to clean engineered wood floors? Thankfully, engineered wood flooring is much easier to care for and maintain. To avoid causing any damage, it’s best to adopt a dry-cleaning approach. A wrung-out mop or microfiber cloth can be used to tackle more stubborn stains. 

If you’re using cleaning solutions, make sure they are first diluted to avoid causing any damage to veneer layers. Even though engineered wood is quite resilient to moisture, enough exposure can lead to damage. If you’re using moisture to tackle stains, go over the area with a dry cloth once you’re done.  
You can make less work for yourself by keeping on top of surface debris. Use a vacuum cleaner or broom to get rid of dirt, dust, and pet air. Choose soft-bristle attachments if you’re using a vacuum cleaner. Likewise, use a soft-bristle brush or broom if you’re tackling cleaning manually.  

Finishing Process 

 Although some manufacturers provide pre-finished solid wood flooring, most suppliers deliver hardwood planks and panels unfinished. Once installed, you’ll need to commit to a painstaking finishing project. This can cause disruption to your daily schedule, rendering rooms unusable for several days.  
If you’re looking for a practical solution, engineered wood flooring is the obvious choice. Unlike hardwood flooring, engineered wood is almost always delivered prefinished. This means your flooring can be installed and your rooms ready to use in no time at all.  

Floor Sanding Process 

 This is one of the biggest differences between engineered and solid wood flooring. Because of its solid composition, hardwood flooring can be sanded down many times over the years. If you need to take care of surface damage and scuffs, this is an obvious advantage. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where individual panels or planks may need to be replaced, but a solid wood floor can last for many decades before this becomes a concern.  
Engineered wood flooring isn’t as flexible when it comes to sanding and refinishing. However, this all depends on the thickness of the veneer layer. If you opt for engineered wood flooring with a particularly thin top layer, you may only be able to sand it once or twice before exposing the plywood core beneath. 

However, more premium engineered wood flooring products boast thick veneers that can be sanded many times. This gives them a lifespan that’s comparable with many solid wood flooring alternatives.  


 Installing a hardwood floor requires considerable time and skill. If you’ve opted for rustic planks and large pieces of solid oak, you’ll probably need to have your flooring nailed manually to a subfloor layer. If you don’t have the necessary experience, installation costs can significantly add to your budget. 

What’s more, there’s always a chance that your hardwood flooring can become damaged during the installation process. Just one stray nail can ruin the appearance of a beautiful plank of solid oak or maple. Unless you’re prepared to replace the entire piece, you’ll have to settle for a second-rate patch repair.  
One of the major advantages of engineered wood flooring is that installation is incredibly straightforward. Most engineered wood flooring does not require attachment to a subfloor layer, making it suitable for floating installation. The tongue-and-groove installation also makes it a manageable DIY project. 

The difference between engineered and solid wood flooring installation is huge. If you’re looking to save time and minimise disruption, engineered wood wins out every time.  


A new floor isn’t cheap. As such, you’ll want something that will serve you well for years to come. Solid wood flooring is known for its longevity and durability. However, the lifespan of a solid wood floor depends on a multitude of factors. 

For starters, not all hardwoods are created equal. Environmental conditions will also play a big part in how long your solid wood floor lasts. While oak planks or chevron flooring can last for decades in a living room or dining room, they won’t do well in a moisture-rich environment like bathrooms or kitchens.  
Although engineered wood flooring contains less actual hardwood, don’t assume it’s less durable. The thicker the hardwood veneer, the more durable your flooring will be. Provided you’re properly maintaining your floor and avoiding harsh cleaning chemicals, there’s little chance of surface damage and wear and tear. In ideal conditions, engineered wood flooring can last for more than 30 years.  


 Solid wood might be a stylish interior design choice, but it’s not the most resilient of flooring options. You need to think carefully about environmental factors before installing a hardwood floor. Solid wood doesn’t do well in rooms where there is high humidity or excessive moisture. 

Temperature extremes and high levels of moisture can quickly lead to warping, which will require constant sanding and refinishing. Generally speaking, this makes solid wood flooring unsuitable for kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories.  
A big difference between engineered and solid wood flooring is that the former is more robust when it comes to moisture management. It’s not entirely waterproof, but it can withstand humidity far more comfortably than solid wood. 

This is largely down to its plywood construction. When exposed to temperature swings or occasional moisture, this plywood core won’t swell and warp.  
Furthermore, many engineered wood flooring products are enhanced with an extra layer of protection over the veneer. This makes them even more resilient to spillages and moisture. If you’re looking to install new flooring in a bathroom or kitchen, engineered wood is the ideal option.  

Discover the Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring Today 

If you’re thinking about overhauling your interiors, engineered wood makes the perfect choice of flooring material. Easy to install and care for, it’s a durable alternative to solid wood and can be used in just about any room of the home.  
At Wood Flooring Ireland, we offer a vast selection of premium engineered wood flooring products. Searching for something that will coordinate with contemporary interiors? Keep it simple with white wood flooring and grey wood flooring. 

Prefer parquet styles? Discover our range of herringbone flooring and Versailles panels. Head to our showroom in Cork to see the range for yourself. Alternatively, call the team on 021 46229913 or drop us a message via the online contact form.  

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