5 Things To Consider When Choosing Between Solid Hardwood Flooring & Engineered Hardwood Flooring

June 28, 2016 - Posted by: earthelements

Hardwood flooring is an easy way to improve the look and value of your home. There are differences between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors.  At Earth Elements, we sell both types of hardwood flooring and there are a few factors you should take into consideration when making your flooring choice.

Both types of wood flooring are 100% real wood and offered with a factory finish or can be finished on the jobsite and are environmentally friendly.  

Before deciding on Solid or Engineered hardwood flooring, consider these factors:


The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls into three categories:

·         On Grade - at ground level

·         Above Grade - any second level or higher

·         Below Grade - any floor below ground level, including basements or sunken living rooms.

Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations, because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of engineered hardwood gives enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier such as Silent Step Ultra 3 in 1 is used during installation.

2. What type of subfloor do you have?

If you plan to install over concrete, we recommend that you use an engineered hardwood product to ensure the structural integrity of your investment. Solid wood flooring or engineered hardwood flooring may be used over plywood or over existing wood floors. 

3. Will there be moisture in the room?

If you are considering wood flooring for a bathroom where lots of moisture will be present, you will want to select a product other than hardwood, such as tile. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it is not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom especially. 

4. Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring comes as a ¾ inch pieces that are generally nailed to a plywood subfloor.  Solid wood floors will not do well in geographic areas with high humidity or areas that that see significant temperature changes – ie: Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, all states where Earth Elements has showrooms.  One bonus for solid hardwood floors is that they can be sanded many times to repair scratches, stains, etc.  On the flipside, if a solid wood floor is finished at the jobsite, it can be difficult to predict the exact finish color.  Additionally, installation can take a long time because each layer of finish needs to dry completely before the next coat can be applied.  

5. Engineered Hardwood Floors

Engineered wood contains a rage of various wood products by binding the strands, particles, fibers or veneers of wood together to form composite materials.  Most engineered wood floors are finished at the factory and generally have aluminum oxide in the finish, which is the hardest manmade crystal in the wood which adds on many years to the finish warranty.  Engineered hardwood floors are appropriate for residential, commercial and industrial uses.  

Wood Flooring Options at Earth Elements

At Earth Elements, we work with a variety of engineered hardwood floor manufacturers including Greyne, Arrigoni, DuChateau and Artistry.  We also have numerous contacts with solid hardwood floor vendors. 

To learn more about wood flooring at Earth Elements please contact our Gallatin Gateway hardwood floor manager, Zack Baker, at 406.763.0186 or our Whitefish hardwood floor manager Catherine Baker at 406.730.3133.

For more information about solid or engineered wood flooring options, please refer to the National Wood Flooring Association.  

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