Solid Wood Flooring: Solid hardwood floors come in a wide range of dimensions and styles, with each plank made of solid wood and milled from a single piece of timber. Solid hardwood floors were originally used for structural purposes, being installed to the perpendicular to the wooden support, beans of a building known as bearers and joists. Modern construction techniques rarely use bearers and joists for the subfloor construction with most homes being of a concrete slab basis with a wood building frame, solid hardwood floors are used most exclusively for their appearances. For flooring, solid woods has natural characteristics.
Our hardwoods are hygroscopic, which means that they acquire and lose moisture due to the ambient conditions around them. Typically, 300 mm boards are the largest that can be manufactured from solid wood without compromising the structure of the flooring (some manufacturers produce wider boards using proprietary milling techniques). There is, however, no standard size which will perform well in every environment. For contemporary construction techniques, the most significant characteristic of solid wood floors is that they are able to be installed over a concrete slab - the battering system having the least maintenance.
Engineered Wood Flooring: Engineered wood flooring, a popular feature in many houses, is composed of two or more layers of wood in the form of a plank. The top layer is the wood that is visible when the flooring is installed, and is adhered to the core (or substrate) which provides the stability. The top layer provides exactly the same appearance as solid wood, but the substrate increases stability.
Laminate, vinyl and veneer floors are often confused with engineered wood floors. In fact, laminate uses an image of wood on its surface; vinyl is plastic formed to laminate vinyl and veneer uses a thin layer of wood with a core that could be one of a number of different composite wood products (most commonly, high density fibreboard).
Engineered wood is the most common type of wood flooring used globally. North America is the only continent larger solid wood market than engineered, although engineered wood is quickly catching up the market share.
Comparison of solid wood and engineered wood floors: It is difficult to compare solid wood floor to engineered wood floors, in generalities as there is a wide range of engineered wood floors, and these are usually supplied with bevelled edges, affecting the appearance, however all our wood products are constructed this way. There are several limitations on solid hardwood that give it a more limited scope of use: solid wood should not be installed in high moisture areas or places prone to a lot of water spillage, and it should not be used with radiant floor heating. Solid hardwood is also typically limited in plank width and is more prone to gapping (excessive space between planks), crowning (convex curving upwards when humidity increases) and cupping (a concave or dished appearance of the plank, with the height of the plank along its longer edges being higher than the centre) with increased plank size. However, if installed correctly these defects can and will be avoided.
Solid wood can be sanded more often. Solid wood products on average, have a sustainability, or slightly, thicker sandable surface (the wood that is above the tongue), and can be installed using nails. Lastly, solid woods tend to be less expensive than engineered wood, but this, as with the thickness of the sandable surface, depends on the quality of the engineered wood (most inexpensive engineered wood products are veneer wood floors and not engineered). In many installations, however, engineered flooring can only withstand a limited number of sanding, whereas solid wood can be sanded many times.
But engineered flooring is more stable in damp conditions, and cheaper to install. The installation costs of engineered flooring are typically lower than solid flooring. Engineered wood flooring has several benefits over solid wood, beyond dimensional stability and the ability to be used successfully in almost any room. Engineered wood also allows a floating installation (where the planks are not fastened floor below or to each other), further increasing ease of repair and reducing the installation time. In general, engineered wood panels are longer and wider than solid planks.
The top surface of solid and engineered flooring has the same properties of the hardness and durability. The recent development of "structural" engineered flooring now means engineered floors (often with 1/4 inch top layer and ply backing) can be nailed directly over joists.