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Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Flooring | The Fantastic Floor

Wear Layers Illustration

The Fantastic Floor has always taken pride in providing the highest quality options and customer service in US flooring. We’ve got whatever you’re looking for, from wide plank floors and cork flooring to laminates and vinyls, and we’re always happy to help you clarify the best option for your individual needs and taste. Today, we’ll break down what you need to know when choosing affordable or discount hardwood flooring.

A Quick Overview…

If you’re shopping for new hardwood floors and you’ve done your hardwood homework, you probably noticed that hardwood flooring comes in two different varieties: engineered and solid. Essentially, solid hardwood is precisely what it sounds like: a solid plank of hardwood that is either prefinished floor or unfinished floor and cut into specific board sizes.

Engineered hardwood is flooring that is composed of multiple (3 to 12) ply layers that have been cross-layered, glued down, and pressed together. A layer of species-specific hardwood is then laid on top, creating the appearance of a solid board.

Factors to Consider:


On the surface, solid and engineered hardwoods may be difficult to differentiate, yet they provide their own individual advantages and disadvantages. You can choose between a prefinished floor or unfinished floor option for either, but it’s important to think beyond aesthetics when finalizing your decision.

In general, engineered hardwoods are much more versatile; they can be nailed or glued on top of all types of sub-floors, including concrete. Engineered hardwood floors are also less prone to expansion and contraction damages due to climate change.

Solid hardwood, on the other hand, can only be nailed or stapled down to a wood sub-floor. Warning: never try to staple solid hardwood to a concrete sub-floor. It will only end badly, so seek out professional advice with our team at The Fantastic Floor if you are uncertain of anything.


If cost is a factor, consider engineered. Engineered hardwood flooring is typically less expensive because less of the solid tree goes into the board. Additionally, it is also lighter and easier to transport over the course of the installation process, which can consequently cut down costs.

However, one additional cost factor to take into account with engineered flooring is the pad that is often a necessity for under the floor. Pads help to deaden the echo sound and also act as a moisture barrier, helping to reduce mold and mildew issues when installing over concrete.

Thickness of Wear Layer

Another important factor to assess when purchasing engineered flooring is the thickness of the top ware layer. Some engineered products cannot be sanded and refinished if the ware layer is less than 2mm. If the engineered floor you are looking at is at least 2mm thick, then the floor can be sanded and refinished a couple of times.

Technology in engineered flooring has come a long way in the past few years, and high-end engineered products typically have a ware layer of 1/8th of an inch. This is essentially the same thickness that a solid hardwood floor has above the tongue and groove. These high end engineered products have a life span that will out-last most of us and they can be sanded and finished the same amount of times as a solid floor.

Solid Acacia planks showing the tongues and grooves, and end-matching

The Case for Solid Hardwood Floors

If there are no budget concerns and you are installing above grade on a ply sub-floor, then solid hardwood floors might be the preferable option for your experience with The Fantastic Floor. Solid hardwood does not require a pad and you will have no issues with the echoing sound that is common with engineered material.

Furthermore, a solid flooring choice typically has a longer life span with sanding and refinishing compared to “standard” engineered materials. Solid flooring also adds more resale value to your home, so our customers often regard this option as a long-term investment.

Give The Fantastic Floor a Call Today!

As you can see, engineered and solid hardwoods both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Cost, ease of installation, and longevity are just a few factors to consider when deciding between the two. Handle the basics, then you can move on to deciding between an unfinished floor or a prefinished floor. The Fantastic Floor has got you covered with affordable flooring options – from solid to engineered, unfinished to prefinished, Acacia to Walnut.

Browse our extensive website to check out all of your discount hardwood flooring choices! Still unsure of which hardwood style is right for you? Our team is happy to take your call at 1-888-448-9883 or you can always shoot us an email at with any additional US flooring questions you may have. We can’t wait to help you pick out the perfect floor!

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