Solid or Engineered Flooring?
This may be the only place you are going to get an honest opinion on solid vs engineered plank because we manufacture both and we are here to get you what you want. Most manufacturers lean one way or the other depending on their specialization. Your local dealers might be swayed to a particular product based on what manufacturer is offering the best bonuses at the time. Also, there are situations where an “old dog” veteran installer may be too stubborn to consider the options because they’ve been doing the same thing for 40+ years.
Also keep in mind that this is in reference to our wide plank, high quality, 4mm+ thick wear layers as opposed to cheap, paper-thin engineered floors. Our Engineered floors are identical to our solid plank floors for the look, feel, and even sound of the wood when you walk on it. Most importantly, our heavy wear layered engineered floors have the same longevity as solid plank where they can be sanded and refinished multiple times of the life of the floor. Refinishing existing floors only require scratching the surface to allow a new coat of finish to be applied and that may happen every 20-30 years. With our tight tolerances, sanding off a color and taking down to raw wood only removes 0.015" (<0.5mm) which means our engineered plank is going to last over a lifetime.
There are some obvious situations where the stability of engineered plank flooring is highly recommended instead solid plank. Other times your personal preference lifestyle will be factors.
These are other considerations where our engineered floors are a better option:
Homes lacking good Humidity Control: Wide plank floors expand and contract with seasonal changes. You will be guaranteed to have small gaps between the boards in the dry months with solid plank flooring. In my first home, I installed a solid 5” plank and although I followed precise installation instructions with acclimation and a proper glue/nail installation, I still had gaps when the relative humidity in the house dipped below 35%. For our new home, I installed 5” engineered plank. The new home does not have humidity control and we’ve had a few very cold winters where the relative humidity in the home was down to 25% and I had no gaps.
Waterfront Locations: This comes from numerous expert installers I’ve worked with over the years who tell me they won’t put wide plank solid floors on waterfront property. The combination of higher moisture levels and a beach house lifestyle and not good for solid wide plank flooring and engineered floors are safest choice.
Rare/Specialized Types of Wood: There’s a definite advantage in price and availability with engineered plank when dealing with rare or expensive woods. The price advantage comes from the face that we will take the 1” thick lumber and slice it into 3 layers. This gets us 3x the yield of the lumber which means it requires less raw lumber to make your floor and we do pass on the savings. Our experts will advise you of the best option for your floor.
Because producing engineered flooring is a process, there’s a static cost and time frame associated with it. Less expensive wood species and narrow widths have a higher cost as engineered vs solid plank. Depending on our current schedule, made-to-order engineered plank will take 2-3 weeks where solid plank is 1-2 weeks. .