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Real or engineered hardwood flooring?

Choosing a floor is an essential part of any home improvement or renovation project. Homeowners looking for a classic look throughout their home may opt for hardwood, for it adds value to any home, is easy to maintain and strong enough to handle heavy foot traffic. But engineered flooring is another suitable option available to those looking for a flooring change. Here’s what you need to know about your options.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring is a wise choice for any home because it’s built to last. It can be installed in almost every room in your home and can be sanded and refinished to maintain its colour. However, it’s longevity also depends on how it’s installed. Consider these key points before you hit your nearest flooring retailer:

  • Solid wood floors are manufactured as one piece of wood, typically 3/4″ thick.
  • The weather has a lasting effect on hardwood. The wood expands and contracts as humidity levels change, which is why a floor installer should leave an air or gap between the floor and the wall, covered by baseboard trim.
  • In the winter, the planks dry out and may even shrink, leaving small gaps between each plank.
  • Hardwood flooring should only be installed in moisture controlled environments above-ground, like a kitchen, family room or study. Hardwood is not recommended for bathrooms and basements because ground moisture may damage the hardwood.


Why choose hardwood flooring? Unlike engineered flooring, solid hardwood is real. Although it costs more than other types of flooring, it adds value to your property, which comes in handy if you decide to sell one day. Solid hardwood is also easy to clean. A simple sweep across the floor with a vacuum will keep your floor looking fresh every day. Its durability is another reason why hardwood is a popular choice, but the added price tag may deter future renovators.

Here’s a cost breakdown:

  • Pieces of hardwood start at $4 per square foot and increase up to $15.
  • Using a room size that’s roughly 150 square feet, that translates to anywhere from $600 to $2,250, which doesn’t include installation.

Engineered Hardwood

A common issue homeowners have is finding a transitional flooring option as you’re passing from one room to another. For example, if you have a tiled kitchen floor that’s open concept and connected to a living room, you’ll likely want that space to have a different type of floor. This allows you to create division between the rooms without having to settle on one type of floor for both. Cases like this is when you may want to consider engineered hardwood flooring. If you’re thinking about buying engineered hardwood, here’s what else you need to know:

  • Engineered hardwood is comprised of sheets of wood layered on top of each other in opposite directions. This process of cross-layering gives the floor more stability and is therefore better able to stand up to moisture compared to solid wood.
  • This type of hardwood is able to withstand high levels of moisture or humidity, meaning the planks will not shrink or expand as the seasons change.
  • Flooring sizes range from 1/4″ to 9/16″ and 2-1/4″ to 7″ in width.
  • When it comes to hardwood finishes, there are many colour options available that will suit any home decor. Opt for a Brazilian cherry for a classic, timeless finish.
  • Since engineered hardwood can stand up to moisture and humidity, it doesn’t require as much difficulty when it comes to installation. The floor can be nailed, stapled or glued down. However, if you’re undertaking a DIY project, make sure you read the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Why choose engineered wood floors? They can be used in areas where wood floors cannot, giving your home the look and feel of hardwood without actually using real hardwood. It’s also inexpensive compared to real hardwood, but be warned! Using a very inexpensive version of engineered flooring will cost you in the long run with repairs and maintenance.

Here’s what you can expect to spend:

  • Between $5 to $10 per square foot.
  • For a room that’s 150 square feet, the flooring can cost you anywhere from $450 to $1,500 based on the type of hardwood you choose.

When it comes to choosing a wood floor, cost and function are the key points to remember. Where do you want the floor? How do you want your house to look? Is price an issue? The important thing to remember is you have options and can have the same look and feel of hardwood for less. It’s up to you as the customer!

If you’re thinking about redoing your floors, we have a list of flooring experts who can help! Consult our experts database.

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