Product Info   :   Engineered or Solid


There are basically only two types of hardwood products on the market today, solid and engineered. Solid hardwood floors are typically 3/4" of an inch thick and are constructed of a single piece of wood from top to bottom.  Solid hardwoods can either be factory finished (prefinished) or finished on-site and are suitable for nail down installations over plywood or OSB sub-floors. This is an excellent choice in most areas of a home on the ground level or above. Solid hardwood floors have been used for centuries and this is the type of product you will typically find in homes that are constructed in the Kansas City area today.


Engineered floors are manufactured with multiple layers of hardwood plies that are stacked on top of each other in opposite directions and bonded together under heat and pressure. The top layer or “wear” layer of an engineered plank is a real hardwood veneer that is glued to the core. The product thus has the natural characteristics of the selected wood species and can be factory finished (prefinished) or finished on-site.  Engineered floors will range from ¼” to 9/16” in thickness and can be nailed-down, stapled-down, glued-down, or floated over many different types of sub-floors.

Which type is best?

The main advantage of using engineered hardwood floors is that they are more dimensionally stable than solid hardwoods.   Engineered planks are constructed with several layers of hardwood that are stacked in opposite directions and this helps counteract the natural tendency of wood to expand and contract with different levels of moisture. This added stability makes engineered floors ideal for slab and basement installations.

The biggest advantage to using solid hardwood products is that they can be refinished many times. However, recent advances with engineered products have almost leveled the playing field. We now have access to engineered products that have the same wear-layer as solid hardwoods and can be refinished many times over.

In our opinion, making the decision between engineered or solid really depends on whether or not moisture or humidity is a concern. If the answer to this question is yes, we highly recommend an engineered product. You may have to pay a little more to get the same wear-layer thickness as solid hardwood but you will get the added benefit of stability.