For centuries, hardwood floors have been gracing magnificent homes throughout the Deep South to elegant homes of kings and queens. Known for durability and overall beauty, hardwood floors have gained in popularity throughout the years, rapidly becoming the choice in floor coverings over once considered traditionally installed carpet due to the low maintenance of hardwood floors and the beauty that lies within. With numerous selections of hardwood floors available, consumers are often confused about the composition of wood floors resulting in purchasing a floor that does not fit into an allotted budget or installation not designed for the intended use.
To date, there are two basic types of hardwood flooring, solid wood and engineered wood. With many variations of engineered wood floors available, choosing the correct wood floor can be at best, confusing and frustrating. Whereas the terminology associated with “hardwood”, often results in purchasing a floor that does not fit allotted budget guidelines or installation limitations to which the floor is intended, not all hardwood floors are in-fact; “natural hardwood”. Purchasing and installation of a wood floor not designed for a specific purpose will often lead to replacement and loss of expenditures of funds previously applied.
“Solid” hardwood flooring is traditionally cut from a log in an unfinished plank form with tongue and groove milled on all sides. Ranging from 5/16″ to ¾” in thickness, “solid” floors are typically available in various widths and lengths. Due to the sensitivity of natural “solid” hardwood from humidity and moisture, natural solid wood floors are normally installed at or above ground level. The natural beauty of wood grains found in solid hardwoods is both appealing and alluring with finishes that may be completed upon installation in the home or factory finished with a pre-determined choice of unlimited finishes to select from.
“Solid” hardwood flooring is as one may expect the most expensive of all wood floor selections. It is not uncommon for “solid” hardwood floors to exceed two to three times the cost over other floor selections and in most cases is out of reach of those on restricted budget guidelines. Available in a variety of North American wood species, “solid” hardwood floors are noted for durability and overall beauty that will last a lifetime.
Engineered floors are very similar to “solid” floors and in most cases are not easily distinguishable from natural hardwood when installed correctly. Engineered wood floors are comprised of multiple layers of plywood substrate with a top layer of actual hardwood. With varying degrees of thickness of the plywood substrate from two to ten ply (plywood layers); engineered floors are less expensive than natural hardwood surfaces while providing beauty and elegance to any interior room of the home.
Often referred to as wood laminate flooring, engineered wood floors are readily available in a variety of specifications, each designed to coincide with a particular room of the home. Considered to be stronger than natural wood flooring, engineered wood floors offer the homeowner the option of installation directly over concrete where natural wood flooring is not recommended. With the multiple layers of engineered hardwood pressed and glued together in opposite directions, under extreme pressures, the dimensional stability of engineered wood floors is a superior product for installation on un-even floors, transferring a dull and inefficient room into a room with charm and character.
Cost for engineered hardwood flooring is based on the thickness of the substrate or layers of plywood material that comprises the overall composition and the selection of the finished top layer. With thicknesses varying from ¼” to 9/16″, with the most common thickness of 3/8″ to ½” selected, engineered wood floors average $3.25 per square foot depending on thickness and selection of finished surface, professionally installed. Significant savings are noticeable when installed by the homeowner, reducing overall costs to approximately $2.00 per square foot which can add up to significant savings depending on the overall size of the room. With basic mechanical ability and use of standard installation tools, a hardwood floor can easily be easily installed over a weekend with satisfaction that boost even the most sublime egos.