Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring – Which is better?

When remodeling and replacing your floors, there are a variety of types to consider. From different hardwood types to engineered flooring, the choices are nearly endless. Answering the question “is hardwood or engineered flooring better?” largely depends on your preference, budget, and where it will be used. Let’s take a look at hardwood flooring vs engineered flooring.

Where Flooring Is Used

Hardwood is the recommended flooring for nearly every room in your home. However, due to the nature of it, hardwood does not stand up well to long exposure to moisture. Engineered flooring would be best suited in rooms where there may be drips and spills, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Hardwood is also not ideal for basements because of potential moisture damage. 

Durability – Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring

Both hardwood and engineered flooring have a long life span when cared for properly. That doesn’t mean damage won’t occur after years of use, though. When exposed to moisture long enough, hardwood floors can begin to twist and warp, causing uneven boards and decay. Since engineered flooring is placed on top of plywood, which is slightly more stable than a solid plank of wood, there isn’t as much potential for moving boards. However, the thin surface of engineered flooring can chip, or the finish can wear down, decreasing the durability of the top board. 

Caring for Your Floors – Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring

Hardwood floors can be taken care of by sanding and refinishing as needed. It’s not recommended to sand hardwood floors more than 7-10 times. On the contrary, engineered flooring can only sanded except lightly, but only once or twice. If there is sustained damage, hardwood floors can typically be repaired or refinished. In comparison, engineered flooring may need replaced since it can’t withstand sanding and repairs like hardwood. 

Looks – Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring

If you’re wanting a particular style of flooring, hardwood may be the way to go. Hardwood flooring offers many options, from standard oak to more exotic woods, such as tigerwood or rosewood. Engineered flooring does not offer many options, so you’ll want hardwood if you’re looking for a unique finish. Engineered flooring and hardwood flooring of a similar style are nearly identical. Because of this, either is an option if you just want a basic wood look. 

Installation – Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring

If a hefty installation cost isn’t within your budget, engineered flooring is the way to go. It’s simple enough that with a few instructions, even someone with no experience can install the flooring nicely. If you’d rather have a professional install it, engineered flooring is also cheaper on professional installation costs. Hardwood floors can take more care and experience to install properly, despite the availability of precut, interlocking planks. 

Cost – Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring

Engineered flooring is cheaper per square foot, ranging from $3-$14, while hardwood floors can range from $8-$15 per square foot. Exotic woods would cost even more. The upfront cost for hardwood may make it a less attractive option. However, it’s sturdiness and ability to be repaired several times over many years makes up for the initial cost. 

Environmental Impact – Hardwood Flooring vs Engineered Flooring

If you’re environmentally conscious, you will want to opt for engineered flooring. It has less of an impact and is more eco-friendly since it can use leftover wood from other processes. There are options for eco-friendly hardwood floors, but they may be harder to find since you need a supplier who is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. 

Is hardwood flooring or engineered flooring better? The answer varies on a case by case basis. Hardwood is better for rooms with low moisture as continuous exposure to moisture can cause it to warp and rot, resulting in need for repair or replacement. Engineered flooring is better at withstanding moisture. Because of this, engineered flooring is great in kitchens, bathrooms, and even basements. Hardwood floors cost more initially, but upkeep costs are lower than with engineered. If you’re replacing your floors, contact us for a free consultation today!

What Others Are Saying:

“Belmont flooring did an amazing job at our home. We installed hardwoods in our den and kitchen to match the rest of the house and they performed the job perfectly. Jody took the time to confirm the wood type of the existing hardwood floors so that he could install the same type of wood. The hardwoods match the existing floors exactly and the quality of installation was perfect. They took the time to make sure every detail was perfect and used good quality flooring materials. I would highly suggest going with Belmont flooring.” –Robert M, Google Review

“Jody and his team did excellent work in our 100 year old home, replacing termite-damaged oak with new “old style thin slats”; they laid the old in with the new, which left a beautiful floor. They are very responsive to any questions/concerns and returned soon if there were any issues”
Susan C, Google Review


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