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Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

How do you choose your floors with all of the options available? Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Here is some information about the options which is a good start for choosing the right floor for your needs.

Hardwood is an easy way to improve the look, durability and value of your home. Learn more about the types of hardwood flooring and what you should take into consideration when choosing this type of flooring for your home.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid wood is milled from a single 3/4" thick piece of hardwood. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts with changes in your home's relative humidity. Normally, installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall. Base molding or quarter round is traditionally used to hide the extra space.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered wood is produced with three to five layers of hardwood. Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure. As a result, engineered wood flooring is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity and can be installed at all levels of the home. Shaw Hardwood flooring offers two different engineered constructions:

Shaw Epic Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Shaw's Epic Engineered with EnviroCore - EnviroCore is Shaw's environmentally-friendly core made of recycled wood fiber, meaning fewer trees are used with less waste.

  • Epic engineered hardwood's EnviroCore is harder, denser, and greener than the plywood core used in traditional engineered hardwoods.

  • Becasue of Epic's dense core it is more dimensionally stable and doesn't expand or contract as much as other wood flooring due to seasonal and temperature changes.

Shaw Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Shaw's Engineered hardwood core is made up of multiple layers of wood stacked in a cross-grain configuration which minimizes expanding and shrinking.

  • Like Epic Engineered hardwood, Shaw Engineered can be installed above, on, or below grade.

  • Engineered hardwood provides an advantage over solid hardwood becasue of the ability to install in multiple areas of the home.

Before deciding on Solid or Engineered hardwood flooring, consider these factors

1. Location, Location, Location

The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls into three categories:

  • On Grade - at ground level

  • Above Grade - any second level or higher

  • Below Grade - any floor below ground level, including basements or sunkenliving rooms.

Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations, because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier such as Selitac Thermally Insulating Underlayment or Silent Step Ultra 3 in 1 is used during installation.

What type of subfloor do you have?

If you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid wood flooring or Engineered flooring may be used over plywood, existing wood floors, or OSB subfloors. Be sure to refer to Shaw'sinstallation guidelines for specifics on subfloor requirements.

Will there be moisture in the room?

If you are considering flooring for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it is not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.


Source/Photo Credit: Shaw Floors

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