Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood
Solid hardwood is manufactured from a solid piece of wood. Whereas engineered hardwood is manufactured using a veneer of hardwood applied to the surface of each plank, with the remaining plank being made with multiple layers of plywood. Due to its construction, engineered hardwood is manufactured using less hardwood making it an environmentally friendly choice over solid hardwood.
Solid hardwood can only be nailed down onto a wooden sub floor; whereas engineered hardwood, because of its structure, can be installed by nailing, gluing, or floating it and on many different sub floors and surfaces including concrete and over ceramic or linoleum.
Solid hardwood can only be installed in very stable humidity conditions on a wooden sub floor and only on or above the soil level of the home; whereas engineered hardwood can resist higher humidity changes in the home because of its construction and therefore can be installed anywhere in the home including the basement.
Solid hardwood can be resurfaced many times which extends the longevity of the floor to over 100 hundred years. Engineered floors can only be resurfaced one or two times depending on the thickness of the hardwood veneer and provided that the engineered floor was originally glued or nailed down to the sub-floor.
Solid hardwood should never be installed over a radiant heat system. Depending on the manufacturer and species, an engineered hardwood floor may be installed over radiant heat systems.
Solid hardwood is traditionally and currently the most common flooring option available offering home owners many choices of stain colours, species, and grades. In comparison, engineered hardwood is limited in species and grades available.
Solid hardwood requires special tools to install and most likely will require a professional installer. With click engineered floating floors, less specialized tools are required for installation, making it easier for the do-it-yourselfer.
Prefinished Hardwood vs. Unfinished Hardwood
Prefinished hardwood comes already finished from the factory ready to be installed. Unfinished hardwood needs to be sanded, stained, and finished in the home after installation thereby causing more dust and odors to travel in your home.
Prefinished hardwood can be walked on right after installation. Unfinished hardwood, once installed, requires a waiting period for the stain and finish to dry; therefore it can take up to three times longer to complete the flooring job.
Prefinished hardwood has aluminum oxide hardeners added into the finish to extend their durability, making them ideal for high traffic areas in the home. Hand applied finishes do not contain these hardening agents, thereby making factory finished floors up to three times harder than on-site finishes applied in the home. Therefore, prefinished hardwood floors are also warranted to last longer, typically 15 to 50 years versus 1 to 5 years for on-site finished floors.
Prefinished hardwood is manufactured in a controlled environment preventing the finish from getting foreign particles, hair, dust, etc into the finish. It is more difficult to control this during on-site applications.
Some prefinished hardwood floor manufacturers apply sun guard protection coatings to their floors which helps prevent the floor from yellowing over time. Unfinished floors do not have this feature in their finish.
If you’re looking to buy flooring in Toronto than you’ll find that prefinished hardwood is more expensive to purchase but the installation is simpler and less costly; whereas unfinished hardwood is cheaper to purchase but is usually more expensive to install because of the added staining and finishing process required.
Prefinished hardwood is offered in many species, grades and colours. Unfinished hardwood is also available in many species and grades; however it has the added advantage of allowing custom colours to be applied to match existing hardwood that is already in the house.
Prefinished hardwood has small bevels around each plank giving dimension to the floor boards once installed. Unfinished hardwood has square edges around each plank creating a uniform and uninterrupted look to the floor which complements the traditional decor and the architectural integrity of historical homes.