Whether engineered wood flooring competes with solid hardwood flooring is an interesting question. Many people dismiss engineered wood flooring as it is not the ‘real thing’ but others say it is a better solution to hardwood flooring.
These two flooring materials look the same, and can be obtained in similar finishes, so people won’t really know the difference, unlike with laminates which don’t look like real wood. Among the finishes you can buy are natural oak flooring, such as oak parquet, oiled oak flooring, and walnut flooring. Which is better depends on what you mean by a better solution. On the one hand, solid wood flooring is just what it says it is: planks of solid wood that are laid to form a floor. The good thing is that it is very durable, and so long as you get grade A, B and C grade wood, it is of good quality. If it gets marked, it is easy to clean it up, and dents do not show much.
There is one situation where solid wood flooring may not be the best solution. This is if your house gets damp as solid hardwood flooring, which could lead to gaps between the planks, or them being pushed up a little when damp.
If you choose solid hardwood flooring which one should you choose? There is a very wide choice but the most popular woods and oak and walnut.
Engineered wood flooring is made from a layer of good quality wood, which is 6 mm thick (0.25 inches) on top of a wooden substrate of 17mm (0.67 inches) thickness. This substrate is made from chippings, chipboard, or other bits of wood bonded together. The advantage of the engineered woods is that the material is more stable, it should not have knots, and it does not swell when damp and shrink when dry, like solid wood flooring.
However, engineered wood flooring is not cheap, and costs about one-third more than solid wood, so if you are looking for a cheaper solution, it is not for you. In fact, it tends to be used where quality and stability are needed.