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Real Solid Oak Flooring Vs. Engineered: Which One Do You Need?

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When embarking on a flooring renovation project, one of the most challenging decisions homeowners face is selecting the perfect flooring material. In the realm of hardwood flooring, a common dilemma arises between choosing real solid oak flooring and engineered oak flooring. Both have their unique attributes, aesthetic appeal, and performance characteristics. This blog post aims to enlighten you about the advantages and disadvantages of each, helping you make a well-informed decision.

To begin, let’s explore what each of these flooring types entails. Real solid oak flooring is made from solid oak wood planks, typically around ¾ inch thick. As the name implies, it’s real, natural wood all the way through. On the other hand, engineered oak flooring consists of multiple layers: a thin veneer of real oak on top, followed by several layers of high-quality plywood or another wood type beneath.

Now, let’s delve into the benefits and potential drawbacks of both types of oak flooring.

solid wood parquet flooring

1.    Durability and Longevity

Solid oak flooring is renowned for its incredible durability and longevity. Its thickness allows it to be sanded and refinished multiple times over several decades, often outlasting the homeowners. Conversely, the durability of engineered oak flooring is dependent on the thickness of the top layer. Generally, it can withstand a few rounds of sanding and refinishing but not as many as solid oak. However, the multi-layer structure of engineered flooring gives it an edge when it comes to resisting warping and damage due to changes in humidity and temperature.

There are also alternatives that have excellent durability and longevity, like oak laminate flooring.

2.    Installation

Engineered oak wooden flooring wins in the installation arena. Its design allows it to be installed in a variety of methods, including floating, which doesn’t require nails or glue. This flexibility also makes engineered flooring suitable for any level of the home, including basements, where moisture levels are higher. On the other hand, solid oak flooring requires nail-down installation over a wooden subfloor and is not recommended for areas with high moisture content.

3.    Aesthetics

Both solid and engineered oak flooring delivers the timeless beauty of the oak. Solid oak flooring offers a slight advantage, as it can be refinished multiple times, thereby giving the owner the flexibility to change the look over time. However, the top layer of engineered oak flooring is real wood, which means it looks just as beautiful as solid wood to the naked eye.

4.    Cost

Cost is another important consideration. Solid oak flooring tends to be more expensive upfront due to the amount of solid wood used. Engineered oak flooring, though typically less expensive initially, might incur higher costs in the long run due to its limited refinishing potential.

5.    Sustainability

If sustainability is a priority, you might lean toward engineered oak flooring. It uses less slow-growing hardwood than solid oak flooring, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Both real solid oak flooring and engineered oak flooring have their strengths and weaknesses. The decision between the two often boils down to personal preference, budget, and specific needs of the installation area. Solid oak flooring, with its incredible durability and potential for longevity, could be a great investment for those who want a timeless and changeable aesthetic.

Meanwhile, engineered oak flooring is a fantastic choice for those seeking an authentic wood look with easier installation, adaptability to various environments, and more eco-friendly characteristics. Ultimately, whichever type you choose, oak flooring is sure to add warmth, value, and natural beauty to your home.


Melissa Jane Lee

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