Hard flooring

Hardwood vs engineered wood flooring

When choosing the best wooden flooring for your project, the two big contenders are hardwood and engineered wood. Determining the best depends entirely on your wants, needs, and budget. Here’s everything you need to know about hardwood vs. engineered wood floors.

What is hardwood?

Hardwood refers to wood taken from the trunks and branches of dicot trees. Dicot refers to plants that reproduce using flowers, including trees such as oak, beech, maple, and walnut.

What is engineered wood?

Engineered wood is composed of three different layered materials. The base is a veneer layer with a cross-layered core made out of plywood or softwood. The top layer is solid wood.

Pros and cons of hardwood vs engineered flooring

There’s no cut-and-dry answer to which type of wooden flooring is best, it will depend on the project. Both types of flooring have different pros and cons, so consider your circumstances when deciding which is best for your needs.


Hardwood has a much longer lifespan compared to engineered wood. Hardwood can last anywhere from 30-100 years and can be sanded or refinished multiple times. Engineered wood can be much harder to sand or refinish, depending on the thickness of the top layer of wood. The average lifespan of engineered wood is roughly 20-40 years.

It’s important to note that due to its natural composition, hardwood is often susceptible to moisture and other atmospheric conditions. This can result in expansion, contraction, or warping of the planks. Engineered wood tends to be more durable in this aspect, being resistant to temperature changes and less likely to become deformed over time.

If you’re installing the flooring in an area of high foot traffic, like a commercial building or a stairway, you may favor the longer lifespan of hardwood. Despite this, in specific settings where the flooring is likely to be exposed to high levels of moisture and extreme temperature changes, engineered wood is likely to last longer.


In general, engineered wood flooring tends to be slightly cheaper than hardwood, but not by much. Due to this, it’s unlikely that cost alone would be the deciding factor when choosing the best flooring material, but you might still want to consider it.

Plank dimensions

Engineered wood is a much more stable material than hardwood, so it is often available in longer and wider plank sizes. The larger a hardwood plank, the less stable it is. Your preference for plank length comes down to the desired flooring aesthetics. If you’d prefer fewer, long planks, engineered wood is likely the right choice.

Noise control

Hardwood flooring absorbs reverberation well and distributes sound evenly around the room; however, it can feel harder underfoot. Engineered wood flooring is the opposite; it doesn’t absorb sound well and can be noisy to walk on, especially if fitted using a floating installation method. Despite the additional noise, engineered wood tends to be softer to walk across.

Underfloor heating

If you plan to install underfloor heating in this area, engineered wood is the better choice. It is not recommended to install hardwood flooring over an underfloor heating system.


The manufacturing process of hardwood flooring is much shorter than that of engineered wood and, therefore, is more sustainable. However, engineered wood uses less solid wood per plank, meaning the wood can go much further – one hardwood plank could make multiple engineered wood planks of the same dimensions.


Hardwood flooring must be nailed into place, whereas engineered wood flooring can be installed using various methods, such as nails, glue, or floating. Consider where the flooring will be installed to determine if the area is suitable for nailing down planks, as this could be a significant factor in deciding which type of flooring is best.

Wood floors vs. engineered wood floors

Neither hardwood nor engineered word is inherently better as a flooring choice. It entirely depends on what you want and need from your flooring material. Commercial buildings may value certain advantages that differ from the needs of a home.

No matter which type of flooring you choose, be sure to purchase it from a reputable manufacturer. It’s also essential to have your new flooring installed by a professional. This reduces the risk of the flooring getting damaged or being installed in a way that reduces its lifespan or makes it unsafe.