Solid wood flooring, as the name suggests, is made of solid wood throughout its thickness. It usually made of a hardwood species, such as oak, maple, or walnut, and its major advantage is that it can be sanded and refinished many times over the course of its lifespan. Engineered wood flooring looks very similar on the surface, but it is made from a relatively thin layer of hardwood bonded over a substrate of high-quality plywood. Engineered flooring is somewhat less expensive than solid hardwood, but most types can be sanded and refinished only once since the surface hardwood layer is relatively thin. There is no clear advantage to one form of wood flooring over the other; your choice depends on how much you value the relative merits of each.
Solid wood flooring comes in long planks, usually made of a hardwood species. It is milled with tongues and grooves on opposite edges so that the boards interlock when installed. It is always nailed down to the subfloor, a process that requires some skill. Because it is solid wood, this flooring can be sanded down and refinished several times over its life.
Solid hardwood flooring boards tend to be narrower than engineered hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood generally has very tight seams between boards, and there is a great range of colors and species than is found with engineered hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood is available in both pre-finished and unfinished boards.
Solid hardwood is not recommended for installation against concrete slabs, since humidity migrating through the concrete can cause solid hardwood to swell and warp.
This flooring is easy to clean with simple sweeping and vacuuming, and occasional damp-mopping with an approved wood cleaner.
Solid hardwood is slightly superior here, since it can be sanded down and refinished several times over its lifespan.
Solid hardwood flooring is installed with a tongue-and-groove system, in which each board is blind-nailed to the subfloor down through tongues at the edges of the boards.
Pre-finished solid hardwood averages about $8 per square foot, within a range of $4 to $12 per square foot.
Solid hardwood typically lasts at least 30 years and as much as 100 years, since it can be sanded down and refinished several times.
Standard hardwood flooring planks are 3/4 inch thick, 2 1/4 inches wide, and sold n various lengths from 12 to 84 inches. Other thicknesses and widths are also available, though solid hardwood flooring is rarely more than about 4 inches wide.
In appearance, solid hardwood is not noticeably different from engineered hardwood, but real estate professionals and potential home buyers may place a premium on a solid hardwood floor for its greater longevity.