Are you bewildered by flooring? Finding it mind-boggling to choose between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood? Well, fret not! You are not alone, and we, at California Flooring and Design, are here to help you unravel the conundrum. Exuding warmth and sophistication, hardwood floors have long been a darling of homeowners. Be it a rustic countryside retreat or a slick urban penthouse, hardwood flooring effortlessly amps up the style quotient. However, the point of confluence often leads to a prime predicament – which is better, solid hardwood or engineered hardwood?

Furthermore, several factors like durability, moisture resistance, cost, and longevity add to the complexity of this decision. By virtue of our extensive experience working with various hardwood species, we can expertly guide you in making an informed choice that aligns with your lifestyle, expectations, and budget.

Here’s a quick comparison to help you assess the surface:

Criteria Solid Hardwood Engineered Hardwood
Construction Made entirely of the same wood species Thin layer of hardwood on top, plywood core
Durable Highly Durable Less Durable than Solid Hardwood
Moisture Resistant Susceptible to Changes in Humidity More Resistant to Humidity changes
Refinishing Capability Can be refinished multiple times Limited to 1 to 2 refinishing

Infographic showing comparison between Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood - which is better solid hardwood or engineered hardwood infographic comparison-2-items-formal

The right kind of flooring enhances not just the aesthetics of your home but also contributes significantly to its value. So, step inside and let’s delve deeper into hardwood floors and elucidate the best option for your home.

Understanding Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood

When you step into a home with hardwood floors, you’re stepping into a world of natural elegance and warm sophistication. But what kind of hardwood is underfoot? Is it solid hardwood or engineered? Let’s explore the fundamental aspects of both.

What is Solid Hardwood?

Solid hardwood flooring, as the name suggests, is a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The manufacturing process is more about milling and drying rather than complex manufacturing. The logs are milled into thick boards of random widths and lengths, kiln-dried to a specific moisture content, and then milled again to achieve the desired width and thickness. The result is a beautiful, durable flooring that can be refinished multiple times, extending its lifespan considerably.

Solid hardwood comes in various species, each with its unique characteristics. You might choose radiant maple, classic oak, or durable hickory, depending on your aesthetic preference and durability requirements.

What is Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is a bit more complex in its construction. It is made up of multiple layers of wood, known as plies, that are glued together in a cross-grain construction. This type of construction is what makes engineered hardwood more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood, especially in response to changes in temperature and humidity.

The top layer of engineered hardwood, known as the wear layer, is a solid layer of wood. This layer is what you see and walk on, and it’s indistinguishable from solid hardwood. Underneath this layer are several more layers of hardwood, known as the core. This layered construction gives engineered hardwood its unique properties – increased stability, resistance to moisture, and a slightly lower price point than solid hardwood.

Both solid and engineered hardwood have their strengths, and the best choice between them depends on various factors such as your budget, the specific requirements of your space, and personal preference. At California Flooring and Design, we offer a wide range of both solid and engineered hardwood, allowing you to find the perfect flooring solution for your home.

Comparing Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood

In comparing solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, it’s crucial to understand their construction, durability, moisture resistance, lifespan, cost, and environmental impact.

Construction and Durability

Solid hardwood floors are made from a single piece of wood. They are renowned for their durability and beauty, making them an excellent long-term flooring solution. Different species like oak, maple, cherry, and exotic hardwoods like mahogany and Brazilian Tigerwood offer a variety of grain types, each adding a unique charm to your rooms.

Engineered hardwood floors, on the other hand, are constructed from several layers of thin wood plies laminated together with a thin layer of hardwood on top. This construction makes them more stable and resistant to scratching and warping compared to solid hardwood. However, unlike solid hardwood, you can’t refinish engineered hardwood as often.

Moisture Resistance

Solid hardwood is susceptible to moisture and may warp or cup when exposed to high humidity or damp conditions. On the other hand, engineered hardwood offers better resistance to moisture, making it a suitable choice for high-moisture environments such as bathrooms, basements, or when installed directly on concrete.

Lifespan and Refinishing

Solid hardwood floors can last for generations if properly maintained. They can be sanded and refinished multiple times, allowing you to refresh their appearance or change the color. Engineered hardwood also has a long lifespan, but the number of times it can be refinished depends on the thickness of the top veneer layer.

Cost and Installation

In terms of cost, engineered hardwood is typically more cost-effective than solid hardwood due to its construction using less hardwood and more wood waste byproducts. Installation is also easier with engineered hardwood, as it can be glued or floated, unlike solid hardwood, which requires nailing or stapling.

Environmental Impact

Solid hardwood has a slight edge in terms of environmental impact. It is a natural, renewable resource and can be recycled at the end of its life. Engineered hardwood, however, uses glues and resins that may contain volatile organic compounds. It is not biodegradable due to the adhesives used in its construction.

In conclusion, the choice between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood depends on your specific needs and circumstances. At California Flooring and Design, we can guide you through the process and help you make the best decision based on your budget, lifestyle, and aesthetic preferences.

Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood in Different Rooms

When deciding between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, it’s important to consider the specific needs of each room in your home. Factors such as moisture levels, temperature fluctuations, and foot traffic can all influence the performance and longevity of your flooring.

Solid Hardwood in the Kitchen

Solid hardwood is often a popular choice for kitchens due to its timeless aesthetic and the warmth it brings to the heart of the home. However, kitchens are high-traffic areas prone to spills and variations in temperature and humidity. While solid hardwood is durable, it is more susceptible to warping and damage in these conditions. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to spills can help mitigate these issues.

Engineered Hardwood in the Kitchen

Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is a more resilient choice for kitchens. As it is constructed from layers of wood glued together, it is more stable and less prone to warping in response to moisture and temperature changes. Its top layer still offers the beautiful look of solid hardwood, and it can often be refinished if necessary.

Solid Hardwood in High-Moisture Environments

High-moisture environments such as bathrooms, basements, or rooms with concrete subfloors can pose a challenge for solid hardwood. Despite its durability, solid hardwood is sensitive to moisture and can warp or buckle when exposed to high humidity levels or direct contact with water. Therefore, it is generally not recommended for these areas.

Engineered Hardwood in High-Moisture Environments

Engineered hardwood is a superior choice for high-moisture environments. Its layered construction provides greater resistance to moisture and temperature fluctuations, making it suitable for rooms where solid hardwood may not be ideal. As Forbes points out, “Engineered wood flooring is a better choice in high-moisture environments than solid hardwood.”

While engineered hardwood is more moisture-resistant than solid hardwood, it is not waterproof. Care should still be taken to prevent prolonged exposure to water or high humidity.

At California Flooring and Design, we understand that choosing the right flooring can be a complex decision. Our team of experts is here to guide you through the process, ensuring you make the best choice for each room in your home.

Top Brands for Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood

In flooring, not all brands are created equal. Whether you’re considering solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, the quality and reputation of the manufacturer can make a significant difference in your floor’s durability, appearance, and lifespan.

Top Brands for Solid Hardwood

When it comes to solid hardwood, a few brands rise above the rest due to their exceptional quality and extensive range of options.

Carlisle: This brand specializes in wide-plank solid wood flooring and is known for its excellent craftsmanship and high-quality materials. Carlisle offers a broad selection of wood species, giving you the freedom to customize your flooring to your exact specifications.

Bruce: A brand of AHF Products, Bruce offers a very broad selection of solid hardwood flooring. With more than 190 species and colors to choose from, Bruce provides plenty of options for homeowners to find the perfect match for their interiors.

Top Brands for Engineered Hardwood

For engineered hardwood, these brands have established themselves as leaders in the industry.

LL Flooring: Formerly known as Lumber Liquidators, LL Flooring sells engineered hardwood flooring at discount prices. They offer an extensive range of wood species and finishes, making it easy to find a design that fits your home’s aesthetic and budget.

Bruce: In addition to their solid hardwood range, Bruce also offers more than 150 options in engineered hardwood at moderate prices. Their products are known for their durability, making them a great choice for areas with high traffic or moisture levels.

At California Flooring and Design, we pride ourselves on offering a curated selection of top-quality flooring products from these industry-leading brands and others. Whether you’re leaning towards solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, we’re here to help you make the best choice for your home’s unique needs and style.

Making the Right Choice: Factors to Consider

When you’re trying to decide which is better, solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, consider several factors beyond just the initial cost. The right choice for you will depend on your budget, the location of installation, how you plan to maintain the floor, and your long-term plans for your home.


The first thing to consider is your budget. While solid hardwood tends to be more expensive upfront, it can also last longer and be refinished multiple times, potentially offering better value over time. On the other hand, engineered hardwood usually has a lower initial cost and can still offer excellent durability and aesthetic appeal.

Location of Installation

Next, consider where the flooring will be installed. Solid hardwood is typically best suited to dry, above-grade installations, due to its susceptibility to moisture and temperature changes. Engineered hardwood, with its increased moisture resistance, can be a better choice for below-grade installations (like basements) or areas where moisture might be a concern, such as bathrooms or kitchens.

Maintenance and Care

The maintenance required for your new floor is also an important factor to consider. Both solid and engineered hardwood require regular cleaning and care to maintain their beauty and longevity. This can include sweeping, mopping, and occasionally refinishing the surface. However, solid hardwood offers the capacity for approximately ten refinishings before the tongue and groove starts to show, while engineered hardwoods are limited by the thickness of the wear layer.

Longevity and Resale Value

Finally, consider the longevity and potential resale value that each type of flooring can bring to your home. Solid hardwood is renowned for its longevity, and a well-maintained hardwood floor can also increase a home’s resale value. Engineered hardwood can also last for many years, but the lifespan can be influenced by the thickness of the top “wear” layer.

Choosing between solid and engineered hardwood isn’t just about the cost or appearance. It’s about finding a balance between durability, maintenance, and the unique needs of your home. At California Flooring and Design, we’re here to help you make an informed decision that you’ll be satisfied with for years to come.


Deciding which is better, solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, can feel like a daunting task. However, armed with the right knowledge and understanding of your specific needs, it becomes a more manageable challenge.

Solid hardwood, with its pure wood construction, offers unmatched depth and beauty. It’s ideal for areas where longevity and the ability to refinish multiple times is a priority. However, it is more vulnerable to changes in humidity and should not be installed in moisture-prone areas.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood provides a great blend of durability and stability, making it a suitable choice for areas where moisture and temperature fluctuations are a concern. But remember, its refinishing potential is limited by the thickness of its top layer.

In the end, the choice between solid and engineered hardwood depends on your specific needs, budget, and the conditions of your home. Both options provide the timeless beauty of hardwood, and with proper care and maintenance, can last for many years.

At California Flooring and Design, we believe in helping our clients make well-informed decisions. We offer a wide range of solid and engineered hardwood options, and our team of experts is ready to guide you through the process of selecting the perfect flooring for your home.

Whether you choose solid or engineered hardwood, you’re investing in a timeless, beautiful flooring option that adds value and warmth to your home. So, take your time, weigh your options, and make the choice that best fits your lifestyle and needs.

We hope this guide has given you a clearer understanding of solid vs. engineered hardwood. If you have any more questions or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at California Flooring and Design. We’re always here to help you make the best choice for your home.

About California Flooring & Design

When it comes to hardwood flooring, the California Flooring & Design team is here to provide comprehensive services, quality products, and unparalleled expertise. We understand that your home is not just a place but a reflection of your vision, your style, and your standards. This guides our approach to providing an exceptional customer experience.

Our Commitment to Quality and Customer Satisfaction

As a family-owned and operated business, we bring a unique touch of personal commitment and dedication to each project. We value the trust our customers place in our services and strive to exceed expectations every time. Our history is grounded in reliability, productivity, and responsiveness, ensuring we offer top-notch service without over-promising or underestimating the complexity of the job. This focus on integrity and high-quality service has made us a trusted name among homeowners in San Diego.

Our 5-Year Guarantee on Products

We believe in the quality of our products and the craftsmanship of our installation. That’s why we offer a 5-year guarantee on a wide range of flooring issues. This guarantee provides homeowners with the assurance that any issues will be promptly addressed. To ensure a smooth and hassle-free installation process, we also offer a complimentary moving of basic furniture before installation and a full inspection tour afterward.

Our Expertise in Hardwood Flooring Installation, Cleaning, and Restoration

We specialize in hardwood flooring. Our team understands the unique properties of different hardwood species and uses this knowledge to guide homeowners through the selection process. We don’t just stop at helping you choose the right hardwood; we also ensure it’s installed to perfection. Our in-house team of professionally trained craftsmen uses meticulous attention to detail to achieve precision installation.

But our services go beyond installation. We also offer professional cleaning services, including annual oil refreshes and occasional refinishing, to keep your floors looking their best. Even when your hardwood floor needs more than just a clean, our restoration services can breathe new life into it.

We pride ourselves on being more than just a flooring company. With California Flooring & Design, you’re not just investing in hardwood flooring; you’re investing in a promise of durability, quality, and satisfaction. To learn more about our services or to request a free in-home estimate, contact us today.