Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. Solid hardwood floors were originally used for structural purposes, being installed perpendicular to the wooden support beams of a building known as joists or bearers. With the increased use of concrete as a subfloor in some parts of the world, engineered wood flooring has gained some popularity.
However, solid wood floors are still common and popular. Solid wood floors have a thicker wear surface and can be sanded and finished more times than an engineered wood floor. It is not uncommon for homes in New England, Eastern Canada, USA, and Europe to have the original solid wood floor still in use today.
Solid wood manufacturing
Solid wood flooring is milled from a single piece of timber that is kiln or air dried before sawing.
Depending on the desired look of the floor, the timber can be cut in three ways: flat-sawn, quarter-sawn, and rift-sawn.
The timber is cut to the desired dimensions and either packed unfinished for a site-finished installation or finished at the factory.
The moisture content at time of manufacturing is carefully controlled to ensure the product does not warp during transport and storage.
A number of proprietary features for solid wood floors are available. Many solid woods come with grooves cut into the back of the wood that run the length of each plank, often called 'absorption strips,' that are intended to reduce cupping.
Solid wood floors are mostly manufactured 0.75 inches (19 mm) thick with a tongue-and-groove for installation.
Wood flooring is a popular feature in many houses.
Engineered wood flooring consists of two or more layers of wood adhered together to form a plank.
Typically, engineered wood flooring uses a thin layer (lamella) of a more expensive wood bonded to a core constructed from cheaper wood.
The increased stability of engineered wood is achieved by running each layer at a 90° angle to the layer above.
This stability makes it a universal product that can be installed over all types of subfloors above, below or on grade.
Engineered wood is the most common type of wood flooring in Europe and has been growing in popularity in North America.
Laminate and vinyl floors are often confused with engineered wood floors, but are not.
Laminate flooring uses an image of wood on its surface, while vinyl flooring is plastic formed to look like wood.