Tonawanda News

December 16, 2013

DESIGNS BY DANA: Engineered hardwood the way to go?

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Question: Can you explain the difference between hardwood and engineered hardwood for floors? We are a little confused on which way to go.

Answer: Having hardwood installed in your home is a one of the best flooring options an owner can make. Hardwood is not only beautiful it’s a product that never goes out of style and, when properly maintained, it will last for the lifetime of the house. I’ve even utilized reclaimed hardwoods that have outlasted the houses themselves. Hardwood is as much an investment as it is a design statement.

The introduction of engineered hardwood has many consumers confused, often thinking that it’s man-made and not a real wood. Engineered wood is a real hardwood. Solid hardwood is milled from the tree as one solid piece, generally at a 3/4 of an inch thickness. Engineered hardwood is produced using layers of hardwood stacked on each other and bonded together.

Solid hardwood flooring — like any solid wood — expands and contracts with any changes in your homes humidity. For this reason it cannot be installed below grade level or anywhere that moisture may be present. 

The industry addressed this issue with the development of engineered hardwoods. Engineered flooring will not alter with humidity and temperature, changes and comes in a number of different thicknesses, making it the ideal choice for almost any room on any level of any home.

The next question I am often asked regarding engineered hardwood is whether or not it can be refinished like a solid hardwood. Any finish on any type of real wood can be removed and reapplied.

The only thing that could be affected by the thickness of the hardwood itself is if you wanted to sand it down and change the actual color that your wood is stained, which is not something the average homeowner will ever do let alone do it a number of times.

For all the reasons that I mentioned at the beginning of this article, hardwood flooring has seen a resurgence in popularity. Whether it’s a solid or an engineered hardwood that you decide on to meet your needs, your biggest decision will come when it’s time to select the wood itself: the type of wood species — from subtle maple to wild tiger — the color of the stain — from a light natural to a deep chocolate — and the finish — from a hand scraped to a smooth gloss. 

No matter what you choose you can be sure it will add a richness, beauty and value to your home that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Dana is the owner of Interiors by Dana. You can e-mail your design questions to her at or contact her at M. Carter Decor 434-2159.