What type of hardwood floor is better: engineered or natural? This is an age old question and it doesn’t necessarily have an answer that is set in stone. Some people prefer engineered, some prefer natural. The key here is understanding what is best for your home or business.A lot of times it just comes down to personal preference. Let’s go over the pros and cons of both engineered and natural hardwood floors so that you can make an educated decision.

Natural Hardwood Floors

hardwoodMany people favor natural hardwood floors due to their authenticity and elegance. As the name implies, they are made from a solid piece of wood covered with a thin protective layer. This allows the floor to be polished and even sanded for the lifetime of the floor. Another great thing about natural hardwood floors is the fact that they come in many different varieties such as oak, maple, and even exotic styles from Africa and Brazil. This gives you a lot of options to choose from when picking out the perfect floor.

There are some drawbacks to using a natural hardwood floor though. The biggest is probably how susceptible natural hardwood floors are to humidity. If the humidity in your home or office does not fall between 45% and 60% year round, then you may find that your natural hardwood floor will become warped.

Another issue is the fact that natural hardwood floors contract and expand with temperature. This means that a certain amount of space will have to be left between the floor and the walls to accommodate this. Another thing to consider is that natural hardwood floors can only be used over certain types of subfloors such as wood, plywood, and oriented strand board. This may cause some limitations for you in certain situations.

Engineered Hardwood Floors

Engineered hardwood floors are sometimes referred to as layered floors because they are made up of several layers fused together under extreme pressure and heat. Due to this method of construction, engineered hardwood floors tend to not be affected by humidity like natural hardwood floors are. This allows them to be used in more rooms than natural hardwood floors such as in kitchens and bathrooms where the humidity can vary. They are also great for installing over in floor heating systems which can be problematic for natural hardwood floors at times.

The main drawbacks for engineered hardwood floors is the fact that some people feel that it lacks the “authenticity” of a natural hardwood floor. While this may be the case, most engineered hardwood floors still manage to look very nice and replicate the feel of a natural hardwood floor very well. Other than that, the only other real drawback is that engineered hardwood floors can sometimes add less value to your home than a natural hardwood floor made from exotic woods.

In the end the choice of which type of hardwood floor to go with comes down to personal preference in most cases.