Would the REAL Hardwood Please Stand Up?
Working in the flooring industry, I would often hear people say that they want solid hardwood for their floors because they want real wood. When I would suggest engineered hardwood as another option, I would get the response, “That’s not real wood.” Well, actually, it is. Engineered hardwood is real wood – it’s just constructed differently.
Solid hardwood is one solid piece that is milled from lumber. You start with a felled tree and cut the wood you want from it. That’s solid hardwood. There are many solid wood species, like oak, cherry, hickory, etc., and all of them are available in a variety of thicknesses and surface treatments. But here’s the critical thing to know about solid hardwood: all solid hardwoods should only be installed on or above grade in your home. On grade means at ground level, (usually the first floor in the U.S.). Above grade is any floor above ground level. The basement, on the other hand, is below grade, so you can’t install solid hardwood there. Why? The moisture levels below grade vary too much and are typically too high for solid hardwood. Since solid wood is a natural material, it will expand and contract with variations in moisture levels, and trust, me, you wouldn’t be happy with the results!
Let’s move onto engineered hardwood. This real wood product is made of 3-to-10 layers of wood called plies. Each layer is assembled and glued in a cross-ply fashion (The grain runs horizontally on one ply, then vertically on the next and builds on that structure.). The cross-ply construction counter-acts the movement of the wood ply above and below it, making engineered wood less susceptible to changes in temperatures and humidity. So engineered wood would be an excellent choice for any grade level of your home – including basements. Just like solid hardwood, engineered wood is available in many different wood species like oak, cherry, maple and hickory.
Both solid and engineered hardwood offer a variety of finishes to complement your home’s interior. Get more information on the features and benefits of solid and engineered hardwood.
The next time someone tries to tell you engineered hardwood is not “real wood,” tell them it ain’t so. And you heard it here – from Armstrong.
Shannon Weir has been working with construction products – particularly those made from wood – for over 15 years. She has a degree in Communications from the University of Kentucky and is our Marketing Communications and Public Relations manager. An avid runner, Shannon enjoys blogging about Armstrong’s sustainability initiatives and new products.