With real hardwood – There are two subcategories in real hardwood. There’s real hardwood, and there’s engineered hardwood, and there are some differences between them and some examples of both. Solid hardwood is a one piece of hardwood from top to bottom. In the cross-section, this is one piece all the way throughout from top to bottom. Solid hardwood comes in different thicknesses. Typically it’s a 3 quarters inch thick but it could be 5/8 though this is the lowest. Sometimes you’ll see a half-inch thickness of the solid hardwood but 5/8 is a little more typical these days but the most typical you’ll see, the most prevalent is 3 quarter inch solid hardwood. So that would be measuring from top to bottom. It’s all one piece of wood, whatever the piece, the product is, the species, oak, maple, hickory, three-quarter inch all the way, top-to-bottom. The only way to see the difference between solid and engineered is to look at a cross-section. Because from the top, just looking at the surface, you can’t tell the difference. Even with laminate – you can’t tell the difference between a solid hardwood and engineered hardwood and a laminate necessarily just by looking at the surface. You have to look at a cross-section and see how the product is actually constructed. As you know, engineered hardwood is also made up of layers of wood. Typically, its 7 layers however it can be anywhere from 4 to 9 layered wood. It’s a layered wood where the wood is actually put at a 90 degree angle all the way across, all the way up and even on the top layer and usually the bottom layer as well, is the real oak, hickory, maple. Whatever the product is, it’s that top layer is what they’re referring to, and the top layers vary in thickness. The top layers, just like in solid or in laminate could have different features. They could have a gloss on them. They could have a different features and a hand scrape texture yet the top layer is what the actual real wood is. Solid hardwood have some differences with engineered hardwood. Solid hardware must be nailed down, nailed or stapled down to a wood sub floor. You shoot the nails or the staples typically right through the tongue at an angle and that’s how you install it. Generally, solid hardwood is not installed on concrete subfloors, concrete floors. There are some glues out there that do work with solid hardwood though they are costly. They’re relatively new to the market and some people are not yet convenience if it is the right product to install it with. Others still preferred the traditional nailed down or staple down to a wood sub floor when it comes to solid hardwood. Now, years and years ago, solid hardwood was installed by face nailing and putting nails right through the face. That’s still done, normally only around the perimeter of a room, mostly there is a staple process now, through a nail gun which you can go out and rent if you don’t want to buy and you’re going to do this project yourself. Staple actually goes through the tongues as and then go through the tongue and then next piece would click together a tongue and groove and then you’d continue on through this tongue and so forth throughout your job. So one major difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood is that solid hardwood must be nailed or stapled down to a wood subfloor. That eliminates the population out there that has no basement that their home is just built on a concrete slab and they’re doing their project on the first floor. In engineered hardwood, you have options in terms on how to want to install it. It can go down on wood subfloor or concrete subfloor. On a concrete subfloor, you can actually glue it down directly. You can trowel out glue and put the actual pieces down and that’s the very common thing to do. The other way to install it is over a concrete subfloor. You’d actually glue the tongue and grooves together. Put a thin bead of glue in the groove side. Glue the tongue and grooves together and float over a pad. You’d lay a pad out first, just like in laminate. The other way to do it, if you are on a wood sub floor is just like with solid. You can actually shoot staples through the tongue side and install it that way. There are some installation differences between solid and engineered. Normally must be nailed of stapled. Wood subfloor is only for solid and for engineered you can glue, you can staple or you can float. You have your options with solid hardwood, if you get a deep gouge, a deep scratch or something damages the floor itself you have the option, and this is one of the great benefits of solid hardwood, to have the floor done sanding and refinishing it. The absolute great benefit of solid hardwood is that it can be sanded and refinished, commonly, multiple times. It is also should be done by a professional and since they know just how deep to go to get that gouge out of it and if looking for to replace or to fix it they also do a very good job of not taking too much off so that you can do it multiple times if you want. But then again if you have a deep gouge or a deep scratch you have to change the stain color. You do have the opportunity to sand and refinish it. If the solid hardwood that you have in your home or your business had a hand scraped texture to it and if it gets sanded that hand scraped is going to be gone because they’re bound to take it down to a smooth, flat, level surface and then they’ll apply the stain. On a certain event, it can be sanded and refinished nevertheless, keep in mind this will come in a pretty good expense. Price could go upward to $2 – $3 per square foot, in some cases even more cost you’ll get from sanding and refinishing. When it comes to the procedure, they do have some newer ways of doing it now but usually it’s messy and dusty. You need all the furniture in the house gets move out. The job takes a few days, 2 – 3 days, and then all the furniture gets move back in, so it’s really is a process, but this is a great benefit to solid hardwood, there’s no doubt about it. Some engineered hardwoods can be sanded and refinished though there are some that can’t. It will depend on is the thickness of the top layer of the engineered hardwood and if a professional can actually sand down and still stay within the top layer so that you can stain it, recoat it and still have a beautiful floor, that would be rare. It is not really recommended sanding and refinishing engineered hardwoods. There are too many people out there doing the sanding and the refinishing of engineered hardwood. It is not guarantee that you’ll come up with great results after sanding and refinishing the wood. A great difference between solid and the engineered is that solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished and classically not on the engineered. With solid hardwood, it is the most expensive wood flooring product out on the market. People consider it the best of the best and it’s a great product, there’s no doubt about it however, there are things you need to consider when you are thinking on buying solid hardwood. Since the nature of the installing it, shooting the nails into a wood subfloor, you have the opportunity to see what we call cupping over time. There are changes in humidity and temperature in your home and in the area you live. You will notice and see the actual individual boards of wood that will expand and contract. When they contract, you can see boards tend to come apart a little bit and they can cup and you will see gaps in your floor where the bevel, tongue and groove were tight and possibly they can came apart a quarter of an inch or 3/8 inch or half an inch. It’s something that happens due to changes in the environment. On the other hand, engineered hardwood, due to its layered properties and since it’s not a one piece of wood from top to bottom, it has greater stability against changes in humidity and temperature especially when you float the product. You glue the tongue and grooves together, you can observed that there will be an expansion and contradiction but since it’s a floating floor, the floor will move though you will not see it nor feel it, the floor will move and take care of itself. You will never encounter cupping with this type of product. This is an advantage of engineered over the solid hardwood. Those are the main differences between the two. There aren’t a lot of other differences. They both can have gloss finishes. They both can have textured, hand scraped finishes. They could have beveled edges, any of the aesthetic features can be shared between the two of them. They also both come in a variety of species, color stains, everything else is relatively the same. You really don’t need to pick one of those two to get a specific species or to get a natural hickory or to get a 3 inch natural hickory. They’re going to be available in either an engineered product or a solid product. The basics and the purpose of this is to tell you the difference and explain the difference between a solid hardwood and an engineered one. For the overview, Solid hardwood has advantages and disadvantages. It’s a great product and one of the best. It must be nailed down, one piece from top to bottom and can be sanded and refinished. Engineered hardwood also has advantages and disadvantages. It’s similarly a great product for those of you out there on concrete slabs that can’t have the solid hardwood. If you want the real thing but you can’t, then this is it. There is no difference from looking above. Your friends will never know whether you have solid hardwood or engineered hard wood. If you are going to resell your house, this will still classified as wood. And that are the differences and similarities of solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.