WOOD FLOOR ENGINEERED & SOLID - CONTENTS: Definition of Solid Wood Floors, Engineered Wood Floors, & Wood Laminate Floors. What's the difference between engineered wood floors and wood laminate floors? What types of wood floors can be re-finished? Can pre-finished solid wood flooring or pre-finished lamianate wood flooring be re-finished? Effect of pre-finished wood floor v-grooves on floor re-finishing projects
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
This article defines and illustrates types of modern wood flooring, including solid wood floors, engineered wood floors, and laminate wood floor products. We also illustrate wood lookalike laminate flooring products.
Our page top photo illustrates what can happen to an engineered-wood floor (or any wood floor for that matter) if it is exposed to flooding from a burst plumbing or heating pipe.
Here we define three basic types of flooring products: hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring, and laminate flooring. We illustrate each of these floor covering approaches with flooring sample photographs below.
[Solid] Hardwood flooring is illustrated by our photo above. This hardwood flooring sample is Vintage Maple Natural 3/4" thick x 3 1/4" wide tongue and groove flooring produced by Tarkett and has a hardness rating of 4 on a 1 to 5 scale. Solid hardwood flooring is just that - flooring material made out of a single piece of hardwood, usually cut into a tongue-and-groove profile that is installed to the subfloor by nailing through the tongue on a diagonal into the floor board and into the subfloor below.
Engineered wood flooring is illustrated by our second photo at below. Shown is Click Bamboo-Toast 9/16" flooring available through Home Depot® stores. Engineered wood flooring combines a top layer of wood that is bonded to multiple plies of softwood that affords uniformity and dimensional stability.
Engineered wood flooring is sold in a variety of edge profiles including tongue-and groove and "click" flooring whose planks interlock together. Engineered wood flooring may be nailed or stapled to the subfloor or in some products it is installed as a floating floor over the subfloor.
Laminate flooring, including laminate wood flooring looks like a hardwood floor, provides a hard surable surface, but is usually less costly per square foot than the solid or engineered wood floor products above.
Just below is a laminate floor product that provides a thin vinyl skin with a wood grain image. This click-lock laminate floor product (Palace Oak Light) is produced by Home Legend™ and is warranted for 55 years in residential use.
Shown next - below - our photograph shows another Home Legend™ flooring product, Tigerwood, that is sold in three flooring versions: 3 1/2" wide x 3/8" "click" (shown in our photo), also available in 1/2" thick engineered wood design, and also sold in a 3 1/4" wide x 3/4" solid wood version.
Sorting out the Confusion: What's the Difference Between Engineered Wood Flooring and Laminate Wood Flooring
What's the difference beween an engineered wood flooring product and a laminated wood flooring product?
It's confusing looking through flooring types, labels, and samples at wood floor suppliers like Home Depot® where dozens of choices are available.
But the answer to the question of the difference beween engineered wood floors and laminate wood floors lies in the thickness of the top or exposed wood layer. Engineered wood flooring has a top or exposed real wood layer that is typically 1/8" or greater in thickness, bonded to plies of softwood below. Laminated wood flooring also has a top or exposed layer of real wood, but typically in a layer that may be just 1/16" or even less (shown at above right).
A laminated wood floor surface is not one that you are likely to ever try to re-finish by sanding - the top veneer is just too thin. But then, some of these laminates are warranted for a long time in residential use.
An engineered wood floor can often be sanded and re-finished if necessary - perhaps once.
Comparing Engineered Wood Floors to Solid Wood Floors
Both solid wood flooring and many engineered floor products include a sufficiently-thick sandable layer that the floor can be sanded and refinished if necessary. But with some caveats:
A solid wood floor may or may not be capable of being sanded and re-finished - it depends. While there are some pre-finished solid wood floors that are dead smooth (no V-groove), most pre-finished solid wood floors have at least a slight champfer along the floor boards' edges - see our photo at left.
That produces a shallow "Vee" groove between adjacent pre-finished flooring planks. The V-groove hides slight differences in flooring thickness or installation variaitons that otherwise might appear.
But the V-groove means that you cannot easily sand and refinish the flooring since doing so risks leaving Vees insome areas and not others - really a wierd looking result. Of course with the thickness of a full 3/4" solid wood floor you probably have enough thickness to sand shallow vee grooves right out of existence should floor sanding and re-finishing become really necessary.
Sources of Indoor Engineered Wood and Wood Laminate Flooring Materials
Prefinished Wood Flooring
Snap-together, no-glue long-strip and single-strip
Anderson Hardwood Floors
Laminated strip, nail, glue, and floating
Armstrong World Industries
Bruce, Hartco, and Robbins prefinished plank and
BHK of America
Snap-together, no-glue laminated wood flooring
Columbia Wood Flooring
Prefinished solid strip
Floating click-lock oak flooring
Engineered wood strip with oil, UV-cured urethane,
or acrylic-impregnated finish
Floating solid strip with metal clip installation
Laminated strip with UV-cured acrylic urethane,
nail, glue, or floating
Prefinished strip, laminated strip, and click-lock
Laminated strip and plank with polyurethane and
Medallion Hardwood Flooring
Prefinished solid hardwood strip and plank with
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Pergo AB, division of Perstorp AB, is a Swedish manufacturer or modern laminate flooring products. Information about the U.S. company can be found at http://www.pergo.com where we obtained historical data used in our discussion of the age of flooring materials in buildings.
Plank House Construction: webslog from plankhouse.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/plank-house-construction/ and where plank houses were built by native Americans, see
Large 1:6 Scale Plank House Construction / P8094228,
Photographer: Mike Meuser
06/12/2007 documented at yurokplankhouse.com where scale model Museum quality Yurok Plank Houses are being sold to raise money for the Blue Creek - Ah Pah Traditional Yurok Village project.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones