Is solid or engineered flooring better?

Hardwood flooring is making a comeback and growing in popularity and it’s not hard to understand why. We are often asked about the differences between solid and engineered flooring and which is better. Traditionally hardwood flooring was solid blocks so is often seen as better. However, there are many benefits of engineered flooring.


Solid wood planks are made up of one single piece of wood cut to the required size. This means that wider planks need to be cut from bigger and older trees. In contrast engineered planks are made up of multiple layers stuck together. This allows three strips to be laid next to each other to create a wider plank. The top layer of an engineered board is the wearing surface and is a hardwood such as oak, walnut etc. The ‘sandwich’ of layers underneath the wearing layer are fast growing hardwoods arranged cross-grain for stability.
Due to the make-up of an engineered board it uses, on average, 75% less of slow growing hardwoods than solid boards. This makes engineered boards a more eco-friendly choice than solid boards.


As solid boards are only one piece of wood they are less stable than engineered. Engineered boards don’t expand and contact as much due to the ‘sandwich’ of layers. This makes them more suitable in higher moisture environments such as kitchens and basements. We do not recommend the use of wood flooring in bathrooms. Wood and water don’t mix well! The added stability pf engineered flooring also means that it can be used with water based underfloor heating

Can be sanded and refinished

Although both engineered and solid flooring can be sanded and refinished, solid is the better option for this. Engineered flooring generally has a smaller wear layer so can’t be sanded as many times. The biggest consideration is that when a floor is sanded the finish is generally removed. If you want to change the look of a floor this isn’t a problem, however, if you want to keep the look it could be hard to recreate.


Due to the profile of solid planks they have to be secret nailed or stuck down which can make the job longer. Depending on the plank, engineered flooring can be floated, secret nailed or stuck down to suit the conditions. The 5G click system on many of our engineered boards makes them quick and easy to install.

Whether you choose solid or engineered hardwood flooring Atkinson & Kirby can help you pick the right flooring for your project.

View our range of engineered flooring, to view our range of solid flooring.