Solid wood flooring consists of one piece of wood from top to bottom. Most solid wood flooring is about 3/4 inch thick and is filled with a tongue and groove to assure an installation with no gaps that could accumulate dirt and dust.
A variety of finishes and coatings can be applied at the factory (prefinished) or at the job site to match the needs of the installation. Practical concerns favor the use of prefinished solid wood flooring. There are three advantages: factory-finished wood flooring can be installed in one step; no volatile fumes from the finish and coating are released into the home; factory coatings are harder and more durable than what is available for onsite application.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring consists of from 3 to 5 layers of laminate configured with the grain in each layer placed perpendicular to an adjoining layer. This builds strength into each finished board that exceeds that available in solid wood flooring where the grain runs in the same direction throughout the entire piece.
The top layer, called the wear layer, is sawed, sliced or shaved from a hardwood species and in the finished product will display exactly the same appearance as a solid wood piece. Oak and maple are the most popular hardwoods but exotic species like bamboo, teak, and Brazilian cherry are also readily available to consumers.
High tech glue that permanently a bond the layers also makes engineered wood flooring more impervious to water, moisture and humidity than solid flooring. This manufacturing process means that engineered wood floors can be used below grade in basements, in kitchens and bathrooms, and in humid areas of the country that were formerly off-limits to solid wood flooring.
Both solid and engineered floors can be impregnated with acrylics to make them super hard and durable enough for almost any use. This is most likely the kind of wood floor that you see in shopping malls and restaurants, but would not this engineered wood floor also make sense for family rooms and recreational areas?