Solid hardwood is 100% solid wood. Most solid hardwood flooring needs to be nailed to a subfloor and is susceptible to shrinking and expanding from excessive moisture and extreme temperature changes. This makes it unsuitable for installation directly over concrete and is not usually recommended for below grade use. It is normally nailed or stapled to a wooden subfloor.
Engineered hardwood is also 100% wood. Its cross-ply construction allows installation below or above grade even over concrete. It resists expansion and contraction caused by temperature and humidity changes. Engineered flooring is typically glued-down, stapled-down or floated over an existing floor. It is manufactured by permanently bonding together multiple layers of solid wood in a cross ply construction. Engineered hardwood is usually the only type of hardwood that is recommended for use below grade.
Now, the fun really begins! You get to design your new wood floor.
Species The first step is to look at the different species of hardwood. This is important because the species will influence the appearance and durability. Not all species of hardwood are equally hard. If your floor is in a high traffic area or in a heavily used room then you should consider oak, maple or ash for extra durability.
Traditional oak has pronounced variations in grain and shade while the grain in maple is cleaner and more understated. There are also exotic species available such as lapacho, tigerwood and Brazilian cherry. These have a distinctive combination of origin, color and surface characteristics. Ask our experts to show you examples of the species that are appropriate for your lifestyle.