Solid Timber vs Engineered Timber (Which is best?)

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At Floorex we’re often asked, ‘What is the difference between solid timber flooring and engineered timber flooring?’ Which is the best choice for my home? The answer we always give? It depends.

6 key factors that might influence you decision making when it comes to timber flooring.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Timber Flooring

1. Plank Length and Width

Engineered timber flooring typically comes lengths of between 1.9, 2.2 or 2.4 metres with a percentage of shorter boards mixed in, except for some high-end products that come in random lengths up to 4 metres or more. Planks widths of 190mm up to 240mm are common with some flooring coming up to 400mm wide and more.

Solid timber flooring, however, comes in random lengths of up to 5 metres with most of the timber being 3 metres and longer, which gives a very appealing sense of dimension to the floor once installed. Solid timber commonly comes in standard range of widths from 90mm to 200mm wide. Stability is a factor with solid timber flooring once the planks get wider than 200mm as this wide can be prone to shrinkage and cupping.

2. Custom Finishing Timber Available

There are nearly endless finishing options for timber flooring to achieve the colour tone or sheen desired, with the key distinction being that most engineered floors are coated by machine in a factory allowing for a greater degree of accuracy of colour.

3. Speed to Install

Solid timber flooring required sanding and finishing (coating) once the flooring has been installed, this process takes as long as the installation plus time for the coating to cure prior to walking on it. Most engineered floors come prefinished meaning the floor is done once the installation is complete. This could be as much as 50% quicker than solid timber

4. Price

Engineered timber flooring ranges from $280-$500 per M2 including installation, depending on the timber dimensions, finish quality and brand. With installation making up $120 m2-$200m2 depending on factors such as subfloor quality, prep required and timber product being installed.

Solid timber cost from $320-$450 m2 or more depending on timber species, depending on subfloor quality and prep required. This includes sanding and coating with polyurethane. Stains and custom finishing will cost extra.

5. Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating adds an extra layer of complexity to a timber flooring installation and can be disastrous if allowed to overheat. The surface temperature of timber flooring should never exceed 27 degrees, higher temperatures can cause breakdown in the structure of the timber.

Engineered timber flooring can be installed directly over in-slab underfloor heating

Solid timber doesn’t have sufficient stability to be installed directly over underfloor heating, requiring a layer of plywood to be installed first to help disperse the heat, and then the timber flooring is installed glue-down direct installation to plywood layer.

6. Gaps/Cupping/Shrinking

Engineered timber has a plywood backing layer making it highly resistant to movement caused by atmospheric changes. Solid timber is natural wood and most floors will show some movement over time which, if well kiln-dried and installed correctly won’t ruin the flooring but will be noticeable.

In conclusion, both solid and engineered timber will create a beautiful floor for your home and the best choice for you will be the sum of the points that stand out to you more than others is the article above.

If you still can’t decide, please get in touch with us!