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Category Archives: Engineered Hardwood Flooring

How Does the “Feel” of Engineered Wood Compare with That of Solid Wood?

Are you planning to install new floors in your home and you cannot decide between engineered wood and solid wood?

Would you like to know what the difference between them at a sensorial level, rather than just regarding their properties? The best way to find out how engineered wood feels compared with solid wood is to get up close and down right friendly with a few planks of the two materials in one of our local flooring stores.

However, the devil hides in the details, and differences may appear in terms of feel of movement, dimensional stability, thickness and texture. Therefore, knowing a few things about the manufacturing technique of both materials, about their properties and their behavior throughout the year is the best way to realize what the differences are and how these differences may influence the feel.

Manufacturing Differences

Engineered hardwood usually consists of at least 2 layers, with the top one made of wood veneer. Manufacturing standards impose a top layer thickness of 2 to 4 mm, but, usually, the thicker the top layer is, the closer the resemblance between the feel of engineered and that of solid wood is. As for the lower layers, they are usually made of HDF, plywood or solid wood. The layers are pressure bonded to one another. The profiles available are either click locking or tongue-and-groove.

Manufactured from single wood pieces, solid wood planks usually have a thickness of ¾” and the most used profile for installation is tongue-and-groove.


Engineered hardwood has been proven to have minimal movement and maintain dimensional stability even in high humidity conditions. To prevent noticeable seasonal gapping and reduce movement, the average annual humidity level indoors should be somewhere between 40 and 65% throughout the year.

Solid hardwood, on the other hand, as a natural product, responds to the variations in the air humidity levels. If you want to avoid noticeable seasonal gapping and reduce movement, the average annual humidity level indoors should be somewhere between 45 and 55%.

As a result, in homes with high humidity levels and high temperature fluctuations, stepping on engineered hardwood floors will feel safer, steadier than stepping on solid wood floors.

Dimensional Stability

The lower layers of engineered hardwood ensure a better internal balance, reducing the possibility for twisting and warping to occur. Movement is minimal throughout the seasons, the flooring maintaining its dimensional stability. As a result, in homes where humidity and temperatures fluctuate significantly throughout the year, engineered wood is preferable to solid wood.

During humid and warm summers, solid wood often expands. During dry and cold winters, it often contracts. If you cannot keep the humidity levels and the temperature in the rooms where you want the new floors installed under control, minor cupping or gapping may occur.

This means that engineered floors may feel smoother, steadier and more even than solid wood floors in homes with higher humidity levels and fluctuating temperatures.

Design and Looks

Leaving differences that fluctuating temperatures and high humidity may bring about aside, engineered wood flooring usually looks and feels just like solid wood flooring. This is due to the fact that its top layer consists of real wood lamellas, with the same aspect, feel and texture as that of solid wood flooring.

More than that, both types of flooring come in the same range of stains and finishes, so they look the same. It is important to note, however, that, unlike site-finished solid wood flooring, prefinished engineered flooring has a microbevel on its four sides.

In proper temperature and humidity conditions, engineered hardwood and solid wood floors look and feel the same, so, choosing one over the other should be a matter of costs and practical considerations.

Engineered Hardwood Floor FAQs

The main question people ask is: What is an engineered hardwood floor? It’s a core of HDF (high density fiberboard) or plywood covered with a hardwood veneer to give it the natural characteristic of wood. An “engineered” floor provides more stability, especially in places where moisture and heat cause problems for a solid hardwood floor.


Under adverse conditions (heat or moisture), solid hardwood floors are prone to warping, cupping, swelling or splitting apart. An engineered hardwood floor has multiply planks to counteract these issues because they remain flat and intact. Therefore, an engineered floor would be a better choice in basements and over radiant heat sources.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Most people are familiar with hardwood flooring, and have seen one or two examples of it—enough to know that there is a certain variety of hardwood flooring available. Unfinished, pre-finished, and exotic hardwood flooring types are all examples of solid hardwood flooring… that is, you’re starting out with what is fundamentally a wooden board. Engineered hardwood flooring is a bit differently; unlike the standard, solid hardwood, which is (usually) a ¾” thick by 5” wide hardwood plank, engineered hardwood consists of three to five thin layers of wood laid one on top of the other, alternating the direction in which the grain of the wood is facing. These layers are then ���sandwiched,” or bonded together, under tremendous pressure and heat, until they adhere together.

Types of Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood flooring is far more customizable than solid hardwood flooring, which means that the selection process is handled a bit differently. Individual providers offer their own styles and brands of engineered flooring. Shaw’s flooring, for example, offers an “epic engineered flooring����� product, which emphasizes durability, usefulness throughout the house, indoor and outdoor suitability, and an eco-friendly construction involving recycled materials.

In the case of the above-mentioned Shaw’s epic engineered hardwood, the product is available in imitation of oak, hickory, maple, birch, cherry, or walnut appearances. The wood is ¾” thick, and comes in 3 and ¼ inch, 5 inch, and 6 and 3/8th inch widths.

How Much does Engineered Hardwood Cost?

The average cost for engineered hardwood flooring varies, but not so widely as do the costs of the solid woods it is made to resemble, given that much of its appearance is itself engineered. While you aren’t likely to find engineered wood available as far down on the price range as a low-end cost solid hardwood, costs of between $2 and $3 US/SFT are not unknown, with some of the more high-end engineered products running for $4 to $5 US per square foot.

The Pros and Cons of Using Engineered Hardwoods

Engineered hardwood is durable, and is particularly resistant to humidity, to an extent that standard solid hardwoods have trouble comparing to. As a result, it is suitable for installation in just about any part of the home, aesthetics aside… which isn’t to say it looks bad, but it doesn’t quite have the same visual appeal as a solid hardwood. That being said, it’s suitable to be installed in places where solid hardwood won’t suit, and it also entails certain other advantages… such as the possibility of ���eco-friendly” engineered hardwood, with some of its layers being produced from recycled materials.

Engineered hardwood can also be found to meet a wide variety of weights and densities. Unlike traditional solid hardwood, where you have to choose a given wood for either its properties or its aesthetic appeal and more or less ���deal with” a tradeoff in the other area, engineered wood can be found in customized forms to meet a variety of needs.

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About Us

Above Board Flooring is Charlotte North Carolina's leading flooring expert. Learn More About Us

Mecklenburg County Towns and Neighborhoods we service:

South Charlotte:
Including Ballentyne, Matthews, Mint Hill & Indian Trail:
The Arboretum on Pineville-Matthews Road,Ayrsley in the Southwest corner of Charlotte, Ballantyne off Johnston road near South Carolina, Barclay Downs by the SouthPark Mall, Beverly Woods by Park Road in South Park, Carmel Village by Carmel Road, Blakeney near Ballantyne neighborhoods, Chantilly around Plaza-Midwood, Cotswold, Dilworth, Landsdowne, Madison Park by E Woodlawn Road and Park Road, Myers Park, Nations Ford,Parkdale, Piper Glen, Quail Hollow, SouthPark, Steele Creek

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Derita, Highland Creek, NoDa, University City, Northlake, Hidden Valley, Pleasant Grove, Croft, Newell

Lake Norman, NC:
Including Mooresville, Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Troutman, Statesville, Sherrils Ford and Denver , NC

The Peninsula,The Point, River Run,Birkdale, The Hamptons, Govenors Island, Alexander Island, Wynfield, MacAulay, The Farms, Northstone, Skybrook, Antiquity, Sailview, Norman Pointe

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