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Category Archives: Solid 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.

Fixing Your Squeaky Hardwood Floors

Fixing Your Squeaky Hardwood Floors

You are sneaking into the kitchen for a midnight snack and suddenly the floor squeaks loudly as you take a step. Snack attack fail! What can be done to fix those squeaky hardwood floors?

What Causes the Squeak?

There are several reasons why a hardwood floor will squeak. Simply put, wood rubbing on wood is causing the squeak. One type of creak comes from a “side-to-side” squeaking in which two flooring planks are rubbing because they have expanded and are competing for space. Hardwood flooring contractors will often use a material that will naturally contract and expand based on the humidity and temperature in the room. However, if they do not have enough room to expand they could end up rubbing.

Sometimes hardwoods are just not nailed down properly which causes the boards to rub.

Additionally, some squeaks develop between the flooring and the subfloor. This is one is more difficult to fix. Insure that your flooring installer uses a quality underlay material when they install your hardwoods. This will help reduce this problem.

Another cause may be that the cross bracing has been install improperly. The one-by-threes should be positioned beneath the subfloor in an X pattern. Sometimes these braces can be placed too closely together and can rub.

Locating the exact cause can sometimes require a trial-and-error approach.

How to Fix the Squeak

For the “side-to-side” squeaking caused by the expansion of the boards, there is an easy solution. Powdered graphite can be applied generously over the seam to help eliminate the creaking. As you apply the powdered graphite, place a rag over the area that is squeaking and work the powder into the crack over and over until it has penetrated and quiets the squeak. This may require a few applications. Simply clean up the excess graphite with a damp cloth.

To fix the squeaking due to the braces in the subfloor, you can sand or chisel them down if you are able to see and reach them. If the subflooring isn’t accessible it becomes more difficult to fix this kind of squeak. Nails can be shot through the floor into the subfloor. Screws can also be used and would provide an even stronger hold. Any nail holes can be concealed with a filler in a color that matches your flooring. The whole floor can then be sanded and refinished—or you can just sand and refinish the holes.

If after all of these attempts, your floor is still squeaking in an inaccessible area, then you have two choices: either tear the flooring up to get to the source of the squeak or live with the squeak.

Above all, you need to be sure to hire a reputable flooring installer that will circumvent these problems with quality flooring installation.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid Hardwood Flooring

What is Solid Hardwood Flooring?

Solid hardwood flooring is a wood flooring constructed as a single plank of wood.

Solid Hardwood Types

Solid hardwood includes a variety of different types of oak, including white oak and red oak, as well as white and yellow pine, and other types. Bellawood, Casa de Color, Virginia Mill Works, and R. L. Colston are all reliable and well-known manufacturers of quality pre-finished solid hardwood. As with unfininshed hardwoods, pre-finished hardwoods range from brown, cream, and beige, to orange, red, and a range of tans, and on to yellow and white woods.

As with unfinished hardwood flooring, solid hardwood flooring comes primarily in ¾” thickness. There are more exceptions with solid hardwoods, with a few varieties coming in 3/8th or 11/16th of an inch. 2 and ¼” width is a common sight, particularly with the darker varities of oak; lighter woods tend to have broader widths, up to about 5” depending upon manufacturer and personal preference, but this is by no means universal. Width and color wind up owing more to personal taste than to any other factors.

How Much does Solid Hardwood Cost?

The price of solid, solid hardwood flooring is comparable to that of unfinished flooring, in that the same types of wood are generally involved, with recognizable price ranges. Proportionately speaking, prices are a little higher; you’ll be lucky to find anything less than $2 US/SFT, and prices per square foot ranging from $5 to $6 or more are far less uncommon. Those who have installed their own unfinished hardwood flooring can attest to the difference in time and painstaking effort, however; for those who would rather be spared the mess and the unpleasantness of performing their own finishing process, the slight additional expense per square foot may be absolutely worth it.

What is The Pros and Cons of Using Solid Hardwoods

Solid, domestic hardwoods are durable and significantly less expensive than using exotic woods. They are hard, resilient, and—with their pre-applied finishes—they can withstand the elements, temperature fluctuations, and insects for years. They’re also far more familiar; there is an appeal to the more exotic wood types that goes beyond their physically unique resilient natures and into realms of style and appearance that aren’t attainable with conventional woods. The pre-finished nature of standard solid hardwood flooring limits the degree of personal expression it affords.

Personal expression, and a sense of genuine handcraft, are the primary selling points behind using unfinished woods as well. This does allow for a far more unique appearance through one’s own finishing process and choice of stains, but it also trades off the time, trouble, and expensive of the finishing process itself, not to mention the potential ill effects of polyurethane exposure.

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

Mecklenburg County Towns and Neighborhoods we service:

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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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