Solid wood flooring, as the name suggests, is made of 100% real wood. In Singapore, the more commonly used solid wood flooring is Burmese Teak wood and White Oak wood. This means that the term “Solid Burmese Teak flooring” refers to a flooring material made of 100% Burmese Teak wood.

Cross Section of Solid Oak Wood (Left) vs Engineered Wood (Right)
Cross Section of Solid Oak Wood (Left) vs Engineered Wood (Right)

On the other hand, engineered wood is man-made and only its top layer (usually 3- 5 mm thick) is solid wood. The rest of the material is normally plywood.

Cross Section of Engineered Oak Wood
Cross Section of Engineered Oak Wood=

Solid Wood vs Engineered Wood – what are the different factors consider for my floor?

  1. Width of Planks (Aesthetics) vs Price
    Generally wider planks are preferred as house owners can enjoy better-looking natural grains and also less joints on the floor. However, the wider the planks, the more expensive the material costs. Engineered wood planks are usually wider than solid wood planks. Solid wood flooring typically is made of wood strips of size 2 inches to 4 inches wide, while engineered wood flooring is usually 6 to 8 inches wide. This is the main reason why solid wood flooring is generally slightly cheaper than engineered wood.

    Solid Wood narrow planks vs Engineered Wood wide planks
    Solid Wood narrow planks vs Engineered Wood wide planks 
  2. Maintenance in the Long Run
    Our general rule of thumb is usually: least plywood as possible. This is because plywood is somewhat vulnerable to water and termite in the long run. The Cellulose material in plywood is very attractive to termites.

    Plywood Damaged by Water
    Plywood Damaged by Water
    Plywood Damaged by Termites
    Plywood Damaged by Termites

Engineered wood flooring has some plywood materials and also requires plywood subfloor between the concrete and the top flooring. This can be a cause of concern for house owners in the long run. Solid wood flooring, on the other hand, may not require plywood subfloor depending on the materials. Burmese Teak wood can be installed without plywood on a screeded cement floor. While there is no waterproof and termite proof solid wood, it is quite well known that Burmese Teak wood in particular is quite resistant to termite due to Teak wood’s abundant natural oil inside the wood. Combined with Burmese Teak’s cheaper rate relative to engineered wood, these may explain why solid Burmese Teak wood flooring is most popular in Singapore, at least amongst other wood materials.

It may also be worth remembering that the top layer of Engineered Wood is usually only 2-3 mm. This means that we can only sand and varnish engineered wood flooring once or twice over its lifespan at our homes. While Solid Wood flooring typically has a thickness of 10 mm or thicker, not the entire thickness can be sanded. We can only sand down Solid Wood flooring up to before the tongue and groove system which is somewhere in the centre of the wood; this allowance is still more than what we have with Engineered Wood.

In conclusion, both Solid Wood flooring and Engineered Wood flooring have their own sets of pros and cons, when compared to each other. It would be fair to say that Engineered Wood flooring in Singapore is suitable for house owners who prioritize aesthetics more while Solid Wood flooring in Singapore is suitable for those who prioritize practicality and value-for-money more.

Wider Engineered Wood Planks (Left) and Narrower Solid Wood Planks (Right)
Wider Engineered Wood Planks (Left) and Narrower Solid Wood Planks (Right)

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