Solid vs. Engineered Wood Flooring Structure

quality unmatched by anyone

A Floor Structure For Any Condition

Initially, early homes up and down the Eastern Seaboard featured wide plank floors measured well over 20″ made of solid wood. By then, sawyers had mastered the technique of cutting and drying wide planks. In doing so, they were able to keep these wide boards flat and stable even in very undesirable conditions. Today Carlisle proudly continues the tradition of quality craftsmanship, based on generations of wood knowledge, to create the most stable planks available. Today, every great tradition inevitably meets its technological counterpart. In the flooring industry, that means engineered planks.

Engineered wood flooring entering the market in the 1960’s to address particular installation issues, installation over concrete slabs, and below-grade slabs in basements. Typically, these environments emitted higher volumes of moisture from the slab into the living space, making it challenging to keep solid boards flat as they reacted to the humidity. Today, Carlisle’s engineered production capabilities have evolved to set the industry standard. We can now provide several flooring options available in an engineered structure, some that were once only available in solid wood flooring.

Quality to Our Core

The two primary components of an engineered floor are the substructure and the wear layer. The substructure is what you don’t see and is typically constructed from plywood. In high-quality engineered wood flooring, you’ll find a thick base with up to 11 thin layers of wood making up the plywood. A thicker base dramatically enhances the stability and durability of the floor. Conversely, in less expensive engineered floors, fewer layers and less stable wood is used to create an inferior substructure. At Carlisle, we invest a tremendous amount of resources into our core materials. In doing so, this provides us with the most stable and durable core available on the market today.

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Quality to Our Core
Natural Color Versus Custom Colors

When the installation is complete on your new Carlisle engineered floor, the wear layer is what you see. It’s the thin slice of handcrafted wood glued to the substructure. Since you chose a Carlisle custom wood floor, you’ll have a thicker wear layer allowing you to refinish it up to three times in the future. All while maintaining the undeniable durability your floor featured the first day it was installed. Unfortunately, less expensive options have very thin layers of wood that cannot be refinished and are not typically very durable. At Carlisle, we offer a standard 4mm wear layer and a sanding warranty that guarantees up to 3 sandings. Unheard of in the market, you can now sand your engineered wood floor the same number of times as you can sand a solid hardwood floor.

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Natural Color Versus Custom Colors

Solid vs. Engineered Wood Flooring, Which is Right For You?

At Carlisle, engineered vs. solid wood flooring is a common consideration. Both structures have pros and cons. The general rule is that if your environment is consistently higher in relative humidity, you should use engineered to minimize the expansion of the planks. However, if your environment consistently falls below 30% relative humidity, we recommend solid  wood flooring for your project. Invariably dry conditions can cause failure in all engineered floors.

We take into account a multitude of factors when building our engineered wood floors to ensure we deliver the best in the world. Our Wide Plank Specialists are happy to help navigate the many benefits of Carlisle’s structure while guiding you to the structure best for your project.

  • All wood is selectively harvested from areas where each species grows best
  • Boards are cut from the best part of the best, most mature timbers
  • Higher percentage of vertical grain increases stability in a wide plank board
  • Multi-layer Baltic birch backing contributes to enhanced stability, performance and longevity
  • 4- to 12-month-long double curing process includes air and kiln drying
  • Our proprietary flooring grades go beyond traditional lumber grading standards, which are primarily designed for the furniture and cabinet industry, allowing us to maximize the artistic characteristics of each board versus a floor made with mass-produced uniformity
  • Each floor made to order using our proprietary SlowCraft™ process to ensure the highest quality standards are met at each phase of “production”
  • 4mm wear layer provides for enhanced longevity and both can be sanded multiple times
Learn more about our other custom flooring options.