In reaction to temperature and moisture changes, solid hardwood will expand or contract. For that reason, it is recommended only for rooms at or above ground level. The manner is which engineered hardwood is constructed, makes it less likely to react to temperature and humidity fluctuation, gap, or buckle. It can be installed at any level, even below ground. Engineered hardwood is a great choice for bathrooms and finished basements. Engineered and solid hardwood are both designed for durability and beauty.
Active homes are no match for their sturdy surface. They do, however, have different attributes of performance. Solid hardwood is nailed to a subfloor. The subfloor for solid hardwood has to be oriented strand board, wood, or plywood. A gap is typically left between the wall and flooring, to accommodate swelling to due contraction and expansion.
The enhanced stability of engineered hardwood provides more resistance to rippling, buckling, and everyday wear and tear. Humidity levels can cause solid hardwood to expand or shrink. Engineered hardwood is more moisture resistant and a bit more stable than solid hardwood. No hardwood flooring tolerates water lying on the surface.
The increased moisture level of concrete is typically not a problem for engineered hardwood. When conditions are right, engineered hardwood can be installed with concrete as the subfloor. The installation of solid hardwood is best left to professionals. The nails, staples, or glue needed for installation are even a challenge for experienced do-it-yourselfers.