There are more hardwood flooring options than ever. Also, as manufacturing processes become more automated, the price tends to fall somewhat. However, solid plank hardwood remains the standard bearer in the industry. The highest priced and most sought-after hardwood floors are solid plank. They are, as the name implies, planks of solid wood. For example, a white oak hardwood plank would be a single plank of oak cut from an oak tree. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is made of several layers. There would be a thin layer on top of your preferred oak. This layer would be stained and sealed like any other hardwood floor. Below that would be layers of plywood, typically of a more affordable wood. They might even have a softwood under the layer of hardwood. Finally, there might be a bottom layer that is waterproof or vaporproof. This new type of construction has many practical benefits. It also might save you some money.
Obviously, prices tend to change based on the availability of certain woods. A solid hardwood floor will cost you between $3 and $10 per square foot. A rare, imported wood or a reclaimed wood might cost you more than that. Something common and domestic such as white oak might cost you on the lower half of that spectrum. Alternately, an engineered hardwood floor will cost between $2 and $10 per square foot. If you are looking for something like white oak, it will again be on the lower half of that spectrum.
So, depending on supplier, you could save a dollar or two per square foot in your home. In the United States, the average home square footage is 2,600 square feet. The average living room for those homes is 319 square feet. That means that engineered hardwood could save you $300 to $600 on your living room alone. If you want to do hardwood flooring in every room of your house, you could save $2,600 to $5,200 per square foot on engineered hardwood. These are just generalities, obviously. Every home will be different, and so will every type of wood.
There are differences in installation as well. Solid plank hardwood flooring has to be affixed to a subfloor. If you have a quality subfloor already, that won’t be an issue. However, if you want to put wood planks in the basement, garage, or attic, there might not be a subfloor there. That will mean you have to have one installed. That will add to your costs as well. An engineered hardwood floor, on the other hand, can be installed directly on top of your existing floor.