Hardwood is one of today's most popular hard surfaced flooring materials because it offers nearly limitless new 'looks' exceptional durability and longevity. However, it is not the easiest flooring product to install unless you have extensive experience and is not recommend as you do-it-yourself project. Major manufacturers acknowledge this by refusing to honor their own product warranties unless their products have been professionally installed.
Solid wood floors are fabricated as one piece of solid wood. Solid wood floors are sensitive to the environment in they are installed. During the winter heating months, the wood's moisture content drops, making the floor contract or develop gaps between some individual boards. During the summer months, the converse is true. Humidity entering the wood will make the wood expand, and if too much moisture is present, it can make the floor buckle upwards. The solution to this problem is to allow the hardwood to sit in the area where it will be installed for several days until it acclimates to the environment. Solid wood floors are usually installed by nailing them down on a wooden subfloor.
Engineered wood floors are fabricated with multiple layers of thin wood veneer glued down under pressure. Engineered wood floors also feature layers of wood veneer that have been cross-laminated for greater stability. These hardwood floors are, therefore, less affected from moisture than solid wood floors will be. Engineered wood floors can be put in place on below or above grade in most rooms in any home. They also offer several installation methods including nail down, staple down, or glue down.