3/8 Vs. 1/2 Inch Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Which Is Best?

In this post, we will be comparing 3 8 vs. 1 2 inch engineered hardwood flooring options. There are various flooring options available on the market today, including carpet, tiles, hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, concrete slabs, and more. Engineered wood flooring is one of the best flooring options because of its many benefits. These advantages include radiant heating, easy cleaning and maintenance, boosting the value of your home, and giving it a natural appearance. Wood flooring is a durable and stylish option whether you choose solid hardwood or engineered hardwood floors.

However, there are some things that you will need to consider when opting for a solid hardwood floor. When it comes to hardwood flooring, there are two options: engineered wood flooring and solid hardwood flooring options. After selecting your preferred option, you also need to narrow it down to thickness.

First, let’s differentiate between solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring.

Solid Wood Vs. Engineered Wood Flooring

Solid Wood Flooring

As the name suggests, solid wood flooring means that the material comprises mainly wood. This type of wood originates from hardwood species such as Brazilian walnut, maple, or oak. The installation method for solid hardwood floors necessitates some skills since you have to nail the wood to the floor. Another advantage of solid hardwood flooring is that you can sand or refinish it several times during its lifespan compared to engineered hardwood floors.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is available in various colors, and you can buy prefinished boards or unfinished wood. The most traditional thickness of the wood is between 5/16 inches and 3/4 inches. However, the overall thickness of solid hardwood is 3/4 inches.

Engineered Wood Flooring

An engineered wood floor comprises a thin top layer made of hardwood, usually known as the veneer layer or wear layer bonded over layers of high-quality plywood known as the core. The number of layers of plywood determines the quality of engineered wood floors, and the more layers, the better the quality and stability of engineered floors. An engineered floor is more cost effective than solid hardwood floors.

Engineered Wood Flooring

As mentioned earlier, engineered flooring has a thin top layer which means that you can only sand and refinish it once or twice during its lifespan compared to a solid hardwood floor. However, engineered wood flooring is easier to install.

Usually, engineered wood flooring is glued down directly to existing floors. A significant advantage is that you don’t have to remove the existing materials during installation, making it an excellent option if you love DIY projects. Usually, an engineered floor is available in a limited range of colors compared to a solid floor, and you have to buy prefinished wood flooring.

A high-quality engineered wooden floor will last you for 20-40 years. One advantage of engineered wood flooring is that it holds up well in any weather condition compared to solid wood flooring that tends to warp in humid and damp conditions.

Engineered Wood Flooring – Thickness

Engineered wood flooring thickness ranges between 3/8 inch to 3/4 inches; however, the most frequently used thicknesses are 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch. If you are having trouble choosing between these two size options, this article has all the information you need to help you make an informed decision.

Engineered Wood Flooring - Thickness

We will be discussing engineered wood flooring thickness based on factors like the wear layer, core, durability, sanding, finish coating, installation, price, and availability.

Our Pick

There are more benefits linked to 1/2 inch engineered hardwood flooring than 3/8 inch engineered hardwood flooring, which is why it is our favorite pick between the two.

About 3/8 Inch Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Fewer hassles during the manufacturing process because fewer wood materials are needed
  • The thin veneer makes finish coating easier
  • The thin veneer makes it easy for the wood to breathe
  • Prone to warping in humid or damp conditions
  • Permanent installation requires nailed down option
  • Sanding is not possible due to the thin veneer layer

About 1/2 Inch Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Easy to install
  • More durable as a result of the thick veneer
  • Can withstand different weather conditions
  • It can be sanded and refinished more times during its lifespan
  • Suitable for areas with heavy foot traffic
  • Difficult to manufacture as a result of the many wood components required.
  • Difficult for the finished coating to soak past the veneer layer.

Similarities between 3/8 Inch Vs. 1/2 Inch Engineered Wood Flooring

The only thing these two sizes have in common is that the composition is the same. Engineered wood comprises a veneer or top layer, followed by a backing or core layer underneath. However, these two thicknesses have quite a few differences, which we have listed below.

Differences between 3/8 Inch Vs. 1/2 Inch Engineered Wood Flooring

3/8 Vs. 1/2 Inch Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Wear Layer: The wear layer is the thin top layer covering the engineered hardwood flooring, also called the veneer layer. The recommended thickness for the wear layer is 3/16 inches. The wear layer determines the durability of the wood, and the thicker the wear layer, the longer the lifespan of the engineered hardwood flooring. 1/2 inch engineered hardwood flooring is a thicker layer that will last longer compared to ⅜ inch engineered hardwood flooring. However, always ensure that the flooring you choose is suitable for your space. Different spaces require different flooring specifications.
  • The Core: The core refers to the layers of plywood bonded with the wear layer. A high-quality core gives the flooring good stability. The recommended core size for engineered hardwood flooring ranges between nine inches to eleven-inch plywood thickness.
  • Durability: As mentioned earlier, the thicker the wear layer, the longer the lifespan of the engineered flooring. 1 2 inches engineered flooring will last longer and is more durable than 3 8 inches engineered flooring. The 1 2 inch wood flooring is also less susceptible to warping than 3 8 inch engineered wooden floors in humid and damp conditions.
  • Sanding: When it comes to sanding, the veneer layer plays a considerable role. A 3 8 inch thick engineered wood cannot be sanded and refurbished as the veneer layer is too thin. However, a 1 2 inch engineered wood floor can be sanded once or twice during its lifespan.
  • Finished Coating: You can add a finished coating to the hardwood floor as part of the refinishing process. The recommended number of layers is nine coatings, and these coats add durability to the hardwood floor. The more finished coats on engineered hardwood flooring, the longer the lifespan. Therefore nine coats are the recommended number of coats required for an engineered hardwood floor. 1 2 Inch thick engineered hardwood flooring requires more finishes than 3 8 inch engineered hardwood flooring.
  • Installation: Installation of engineered hardwood flooring can entail gluing, nailing, or floating. The installation option depends on the engineered wood flooring thickness. For instance, the installation of 3 8 inches engineered wood flooring requires nailing down the wood to the subfloor. However, installing 1 2 inches engineered hardwood flooring entails gluing, floating, or nailing. Gluing and floating are easy installation methods, especially for DIY installation projects.
  • Price: Regarding pricing, the thinner veneer layer engineered hardwood flooring is more expensive than the thicker veneer layer engineered hardwood flooring.
  • Availability: Thinner veneer layer engineered hardwood flooring is more readily available than its thicker counterparts. This is because the thinner the veneer layer, the less work is required for processing.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)

How Do You Choose the Best-Engineered Hardwood Flooring Thickness?

The best-engineered hardwood thickness depends on your preference and considerations. However, there are certain factors that you need to consider when selecting floor thickness. Factors such as your budget, color choice, sanding options, durability, and foot traffic in the space will help you choose the best-engineered hardwood flooring thickness.

Which Wood Thickness Is Better, Thicker or Thinner?

Thicker woods are better if you’re looking for something durable. You can sand the one or twice, prolonging the lifespan. Thicker woods are also not prone to warping, which means they will serve you for a long time.

Which Is Better, Hardwood or Softwood?

If you are looking for more robust and durable wood, then hardwood is the way to go. They are stronger and more durable than softwoods. Some examples of hardwoods that are durable and strong are white oak, Brazilian cherry, Black cherry, Walnut, Brazilian Ebony, and Hard maple.


We hope you have found our post about 3 8 inch vs. 1 2 inch engineered hardwood flooring helpful and that the information shared in this post will help you make an intelligent buying decision.