3/8 Inch vs 1/2 Inch Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Perhaps you are about to floor your home, office or any living space, and you are conflicted between ⅜ inch and ½ inch engineered hardwood flooring, this article will help you make the right choice.

When it comes to flooring your home or office, hardwood brings a unique warmth, texture and an aesthetically pleasing ambience to any living space. 

It complements any decor in a room perfectly and has an amazing way of tying all your deco pieces together into a cohesive whole, bringing a timeless vibe into any space. 

Engineered hardwood floors are a type of floor made by bonding layers of premium quality plywood known as the “Core,” with a top layer of solid hardwood known as the Veneer or the wear layer. 

The number of engineered hardwood layers can range from 2 to as many as 10 layers. 

As a rule of thumb, the more the layers of plywoods, the better the quality of the engineered hardwood floor.

One of the amazing benefits of engineered hardwood floors is that it allows you to enjoy the ambience and feel of solid hardwood floors without the associated disadvantages.

3/8 Inch vs 1/2 Inch Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered Wood Flooring Thickness

When it comes to thickness, engineered hardwood comes in several levels of thicknesses, ranging from ⅜ inch to ¾ inch. The most prominent thicknesses are ⅜ inch and ½ inch and they have their distinct features.

However, there are certain differences between them that you’ll need to consider before making a choice.

Differences between ⅜ inch  and ½ inch engineered hardwood floor

Wear Layer

The wear layer is the very top layer of the engineered hardwood. It refers to the thickness of the Veneer of an engineered hardwood floor, and it determines the overall thickness as well as the price. 

A thicker wear layer found in ½ inch usually translates to a longer-lasting, more durable engineering hardwood floor.

Finish Coating

In refinishing the hardwood floor, a process called skin and recoat is carried out. This is where the topcoat is buffed out and a new coat of finish is applied.

The higher the number of finish coats on an engineered hardwood floor, the more durable it is, with 9 coats being the highest and best. 

½ inch engineered hardwood flooring requires more refinishing.


With regards to resanding, an engineered hardwood floor of ⅜ inch thickness cannot be sanded as the veneer is very thin. ½ inch thickness can however be sanded once during its lifespan. 


When It comes to availability, a lot of manufacturers produce more of the thinner veneer products. 

This is because they consider it to be a product that has fewer hassles attached to it as well as being a stable product.


In the area of pricing, thinner veneer hardwood floors cost more than their thicker counterparts. 

They are also the best selling products in most Stores.

Installation Options

When it comes to installation, the available options are stapled down, glued down or floated.

Your specific installation option would depend on the thickness of the engineered hardwood floor to be installed. 

⅜ inch is the thinnest engineered hardwood floor and can only be installed by nailing or stapling down method. 

½ inch, on the other hand, can be glued down, which is a faster installation method.

Why Engineered Hardwood Floor Thickness Is Important

When it comes to engineered hardwood flooring, the majority of people attach a higher value to a higher veneer thickness, but there are some advantages that might help you make a better choice.

Some advantages that a ½ inch would never have over a ⅜ inch veneer are

  • More sophisticated looks such as deeper bevels, and deeper scraping.
  • Being able to sand it a couple of times

Some advantages of a thinner veneer are

  • Since it has fewer wood components, there’s not much that can go wrong with it.
  • The finish coating can soak all the way through the entire top veneer and thereby make it a harder veneer. On a thicker veneer, it just soaks a bit past the top.
  • There’s less movement on a thinner veneer as such, there are fewer cracks that can form on the veneer compared to others.
  • A thinner veneer breathes better.
½ inch Engineered Hardwood Floor⅜ inch Engineered Hardwood Floor
1More refinishing possible Limited refinishing possible 
2Can be installed using the floating, glue down or nailed down option Can only be installed using nailed down option
3Can withstand heavy traffic More susceptible to warping

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Is Thicker engineered wood better?

Yes, when it comes to engineered hardwood flooring, thicker is always better. This thickness directly affects how thick the veneer will be. 

The thicker the Veneer, the longer-lasting the engineered hardwood flooring will be. This is because a thicker veneer makes it possible to sand the floor a couple of times thereby prolonging its lifespan and you wouldn’t need to spend extra money making repairs in a short time.

Is 3mm engineered wood enough?

A 3mm engineered wood is perfectly fine if you want a long-lasting floor, especially if you are entertaining thoughts of sanding in the future. It can be refinished up to 4 times and last up to 50 years. Talk about value for your money.


Whether it’s ⅜ inch or ½, engineered hardwood floors are a timeless and state of the art home improvement flooring option. 

They provide the same feel and aesthetic appeal as solid hardwood floors without their associated downsides. 

The great thing about an engineered hardwood floor is that the layers beneath the engineered hardwood provide additional support and strengthen your floor, and that saves you money as you won’t be bothered when you bring in furniture such as chairs, tables, etc.

While thickness matters in choosing an engineered hardwood floor for your next remodeling project, the thickness should not be your main focus. There are other things to consider.

Your budget, style and color are factors that should be given higher preference in your consideration. That being said, a ½ inch thick engineered hardwood floor will give you more options than a ⅜ inch thick engineered hardwood floor.

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