Vinyl Vs. Hardwood Flooring

Vinyl vs. Hardwood Flooring

So the time has come! How exciting it is to be in the position of considering new floors for your precious home. With all of the flooring options available, little wonder how even the diligent homeowner may get “stuck” trying to decide which flooring option is best for their family. With endless designs, types, colors, and textures, it can become overwhelming. Considering this, a comparison of key factors that are the weightiest for new flooring, will be examined. 

Category

Vinyl Plank

Hardwood

Durability

Less durable than hardwood, can rip or tear, especially under heavy appliances. 

Overall very durable, but vulnerable to moisture.

Water Resistant

Yes

No

Cleaning Requirements

Can be swept, vacuumed, and mopped.

Sweep daily, vacuum weekly, cannot use wet mop.

Pet-Friendly?

Yes

Can get scratched easily, depends on the type and temperament of pet.

DIY Installation

Yes

Only with experience.

Cost

Average $6/Square Foot

$10+/Square Foot

Durability

When thinking about durability of both hardwood flooring and vinyl flooring, becoming clear on what you are trying to define is key. You see, conceptually, resistance to moisture, dents and scratches, all add points to the durability factor of your floors. Melting all three of these factors into one, hardwood floors are a reasonably durable floor. However, in relation to this durability factor, there is a bit of caution about hardwood flooring. An active family who entertains guests often, energized with children, perhaps also having a rambunctious pet, should beware. Dents and scratches on your hardwood flooring is almost completely unavoidable over time. For a family similar to the one described, having the ability to sand and repair damaged wood flooring makes this sill a viable choice. Nonetheless, engineered hardwood is likely the best wood flooring option for this scenario. As a specialty-designed product, engineered hardwood intrinsically carries properties that increase the scratch and dent resistance of the hardwood floor.

Vinyl flooring, being created with colors that permeate every layer, carry highly durable properties. This color permeation allows for superior resistance to scratches and dents. For the active household, this option may be the way to go. Luxury vinyl, as we will see later, has the textural component of real stone, brick, or wood. Specially engineered vinyl planks with a felt underlining, have the ability to “give” with pressure. Making luxury vinyl lest likely to break when things drop on them.

Pros and Cons Recap:

Hardwood floors should be avoided for some households. Although, having the ability to sand and refinish a natural floor is an option, if the warmth and feel of plank flooring is a must. Also, one may purchase wood that has been specially engineered to be water resistant. The same type of product will have dent and scratch deflection properties as well.

Luxury vinyl is one of the most durable floors a homeowner can place on the inside of their home. Vinyl flooring typically has properties that not only provides water resistance, but also tear resistance. Vinyl plank for example, may have a felt barrier that adds “give” and under-structure, providing you the wood feel with extra protection.

Water Resistance 

For those of us who live in either extremely hot or regularly humid areas, or simply in cold or freezing environments, hardwood flooring should be considered carefully. If your floor runs the risk of getting wet and then frozen, or getting wet multiple times, truly pause and weigh this open heavily. Humidity, and in particular water, has the devastating capacity to completely ruin your beautiful hardwood floor. Again, the outer layer of veneer built into engineered hardwood makes this wood flooring still a doable option. If the warmth and feel of wood flooring is a must for you, and you live in an area that has inclement weather, engineered hardwood is your best choice. 

When considering both the water resistance and warmth feel aspect of your flooring choice, living in a freezing winter environment does not mean you must settle for a less appealing floor. Luxury vinyl is especially equipped for the challenge. Though no floor is 100 percent water-proof, luxury vinyl is as close as it gets. Vinyl plank and vinyl tile when sealed properly, will virtually last up to 20 years in these environments. To give your vinyl planks a bit more water resistance, be sure to invest in a vapor barrier beneath it.

Pros and Cons Recap:

Some of us live in very hot environments, while others of us live in the opposite, extra cold environments’. Though we may get used to the weather, few of us have the “perfect” temperature the majority of time. Therefore, vinyl plank is best for moisture-prone areas. Plank flooring, unless compromised from the concrete below, is virtually water-proof. This is a concern though. Making sure water retarder or a vapor barrier of some sorts is used on a vinyl plank-to-concrete install, is recommended. Vinyl plank and vinyl tile floors still are susceptible to long exposure of direct sunlight. A simple UV window screen will solve this issue. 

Color & Style Selection 

Hardwood floors as an all- natural selection, typically carries color schemes in the range of red tones, encompassing light to dark, with all shades of the reddish-brown tones in between. For a heavy traffic area, it is best to use the denser-type hardwood flooring. White Oak for example, provides a light to medium brown color tone that can be stained very easily. This hardwood flooring turns to an eye-appealing light grey when aged. Compared against Ash wood, the Ash plank flooring carries a profound capacity to stain. Texture and patterns differentiate across all flooring, being that it is a natural product.

When it comes to color and style capabilities, vinyl plank today are truly a homeowners dream. For example, luxury vinyl has the look and feel of natural stone or ceramic tile. Specialty designed textures and flowing patterns truly give this selection the appearance of the real thing. Luxury vinyl has another special characteristic. Vinyl planks and vinyl tile provides homeowners the unique ability to brings mother-natures classic beauty inside your home. Picture the eye-catching grey produced only by aged-White Oak. Or the sleek feel provided by marble. These designs and styles are now readily available with luxury vinyl.

Pros and Cons Recap:

For some, nothing beats the warm feel and cozy look of wood floors. As shown earlier, natural wood floors may not be the best overall floor type for your family. Luxury vinyl is poised for the challenge. Luxury vinyl comes in wood look vinyl plank designs. What this means to you is that one may have the natural look and feel of natural wood. Everything from aged White Oak to Cherry and Ash. With Vinyl flooring, luxury vinyl does not stop there. Vinyl tile is designed to resemble natural stone or brick. So if you are looking for that marble floor look, the sleek vinyl tile is just what you are looking for.

Ease of Installation 

For a small square foot area, you may be tempted to install hardwood yourself. While the square foot area may be small, the exact expertise in carpentry that is required to add that timeless wood flooring feel, should not be underestimated. Considered by experts to be the most difficult to install, hardwood flooring should be professionally installed. One of the biggest, yet most common mistakes homeowners make when laying down hardwood flooring is, placing it directly over concrete. Moisture has been known to creep up through a vapor retarder causing ruin your hardwood flooring placed directly on concrete. There is one exception to this rule. Engineered hardwood comes factory-finished with moisture resistance built in. Making this plank flooring one of the easier ones to do yourself. 

Vinyl tile is another story. A vinyl plank installation is seen by many experts as a fairy easy installation. Vinyl plank floors has the ability to be placed over concrete, wood, or existing vinyl tile. The peel-and-stick backing on most vinyl plank products makes laying your floor down a snap. Simply prepare your floor for the install. Sanding your floor and cutting under your doorjambs is included in this process. Next, simply plan your floor design out. At this step, the use of a chalk line is standard practice to center the room. The chalk line is also useful in mapping out your first row. The most important row of your install. Moving on, be sure to stagger the joints of your second row, and each subsequent row. You may need to “convince” the planks with gentle taps. Lastly, finishing work should be completed. With vinyl flooring, his simply means placing your baseboards and transitions back into place. Vinyl plank has never been more accessible and of higher quality, than today.

Care & Maintenance

The care and maintenance of your floor should be another factor to consider. For example, if you plan on updating the floors for a large square foot area, the investment in a wood vacuum is highly recommended. Recall that moisture can absolutely wreak havoc on hardwood flooring. Therefor it is best to dust these floors regularly, use a dry micro-cloth type mop, and invest in additional wood cleaner. Do NOT regularly use a wet mop. This is where the standard wood vacuum comes in handy. The wood vacuum features the ability to dust and pick up large particle, meanwhile spot cleaning where needed. 

Vinyl plank floors are the simplest floors to maintain. Luxury vinyl, both in the form of vinyl tile or vinyl planks, can be cleaned with warm water and swept daily. Hot water should not be regularly used. Keep in mind, luxury vinyl has properties that maintain its shine years into the future. If properly cleaned on a consistent basis, waxing these floors is NEVER needed. 

Pricing 

Given the total cost of replacing your floor is a major factor in your buying decision, here in some informative pointers. On national average, the price for material and installation of a hardwood floor is approximately $4500.00- $6300.00. Here is the details on what to expect. If you decide on lower end materials, you should reason that $3-$5 dollars per square foot, is what you will pay. Ballpark installation ranges from $3-$6 dollars per sq. ft.. Choosing a higher end of wood material, expect to be charged between $8-$14 dollars per square foot. Nationally, the going cost for installation of higher-end materials ranges between $4-$8 dollars per sq. ft.

If considering luxury vinyl as your flooring choice, the cost may surprise you. As a whole, luxury vinyl has a cost typically of $2 to $6 per sq. ft. The labor costs associated with a luxury vinyl install is no more than $4 per sq. ft. Sometimes, even hitting the one-dollar mark per sq. ft. Let us break this down a bit more though. Vinyl plank, in particular, has been seen at $.50 to $2.00 per sq. ft. Not a bad price, especially consider the installation cost. $.75-$2.50 seems to be the average range for installing vinyl plank flooring. 

All in all, it is best to receive at least three quotes on installation prices. Likewise, you may have great success identifying your color and design patterns on flooring pages found online. These online stores are typically highly competitive. 

The Verdict

The choices in what flooring to utilize for your home is no small one. To lend assistance, we considered the durability factor of both natural wood floors and luxury vinyl. For the most active households, or perhaps those homes found in hot, humid, or freezing-cold environments, Vinyl plank may be best. Vinyl flooring is very durable. Also, we consider color and design capacity of both types.

Luxury vinyl is power-packed with the ability to mimic both natural woods and stone or brick. Vinyl plank providing the aesthetic aged and cozy wood feel. Ease of installation was also considered. All things NOT being equal, our final verdict is completely final. Luxury vinyl, for the most part, is an excellent choice for many homeowners. Each homeowner may have their own specific reason as to why luxury vinyl is best for their household. 

The choice of vinyl tile versus vinyl plank, is added options. However, natural or engineered wood floors are a time-tested tradition. Today, smart-technology and new installation techniques make this option still a viable one for many. Whichever floor you choose for your family, we are sure it will be the RIGHT one. Happy Searching.

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