hardwood vs luxury vinyl planks

Hardwood vs. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Everyone is familiar with hardwood.

You may even love hardwood… until you look at the price tag.

Then, you start to have second thoughts. Can I get a floor that matches hardwoods beauty but won’t destroy my bank account?

You do some research, or maybe ask some friends, and you come across luxury vinyl planks.


Captain’s clearing the confusion!This article is discussing luxury vinyl which is NOT the same as sheet vinyl. Luxury vinyl comes in planks (or tiles) similar to laminate flooring. Normal sheet vinyl is the cheaper thin flooring that comes in one piece.

Luxury vinyl planks, also abbreviated LVP, look like wood tiles, but how do they perform? Here’s the Captain’s unbiased take on how luxury vinyl and real hardwood compare in 4 important categories:

Price

Let’s get this out of the way first. After all, probably the reason you’re here is you aren’t sure if it’s worth dropping the cash on real hardwood.

The cost will depend on the design and durability of the vinyl or hardwood you choose. For comparison purposes, you can expect to pay around $5 per sqft for luxury vinyl and $15 per sqft for hardwood.

The winner? Luxury vinyl.

Aesthetic

You have to be realistic, the way your floors look will be a big deciding factor. The good news is there are some great designs with both types of flooring.

Luxury vinyl gives you many options. You can get planks that imitate hardwood, or you can get tiles that look like slate and ceramic. There are many options for color and even texture. A testament to how far luxury vinyl has come is you are starting to see it in many high-end apartments and homes.

Ugly floors can’t pull that off. But at the end of the day, you can imitate hardwood, but you can’t be hardwood. The natural beauty is still the champ.

The winner? Hardwood.

Lifespan

If you plan on living in your home for a long time, the lifespan of the flooring should be a consideration. You don’t want to get into the habit of going through this decision every few years. You want flooring that will last a while, which means you need to look at hardwood versus vinyl.

Vinyl, although it has benefited from advanced technologies, is still a cheaper material than wood. It will generally last between 5 and 15 years. It’s a wide range, but it depends on the quality and how you take care of it.

Hardwood is made to last a lifetime. This will require occasional refinishing, but the ability to refinish is one of the benefits of hardwood. You can’t pull that off with vinyl.

The winner? Hardwood.

Comfort

If you want to take your shoes off, you might want to know which floor is more comfortable.

Neither of these floors can match carpet in comfort, but of hard types of flooring, is there a difference?

There are a couple aspect of comfort: how cold is it, how soft is it, and how rough is it?

Both floors are going to be relatively cold (if you it gets cold where you live) and hard. Both floors don’t require pad but it is possible to soften the blow.

What about roughness? Hardwood is pretty smooth, but luxury vinyl can be rough. Usually, it isn’t, but it can be… especially commercial grade. This breaks the tie to give a very slight edge to hardwood.

The winner? Hardwood.

Maintenance

Maintenance goes a long way to keeping your floors looking their best. If you have ever been at someone’s home and seen worn spots throughout their vinyl floors or dents in their hardwood floors, it’s a good indication that they don’t know how to care for their floors.

Hardwood floors are relatively easy to maintain. Avoid walking on them with spiked heels or shoes that have damage on the soles. Sweep the floors on a weekly basis and wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Avoid damp mopping with water and don’t use oil-based soaps or products with lemon or citrus. Various cleaning products are available on the market specifically for hardwood floors that should be used.

Luxury vinyl isn’t much different. You really just need to sweep or vacuum it occassionally, and if you want to, you can get out a mop.

One of the main benefits of hardwood is that you can refinish floors so they look brand new once again. This allows all of the dents and scratches to be eliminated after the sanding process, but it also requires a little more work on your end. This gives luxury vinyl the edge on maintenance.

The winner? Luxury vinyl

Captain’s parting words!

Both of these floors are excellent choices depending on what you need.

If you have hardwood in the budget and don’t think the floor will take to much abuse, I’d say go for it.

If your floor might take a beating, you don’t have luxury flooring money sitting around, or you may change your design options at some point, luxury vinyl looks great and is one of the best “bang for your buck” floors.

Hope this helped you pick which you want, and remember, you can always do both. If you have more questions on hardwood and luxury vinyl flooring, feel free to ask in the comments below.

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Kate Welling

You mentioned that vinyl gives you many options aesthetically. There are many different colors and textures, as you said. I think that this is awesome. I want to remodel my downstairs and turn it into a workout room. I think that vinyl flooring would be perfect for the project! [link removed]