You have already decided that your flooring needs to be replaced and you’re caught in a dilemma between using LVP or Hardwood flooring. Both materials give any room that feeling of elegance, but that leaves us with the question, “Which flooring type is better?”
Though both look the same, each type have their own benefits and drawbacks. In this guide, we review different attributes of both materials to see the pros and cons of each and help you make the best decision for your home improvement project.
Nobody wants to spend their hard-earned money on flooring only for it to be easily damaged. Durability is a primary concern of homeowners with kids and/or pets in their homes. Scratches, chips and dings aren’t a concern with LVP, which means it doesn’t have to be refinished like hardwoods, which is a big plus if you are budget-minded. However, LVP’s can tear and dent. Your LVP flooring can rip when you drag and move the furniture around, or drop heavy or sharp objects on it. Dents usually occur on areas under heavy furniture and appliances.
Hardwood floors, on the other hand are prone to scratches brought about by pets and moving the furniture around. It can also chip when heavy objects are dropped on it. You can repair, replace or refinish hardwoods, but then this entails an expensive cost. However, with proper care your hardwood flooring can last decades. Even though you can scratch or damage it, hardwoods are the most durable flooring in the market.
LVP is completely waterproof. You can get it wet without worrying about damaging it. This makes it a great flooring of choice for any room, especially on kitchens and bathrooms where floors often get wet. You can also have it installed in basements. You can’t damage it from spills that kids make or “accidents” from pets or from wet mopping the floor.
Now with hardwood flooring, you can damage it if you expose it to water. You have to wipe up spills promptly and you can’t use wet mops to clean it. You should not install hardwoods in rooms were moisture usually accumulates. Water-damaged hardwood floors leads to costly replacements. Though sometimes you can still repair hardwoods, it is a time-consuming process and is advisable that professionals should do it for you to ensure that it is done correctly and no harmful molds. When it comes to water resistance, vinyl planks are superior to hardwood floors, specially to homeowners looking to install it in basements, bathrooms or kitchens.
LVP has lots of different styles that imitates the look of hardwoods. Today’s modern printing methods give beautiful details making it look more realistic than ever. Planks can often look and even feel very similar to wood flooring. It comes in a variety of sizes. Widths range from 6” to 9”, and lengths are from 36” to 60” and thickness from 2mm to over 4mm. Most of these planks are rectangular, but some manufacturers produce square planks as well. Vinyl planks also come in a variety of colors from whitewashed to ebony.
Hardwood flooring come in many different varieties. It has different species like walnut, maple, ash, birch, pine etc. Hardwoods come in different colors and finishes. You can use a variety of glosses and textures and come in both modern and traditional styles. People who want a custom color can go for unfinished hardwood floors. You can use stains to bring out a unique color to your floors. Hardwood floors have widths from 2” to 10”, lengths from 1 foot to 7 feet. Most hardwood floor planks are 3⁄4-inch thick. However, recently, manufacturers have come out with a “thin-profile” glue-down hardwood flooring that’s about 5/16-inch thick.
Though both have a wide variety of choices, hardwoods have so many wood species to choose from, many different sizes, and the ability to custom stain flooring. Hardwoods are the most versatile when compared to vinyl planks.
LVP’s can be installed in just hours and homeowners with time and the correct tools can install it themselves. Hardwoods, on the other hand, require more work from start to finish. Though it is not impossible for homeowners to perform a DIY, this takes time and know how. A sub-floor must be installed and a vapor barrier before installing the hardwood itself. A saw must be used to cut the flooring in pieces. One must also take into consideration the expansion and contraction that naturally occurs to wood when exposed to different temperatures. Failure to properly install and measure this can result in damage to your floor. It is advisable for homeowners to seek a professional’s services when installing hardwoods, which entails additional expenses making it not so ideal for the budget conscious homeowner. In this category, vinyl planks have an edge over hardwoods.
CARE & MAINTENANCE
For daily cleaning of vinyl planks, one can use a broom, dust mop, sweeper or a vacuum cleaner. A wet mop can be used for deeper cleaning. You can alos polish dull floors with polishes made specifically for vinyl floors. Keep in mind that you must use a no-wax cleaner as cleaners containing wax can result to build up in vinyl floors. To prevent vinyl floors from fading overtime due to exposure to sunlight, rugs on sunny areas, or shades/blinds on windows can do the job. Faded floors cannot be restored and must be replaced.
Hardwood flooring is not so low-maintenance like vinyl planks. It has several considerations. It cannot get wet, so spills must immediately be dealt with and wet mops are a big no-no. Daily cleaning can be done with a broom or a dust mop. Vacuum cleaners can be used, as long as you keep in mind that the model used is hardwood friendly, meaning no beater bar that can scratch or damage your floor. Heavier cleaning can be done by using products designed for hardwood floors. Hardwoods may need waxing, overtime, when they lose their shine. Though it can easily retain its beauty for years, it will eventually wear from age. When this happens, a professional can refinish the flooring.
In this category, I call a tie, because vinyl planks are easier to clean on a daily basis but hardwoods can go the distance and with proper care and maintenance will retain its original beauty for many years.
The pricing for LVP ranges from $2 per square foot to 7$ per square foot, on average. This is one of the most affordable options compared to other types of flooring. Many people install vinyl themselves, making less costly, but for people who do not have the time to work on this themselves can spend around $1-$4 per square foot for installation.
Hardwood flooring, on the other hand is one of the most expensive flooring types. Mid-grade woods are approximately $5-$10 per square foot. Exotics can go as much as $15 which is drastically more costly than vinyl planks. Also, since most homeowners do not have the skills or knowledge to install hardwood floors, they would have to seek the help of professionals, which could mean an additional expense $5-$8 per square foot for installation.
At a glance, vinyl plank flooring is the more cost-efficient option because you can achieve the beautiful look of hardwood for a fraction of the cost. But if you factor in the lifespan of your flooring, you would have to spend on vinyl plank replacements several times compared hardwoods than can last a lifetime, hardwoods may be the smarter option.
In conclusion, both materials have their benefits and drawbacks. Luxury Vinyl Planks may be a more affordable option and is advisable for homes with kids and pets, and also for those who do not have the time for hours of care and maintenance. This is also a better choice for areas where moisture is often found like bathrooms and kitchens. This material is ideal for people who are renting and do not intend to live there in the long run.
Hardwood floors are extremely durable and has a wide array of options to choose from, so that the homeowner can express themselves more with the type of wood and finish they want to use for their floors. Even though this is more expensive, with proper care and maintenance, these types of flooring can last ages.