Hardwood and vinyl. First, how are they alike?
Mainly, in the way they look! Obviously the look of a vinyl floor is a fabrication of something else, but the same technologies that have made laminate floors look so real also apply to vinyl flooring, especially the plank style vinyl floors.
These days choice really comes down to the features you want, or problems you want to avoid.
In Praise of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood adds value to your home, and here I mean money. If you have hardwood floors, you can sell your house for more. That’s pretty much not true of any other type of flooring.
Genuine hardwood is warmer to walk on. It’s much thicker.
With some hardwoods, you can also have padding underneath. This often isn’t an option with vinyl plank.
Hardwood floors are known for their longevity, some lasting generations. One reason is that rather than replacing an entire floor after it has become worn, you can sand and refinish a hardwood floor. This is usually less expansive than the cost of replacing flooring of any kind, and keeps the look around which the rest of the home was established.
The Dark Side of Hardwood Flooring
This stuff can be expensive! Very generaly, hardwood is going to be the most expensive type of flooring you can buy. Verses vinyl, the range of prices is higher with hardwood.
Installation is a much more difficult affair with hardwood. Even comparing floating, click together versions of both, hardwood requires more care and preparation.
Damage is more of an issue with hardwood. Wood and vinyl have different kinds of durabilities. One breaks, one bends, both can dent from high heeled shoes. Aside from that, hardwood is usually more susceptible to permanent damage from dents, scratches and the like.
Real wood has natural crevices which can harbor dust. As problems go, it’s generally slight if the floor is taken care of to a normal degree, but comparatively, this is a problem vinyl just doesn’t have.
Water and moisture. If wood has a downfall, this is it. You can’t let your hardwood floors get wet, and if they do, you must clean the spill immediately. Even humidity can be an issue with wood floors, especially solid hardwoods.
In Praise of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl flooring can be one of the least expensive kinds of flooring you can buy.
Installing a click together, floating vinyl plank floor is as easy as doing the same with a laminate floor, the cream of the do-it-yourself flooring crop.
Generally, vinyl plank flooring has a tougher surface for foot traffic than hardwood, enough to recommend it for public and commercial areas such as hotel lobbies or hospitals.
Vinyl is easier to clean. You can mop it. You have more chemical cleaning options, though all you need is a light soap and water mix. Also, locked together your vinyl floor won’t have the gaps and crevices natural to a wood floor, which means less trapped dust.
Waterproof. Vinyl plank flooring can be 100% waterproof. Now add to durability the ability to handle snow covered boots, rain drenched clothes, mud, spills, puppy training mishaps – none of these are an issue for the floor. Floods? Bad for the house, yes, no question, but a 100% waterproof vinyl plank floor will survive it.
The Dark Side of Vinyl Plank Floor
It’s colder to walk on than hardwood flooring.
It adds no value to the home. It doesn’t take any away, but it isn’t a selling point, just a good, durable floor.
Damaged planks must be replaced. You can’t sand and refinish a vinyl floor.