Let’s do a word association exercise. When you hear “hardwood floors,” which words come to mind? Words like “beautiful” or “classic,” right? What about “laminate”? We often hear words like “stylish” and “affordable.”
How about “vinyl”? Or “luxury vinyl plank”?
No, it’s not an oxymoron. It’s actually the fastest growing category in the flooring market. And it looks like hardwood at a better price.
Vinyl has been at the bottom of the list for many Texas homeowners, but things have changed. This isn’t the linoleum of the 1950s. We’re going to show you how it compares to hardwood floors and why luxury vinyl plank should be a top option in your next home renovation.
What is Luxury Vinyl Plank?
Luxury vinyl plank flooring (also called engineered vinyl plank, SPC, WPC, Rigid Core, or Waterproof Core) is vinyl with a hybrid, layered construction. It combines the best qualities of different flooring types to bring you the features you’d want for a home. It’s waterproof, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, quiet, comfortable and attractive.
What makes it so different is that it offers the durability of vinyl with the rigid-core construction of hardwood or laminate, so installation is super simple with no nails or glue needed.
It also looks very much like hardwood and some say even better than laminate. So much so, you’d have a hard time telling it apart.
How Does Luxury Vinyl Plank Compare to Hardwood Floors?
What’s the best choice when you compare luxury vinyl plank vs. hardwood? We’ll outline the major differences to help you decide.
Hardwood floors, while beautiful, are actually not very durable. A lot of maintenance is needed to protect hardwood from scratches, dents or damage.
Hardwood is especially susceptible to water damage. This means it’s not the best choice for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other areas where moisture is a factor.
Vinyl plank flooring, however, is extremely durable and performs very well in moisture-rich areas. Like regular vinyl, it’s 100% waterproof and can be installed nearly anywhere.
Unlike regular glue-down vinyl, solid vinyl planks have a strong rigid core of wood or stone composite, which adds durability. The underlayment, which varies by brand, may also include cork for added cushion and sound absorption.
The appeal of a hardwood floor lies in its natural wood grain and warm color. While luxury vinyl is a man-made product, it mimics the look of wood grain thanks to the latest printing technology. It also offers various finishes and wood species, such as oak and pine.
It’s available in stylish colors as well, ranging from white and gray to rich browns and ebony. Shades vary widely and include the gray wood flooring look that is trending now.
Stylistically, hardwood may have a more luxurious feel, but vinyl planks offer a warm, contemporary look with easier upkeep.
Vinyl planks can be glued down or installed as a “floating floor,” which means you wouldn’t need to glue or nail them down. Because of their tongue and groove design, the planks can be clicked together.
They’re also easy to install and can be laid on top of nearly any surface, as long as it’s flat. Solid hardwood flooring is typically nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor and should be installed by professionals.
In this area, vinyl plank flooring is one of the easiest to maintain. Because it’s waterproof, it can be mopped and even steam mopped. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, need special care. They’re best cleaned with brooms, damp mops or vacuums designed for hard surfaces.
As you might imagine, luxury vinyl planks are less expensive than hardwood floors. They typically range from $1 to $4 per square foot, compared to hardwood, which ranges from $4 to $13 per square foot. (Contact us for specific pricing.) This doesn’t include the cost of installation.
The Bottom Line
Natural hardwood floors will always remain one of the most popular, traditional options to add appeal and value to a home. But for Texas homeowners with families or pets, luxury vinyl flooring offers a resilient option that is very attractive. If you’re looking for style and durability at a friendlier price, we recommend luxury vinyl plank flooring.
Have any questions about luxury vinyl or hardwood? We’re happy to answer them. Just send us an email.