Vinyl Plank Flooring vs Hardwood: The Pros and Cons

As a homeowner, you are often flooded with different flooring options for your home. When the flooring in your home needs updating or replacing, shopping for flooring can be an exciting yet daunting time.

We’ll dive into two of the most popular flooring types, vinyl wood flooring, and hardwood floors to see how they differ.

While you can’t go wrong with either choice, there are definitely positives and drawbacks to both types of flooring.

From the price to the durability and maintenance, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about hardwood and luxury vinyl flooring pros and cons.

How to Compare Vinyl Wood Flooring and Hardwood Flooring

When you’re looking to change up the floors in your home, two common floor types you’ll encounter are hardwood floors and vinyl wood flooring. While they look very similar there are a few distinct differences.

Hardwood flooring has always been a classic flooring staple. Hardwood floors may be made out of one solid piece of wood or they can be engineered with a hardwood veneer and several layers of plywood underneath.

Vinyl wood flooring is made to look like hardwood in appearance but it is actually made out of a single layer of rubberized plastic that has been dyed and textured. Vinyl wood flooring is typically made from PVC or polyvinyl resin. This synthetic material is made by the petroleum industry.

Depending on your budget, the room you are putting new floors into and your own personal taste, both types of flooring make great options.

Vinyl Plank Flooring Pros

In terms of flooring, there are luxury vinyl plank pros and cons to consider. From where you want to install the floors to your budget and their intended use, all of these factors can play a role in your decision.

One of the biggest selling features for vinyl wood floors is the price. Vinyl plank wood floors are cheaper than hardwood.

If you are concerned about your budget and the cost of putting in a new hardwood floor, vinyl provides the look of hardwood at a much more affordable price.

Vinyl plank floors are also much easier to install. These floors are very low maintenance and they are impervious to moisture and water.

Vinyl floors are also softer and more absorbent of sounds than hardwood. Depending on where you want to install them, these perks can make a big difference.

You are also still able to use radiant heating with vinyl flooring.

Wood Vinyl Flooring Cons

Depending on where you are planning to put wood vinyl floors, there are some drawbacks you’ll want to think about.

First, vinyl floors can’t be repaired in the same way hardwood flooring can be. Although vinyl plank floors are still incredibly durable, this gives vinyl flooring a slightly shorter lifespan.

Second, if you are flipping or reselling your home, hardwood floors will increase the value of your home a little more than a vinyl plank. This is purely due to the fact that hardwood floors cost more to install.

The good news is, if you are replacing carpet or old and damaged, vinyl, you’ll definitely see a great return on your investment by installing new vinyl plank flooring.

Hardwood Flooring Pros

Hardwood floors have long been one of the most popular flooring choices. With a long lifespan and high resale value, it is no secret that hardwood floors make a beautiful choice.

Hardwood floors can also be repaired and refinished to change the color or repair a spot that has been damaged fairly easily.

Hardwood floors make for a good insulator and they will keep your home comfortable.

Hardwood is also a renewable resource and that is great for the environment.

Hardwood Flooring Cons

One of the biggest drawbacks of hardwood flooring is the price. Hardwood flooring is much more expensive to put in. You will, however, see a very long lifespan, so this isn’t always a cut and dry comparison.

Hardwood floors are also unfortunately suspectable to water damage and moisture. This makes hardwood floors higher maintenance over time.

Hardwood floors may also be damaged by using radiant heat.

Real hardwood floors can also be difficult and expensive to install so you’ll need to factor in the time and costs associated with installation.

Flooring Cost Comparision

The biggest differentiator between the two flooring types in their cost. The quality and type of materials vary widely between the two.

Vinyl flooring is less expensive to buy and it is also cheaper to install. This offers homeowners a nice return on their investment and almost immediate value.

In addition to vinyl plank flooring, it also comes in sheet and tile form.

The cost of a hardwood floor can differ quite a bit. You’ll see a big price range depending on the type of wood you choose. If you buy it already stained you may pay a premium as well. Different engineered wood also ranges in price.

More expensive types of wood include mahogany and teak. More affordable types of wood include oak and maple.

Depending on your budget and timeframe for installation, the cost can vary significantly between the two types of flooring and also within each different kind themselves.

Flooring Installation

While both hardwood floors and vinyl plank floors can be installed by a handy DIY enthusiast, a professional is likely going to be your best bet.

Installing either of these floor types yourself isn’t a walk in the park if you aren’t sure how to do it.

Hardwood floors can be put in using a wooden subfloor or on top of a cement foundation.

Wood will bend over time as it is not as forgiving on an uneven subfloor as vinyl. To allow for this, installers will put an expansion gap around the edge of the room to allow the wood floorboards to contract or swell over time from moisture.

Vinyl plank wood floors can be installed over wood, concrete, or even existing flooring. Vinyl planks can be installed very quickly by a professional.

Flooring Style and Appearance

Hardwood floors are very pretty to look at. With the different wood grains and natural tones, they make a beautiful addition to any home.

The appearance of your hardwoods can also be made to suit any look or feel you desire. The colors of hardwood floors will range from neutral browns to more reddish colors depending on the type of tree used and the stain.

You can also leave the wood looking more natural or stain it white, gray, or black, to match your personal style or the style of a room.

Vinyl plank wood floors look almost exactly like wood at first glance. Only a really close examination will even show a difference. Most people walking into your home may not even realize your floors are vinyl plank if they aren’t real hardwood.

Due to the rubberized backing, vinyl adds a soft and sound-absorbing quality that is different than harder natural wood surfaces.

Flooring Maintenance and Care

Vinyl plank flooring is one of the easiest to maintain. You can regularly clean vinyl floors by sweeping, vacuuming, or mopping.

Because you can’t repair a damaged vinyl floor plank, you can add a rug on top of it to protect it in high traffic areas.

When it comes to water and moisture, vinyl holds up nicely. Just wipe it up and you won’t have to worry about damage.

Hardwood floors need to be swept and dusted often. Small particles of dirt can scratch the surface of a hardwood floor.

Pets, kids, and furniture can also scratch the floor. You will need to refinish or repair your hardwood floors about every ten years to keep them looking great.

Is Vinyl Hardwood Flooring Right For You?

Both vinyl wood flooring and hardwood flooring make for beautiful additions to any home. Both types of flooring are also great investments that will increase your home’s value and appearance.

If you’re wondering what the best option for you is, think about where you are installing the flooring and weigh the pros and cons. If you’re worried about a room that has too much moisture or exposure to water, for example, vinyl wood flooring might be your best bet.

In terms of costs and installation, vinyl wood flooring is very affordable and budget-friendly.

While both types of flooring look beautiful, vinyl wood planks look so similar to wood, many people may not even be able to tell the difference.

When it comes to your personal preference, think about the costs and which style makes the most sense for you and your home.

When you’re ready to start shopping, fill out the contact form here to get a quote and your questions answered by a professional flooring expert.