When people think about hardwood flooring, they usually picture high-end pieces of solid wood that fit together to create a beautiful floor surface. For a long period of time, this traditional hardwood flooring was the standard for practically all flooring materials. These days, however, there are plenty of different styles of flooring to choose from. There are even different examples of hardwood flooring that are more versatile and less expensive than the original solid wood floor.
Engineered hardwood flooring came onto the scene in recent years. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is made with a combination of solid wood and plywood backing materials. This makes it less expensive compared to traditional hardwood, while still maintaining its eye-catching, classic wood finish. These days, however, people have plenty of other choices when it comes to durable flooring with an attractive finish.
Below we will look at how newer, high-quality vinyl planks compare to engineered hardwood flooring. To give you a comprehensive idea about which one will be best for your needs, we will compare each type of flooring based on the following:
- Appearance & style
- Environmental Impact
Appearance and Style
The classic appeal of a hardwood floor cannot be overstated. There is a reason why this type of flooring material is still so popular. Available in a wide range of colours, grains, and finishes, engineered hardwood gives homeowners plenty of opportunities to be creative with their design choices. One thing people should be aware of in terms of limitations is the fact that hardwood is subject to the availability of the desired wood. Even engineered hardwoods require some consistency in terms of solid wood, and if availability is limited, costs of materials will go up.
Vinyl Plank Flooring
In previous decades, vinyl flooring might have been counted among the least appealing types of flooring materials. These days thanks to the numerous innovations in manufacturing and design of this material, vinyl floors can easily compare to hardwood in terms of appearance. The abundance of styles has also made it among the most versatile examples of flooring materials, with colours and finishes suited to virtually any home’s décor.
Engineered hardwood can certainly stack up with any flooring material out there when it comes to durability. Thanks to its solid makeup, you will be able to rely on your engineered hardwood floor for years to come. That is assuming you are properly maintaining your hardwood floor by keeping it clean, dry and periodically refinishing any protective coatings that get worn down. All things considered, a hardwood floor can stand up to plenty of abuse, except of course standing water or spills of any kind.
Even a hardwood floor protected by a waterproof varnish can be prone to warping and discoloration, leaving something to be desired in terms of long-term durability.
Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl floors stand up to much more abuse compared to hardwood, including moisture buildup. Thanks to the extremely durable synthetic material from which vinyl planks are constructed, there is really nothing that can compare when it comes to durability. Properly installed vinyl flooring will keep its colour, shape, and overall ability to stand up to regular wear and tear for decades.
Considering that hardwood flooring materials are made from natural, renewable resources, while vinyl is made from a combination of synthetic PVC plastics and resins, one might assume hardwood has less of an environmental impact. This is actually not the case, as manufacturing and even disposing of hardwood materials can take much more energy. Perhaps if deforestation rates slow in the future, this might no longer be the case, but for now, vinyl flooring has less impact. This is thanks to the use of recycled materials for manufacturing vinyl floor planks. The synthetic PVC used in the manufacturing process relies on salt, which is extremely abundant and cheap.
While hardwood may look great anywhere you want to have it installed in your home, it is definitely not the most practical material for all applications. A hardwood floor in a kitchen, bathroom, or mudroom will likely turn into an expensive mess after a short time. This is because even the most durable engineered hardwood floors cannot stand up to frequent exposure to moisture. They make a great option for bedrooms, hallways, living rooms, and even a finished basement where leaks aren’t a factor, but hardwood is a lousy choice for any application where it will be exposed to moisture.
Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl on the other hand has virtually universal applications in a typical home. The extreme durability of the PVC material makes it a great choice for high traffic areas prone to moisture buildup. Along with the wide range of colours and finishes that can suit any room’s décor, there are very few limitations for vinyl planks when it comes to its applications.
This comparison will be relatively straightforward. As you might have guessed based on our previous descriptions and comparisons, engineered hardwood is often the more expensive choice of the two flooring materials. This is due to the limited availability of the material compared to vinyl, as well as the manufacturing and installation process.
Even the highest quality vinyl floors will be cheaper to purchase and will take far less time to install. That means homeowners can save both on the material itself, as well as any associated installation costs.
At the end of the day, the attractiveness and appeal of the hardwood floor will never diminish. However, unless you have a specific application and budget for engineered hardwood, it can make a lot more practical and financial sense to go with the vinyl floor. For more information, or to view samples of high-quality flooring materials of all types, be sure to visit the flooring store in Surrey today!