Vinyl flooring that is made to look like wood flooring is a popular choice. Vinyl flooring features photographs of wood printed onto PVC material to replicate the appearance of real hardwood floors. Vinyl flooring is much cheaper than hardwood floors, but offers less quality and durability in the long run.
In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the major differences between vinyl floors and hardwood floors to help you figure out which one is the right choice for you.
The Cost of Vinyl Floors vs. Hardwood Floors
One of the most common reasons that people choose vinyl floors over hardwood floors is because they are much cheaper than hardwood floors while emulating the appearance of wood. Whereas high-quality wide plank flooring typically starts at $5 per square foot and can go for $20 per square foot or more depending on the options you select, you can find vinyl flooring for as little as $2 per square foot depending on the quality of material you are looking for.
When choosing wide plank floors, the cost of materials is just one factor to consider––you also have to think about installation costs. The cost of installing hardwood floors depends on your area and the type of flooring that you choose, but you can usually expect it to be at least an additional $6 per square foot.
If you choose to have a professional install your vinyl floors, the labor cost will be much cheaper than hiring a professional to install real hardwood floors. This is because the installation process for vinyl floors is much simpler than installing hardwood floors.
Appearance and Customization Options
Hardwood floors are versatile and available in a variety of species, finishes, and stains. They’re also available in engineered and solid varieties, and can be bought prefinished or unfinished. Wide Plank Floor Supply offers completely custom wide plank floors, making the options nearly limitless––you can choose your species, stain, type of flooring, and finish. We produce our floors specifically to suit each individual customer’s needs and therefore do not have pre-made flooring stocked in our warehouse. Every floor we make is completely custom. Click here to learn more about our process for creating our wide plank floors.
Vinyl floors are only available in the options offered by a given manufacturer. There are usually no customization options available when purchasing vinyl floors.
As for the overall appearance of vinyl floors, at first glance, you may mistake them for real hardwood. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that they’re just a replica of hardwood. There is simply nothing that can truly replace the patina and appearance of wood.
Home Resale Value
Vinyl floors generally do not contribute to the resale value of a home, whereas real hardwood floors contribute positively to the resale value of a home. According to the National Hardwood Flooring Association, realtors typically state that compared to homes with other types of flooring, homes with hardwood flooring are easier to sell, sell faster, and sell for more money. However, they do require more of an upfront investment than vinyl flooring.
Maintenance of Vinyl vs. Hardwood Flooring
One con of real hardwood flooring is that they require quite a bit of regular maintenance to keep up their appearance. They also must be refinished every few years. Vinyl floors do not require the same level of maintenance; just regular cleaning.
While vinyl floors do not require as much maintenance as a wood floor, they cannot be repaired if they are damaged––only replaced. This is in major difference from a wood floor, which can usually be refinished if minor repairs are required. If a penetrating finish is used, more oil can simply be applied to repair minor buffs and scratches in the finish.
Hardwood floors are environmentally friendly. They can always be repurposed and turned into something else, including more flooring. You can also choose a low-VOC finish (VOC stands for volatile organic compounds) to coat the floors, which ensures that the emissions from the finish are within healthy and eco-friendly levels. You can also choose reclaimed wide plank floors, which would further contribute to the eco-friendliness of a project.
Vinyl floors, however, are not environmentally friendly. They are made from PVC resin, which typically have large amounts of VOCs. In addition, vinyl floors typically cannot be reclaimed or repurposed once they are uninstalled, which contributes to waste.
Although hardwood floors require more maintenance than vinyl flooring, this means that they typically last much longer than vinyl flooring. Barring any major catastrophes, with regular maintenance and refinishing when necessary, a wood floor can last decades. However, vinyl flooring cannot be repaired if damaged––only replaced.
The one area where vinyl floors outshine hardwood floors in terms of durability is moisture resistance. Vinyl floors are virtually impervious to moisture damage, whereas hardwood floors will have to be completely replaced if they sustain major water damage.
Vinyl vs. Hardwood Floors: Which One is Right for You?
The answer to this question largely depends on your needs and what you are looking for out of your flooring. If you would like to increase the value of your home, hardwood floors will be require a large initial investment but can pay off greatly in the long run.
However, if you simply need new, affordable flooring and you aren’t looking to make a huge investment, vinyl floors may be the way to go. Be mindful of the fact that some types of vinyl flooring may contain large amounts of VOCs, so be sure to do your research in order to find a type of vinyl flooring that is low-VOC.
Although hardwood floors are more expensive than vinyl floors, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for––timeless beauty, a possible increase in the resale value of your home, and durable flooring that can last decades.
If you’ve determined that hardwood is the right choice for you, click here to browse our selection of custom wide plank floors.