Comparing Flooring Options: Luxury Vinyl Plank, Solid Hardwood, and Engineered Hardwood
One major thing home buyers search for is quality flooring throughout the home. Carpet can be difficult to keep clean (especially for pet owners!). Wood floors hide dirt and dust, and they can increase the value of your home. Homeowners typically see a 75% return on investment when they update their floors. But putting in new floors is a big project! And one that you must carefully consider. Because once you decide on your flooring, you’re stuck with it (literally… the floor is stuck with wood glue and nails!). There are three major players in the wood flooring industry:
- Luxury Vinyl Planks
- Engineered Hardwood
So which one should you choose? There are pros and cons to each.
What Is Luxury Vinyl Plank?
Vinyl Plank is a synthetic flooring option. It’s not to be confused with linoleum flooring, which lingers in floral patterns in grandparents’ houses across America. Rather than being sold in a roll like linoleum, LVP comes in individual planks. When you lay LVP you fit it together like a jigsaw puzzle.
LVP is manufactured in layers. The first layer is the base. It can have a rigid or flexible structure, depending on your preference. The next layer is textured with wood grain ridges to mimic real wood. The top layer coats the plank to protect it from things like UV damage, scratches, and water.
Pros of Luxury Vinyl Plank
- It’s Completely Water Resistant
Flooding, spills, leaving your snowy boots on the floor, and pet accidents are no worries with LVP. For daily living and an active family, this kind of peace of mind is valuable.
- It’s Very Difficult to Damage
It’s very difficult to dent or scratch your LVP floor. You can go ahead and remove the felt furniture pads from your chair legs—re-arrange furniture without fear of damage. Forget trimming your puppy’s nails this month. It’ll be ok! LVP can take it.
- It can look like almost anything
Oak. Acacia. Bamboo. Thick ridges. Patterns. Whatever you want! The floors you’ve seen on your favorite Pinterest boards can be your reality very easily.
- It’s not affected by heat and humidity
It won’t bow, bend, shrink and contract depending on the season. Summer humidity won’t get trapped inside the planks.
- It’s DIY friendly
If you’re a DIY-er (or even an aspiring DIY-er!), LVP is a great option. Most planks have grooves that can slide together.
- It’s Affordable
2021 Luxury Vinyl Plank prices run between $1-$6 per plank, which is a steal compared to hardwood prices.
Cons of Luxury Vinyl Plank
- Quality can be inconsistent.
Slapping the word “luxury” onto the front doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality. And when it comes to LVP quality, not all planks are created equal. Focus on thickness and builder reputation to determine quality. Some consistently quality flooring companies to consider are Shaw, Mohawk, and Pergo.
- Be wary of older vinyl.
Some first-generation vinyl flooring was made with asbestos. If you’re buying a home with older vinyl floors, it’s worthwhile to test it during your home inspection.
- It’s not environmentally friendly.
LVP is made of plastic. For this reason, it can’t decompose or be recycled.
- It’s difficult to repair
Even though it’s difficult to damage… if it does get damaged, it’s impossible to repair. It must be replaced.
- It has a lower resale value
The resale value of your renovation should always be considered. While LVP flooring does add value to your home, it does not add as much value as other flooring options.
What Is Solid Hardwood Flooring?
Solid hardwood planks are created from one thick piece of solid wood. They are timelessly beautiful and universally adored by home shoppers.
Pros of Solid Hardwood Flooring:
- They’re tough and easy to clean
A damp mop and a splash of castile soap are all it takes to clean hardwood floors. Gently dry them with a clean cloth afterward.
- It’s the real deal.
At the end of the day, buyers always ask about the hardwood specifically. It’s consistently sought after and will add exponential value to your investment.
- It’s a green option.
Solid hardwood is made from trees. Trees decompose easily, can be repurposed, and are a renewable resource. Solid hardwood is an excellent option if crafting your home to be eco-friendly is important to you.
- It’s Easy To Renovate
If your floors get damaged or if you want a new look, updating them is relatively easy. It’s just a matter of buffing them out and refinishing. Since styles and trends are constantly changing, this gives you a bit of flexibility. So in 30 years, your grandkids won’t be saying “Grandmas house is sooo ‘20’s”
Cons of Solid Hardwood Flooring:
- They must be nailed and/or glued down.
This means they’re prone to shrinking or contracting with fluctuating weather conditions.
- While DIY is possible, a contractor’s expert eye is recommended.
It takes some strategy to prevent bending and bowing.
- It’s the most expensive option.
The price depends on the type of wood you choose. Although solid hardwood is the most expensive option, there is some wiggle room depending on what kind of wood you choose. Average costs are between $6 and $12 per square foot.
- It’s prone to water damage.
If water gets on the floor, there can be no hesitating to clean it up. It’s also a risky choice if you decide to live by the lakeside.
What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Similar to solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is made from real, genuine wood. The biggest difference is that it has a layer of veneered wood applied to the top. This layer adds increased stability and durability. It’s the mid-range option between LVP and Solid Hardwood.
Pros of Engineered Hardwood:
- It’s more durable than solid hardwood
Similar to solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is prone to bowing and buckling with changing humidity levels. But the movement is substantially less than hardwood. The veneer layer gives added protection against the elements.
- Mid-range affordability
While not as affordable as LVP, engineered hardwood is also not as expensive as solid hardwood. The average cost of engineered hardwood is between $3 and $13 per square foot.
- It’s low- maintenance.
The veneer layer makes it difficult to scratch and easy to maintain.
Cons of Engineered Hardwood:
People are always looking for the real deal. It’s the same concept as designer vs. knockoff jeans. At the end of the day, people are always going to place a higher value on raw hardwood rather than veneer.
We’ll do our best to answer! We can also recommend some great local contractors if you’re not a DIY-er. Send us a DM! The Hub is always here to help.