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(Studio Apt Photo Credit: Stanislav Kondratiev)

Flooring Feud: Hardwood vs. LVP

These flooring types may look similar, but there’s definitely one that is the better match for your next home renovation!

While hardwood flooring and luxury vinyl plank (also known as LVP) may look similar, there are pros and cons to both types of flooring. Each flooring type is a better fit for different types of consumers. It’s important to take all factors into consideration such as budget, pets, children, desired look, etc. in order to make the best choice for your home renovation!

Your salesperson will be more than happy to help you decide between hardwood and luxury vinyl plank, but it’s always better to go into a meeting informed. We’re covering all of the essentials — from durability to affordability! This guide will help you when deciding which type of hard surface flooring to renovate with.

Durability

One of luxury vinyl plank’s main selling points is that it is durable. Especially when compared to hardwood, LVP is prepared to handle even the most chaotic pets and children. It won’t scratch, unlike wood, and LVP is also completely waterproof! Because of its durability, it’s great for pet owners and new parents who are more budget conscious. With LVP, playtime won’t be as stressful, since you can rest assured that your LVP flooring can handle almost anything.

Also, for its durability, LVP is a great option for commercial spaces that want a hardwood look, but don’t want to deal with the hardwood damages that come from heavy foot traffic from staff and customers. Besides its low cost and durability, LVP is also easier to clean than hardwood.

That being said, LVP does have its weaknesses. Because vinyl is a softer plastic, it can tear and dent. This is usually caused by dragging heavy furniture or appliances along the floor or by leaving said appliances to rest on the floor for a long period of time. Sunlight can also damage LVP as it can cause the photographic layer (the layer the gives LVP its wood-like look) to fade over time. Comparatively to hardwood, when LVP fades, it’s quite an unnatural and harsh look. If this occurs, there’s no way to fix the boards besides replacing them or covering them up.

Hardwood, on the other hand, is not as durable as LVP. It can scratch, dent, and it’s not waterproof. Oak, maple, and cherry woods are the strongest against damage. More exotic woods such as bamboo tend to be softer and thus more pervious to scratches and dents. Unlike LVP, hardwood can stand up to sunlight. Fading is still possible, but it won’t be nearly as noticeable as with LVP, and hardwood flooring can be refinished to bring it back to its former glory.

While hardwood is easier to damage, it is also easier to repair, as hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished if desired. This of course, comes at a price, making hardwood an expensive option — especially for homeowners with children or pets that increase the likelihood for flooring damage.

Cost

In terms of cost, LVP is typically 2 to 3 times cheaper than hardwood flooring. Besides a cheaper cost for the product itself, you can also save money by installing LVP yourself. You can still hire professionals to install LVP if you’d like, though.

Hardwood, however, cannot be easily DIY’d; it is best to hire professional installers to install your new hardwood flooring.

While it is costly to purchase and install, hardwood, when well-maintained can last a lifetime — literally! Quality hardwood flooring can easily last 100 years or so, whereas LVP only lasts about 20 years. While LVP may be a lower cost up front, it’s probably more expensive in the long run as you must keep replacing it.

Hardwood can also pay off when selling your home. Hardwood flooring can increase a home’s resale value by up to 5%. That sounds small, but it ends up making a big difference. LVP, on the other hand, has no effect on a home’s resale value. Some experts even argue it may have a negative effect, but there’s no definitive answer as to LVP’s impact.

Maintenance & Care

Especially when compared to other flooring types — namely carpet, both LVP and hardwood are easy to clean and maintain. LVP in particular is incredibly easy to clean and maintain. You can vacuum, sweep, and wet mop LVP (yes, with water!). You can also even polish your LVP to refresh it and make it look brand new once again. Just be sure to use non-wax polish only.

Similar to LVP, hardwood is easy to clean and maintain. It is important, however, to make sure you are using the proper materials. Obviously, sweeping is not an issue, but if you’d like to mop your hardwood floor, it’s not encouraged that you use water. Instead, opt for a cleaning solution that is meant for hardwood floors specifically.

With proper care and maintenance, your floors will continue to look luxurious and brand new — no matter which flooring option you choose!

Style

LVP comes in a variety of styles and colors to choose from. Besides mimicking the look of hardwood flooring, some manufacturers also feature LVP that looks like concrete, stone, or porcelain tiles.

There’s more than just the color and pattern that contributes to a floor’s overall look. The board width and length can also make a difference. LVP’s size range is quite small. In terms of width, LVP ranges from 6 to 9 inches wide, and planks can be up to 60 inches in length.

When browsing hardwood options, there are several kinds of wood that you can choose from as well as an equally endless array of colors! Hardwood flooring also comes in a wider variety of sizes. Hardwood planks can come in widths ranging from 2 to 10 inches and up to 7 feet in length. This variation in widths also allows hardwood flooring to be laid in different patterns. This of course comes with an even heftier price tag, however, patterns such as herringbone and parquet can elevate a room’s style substantially.

Overall, LVP comes in more styles and colors if you consider that it can also mimic materials other than wood. But if you’re looking for a wood-look, hardwood flooring offers more styles to choose from. You’re sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for if you opt for hardwood.

Environmental Impact

If you’re an environmentally conscious shopper, hardwood is likely to be the better option as LVP comprised of man-made, synthetic materials that take centuries to break down in nature. However, there are some companies that offer LVP made from recycled materials, preventing said materials from ending up in landfills!

Logging is often not done with the environment in mind, however. That being said, there are plenty of hardwood flooring companies that invest in practicing sustainable logging practices. Just keep in mind that this of course comes at a higher price tag.

Noise & Comfort

Even though any hard surface is certainly going to be louder than carpeting, LVP is substantially quieter than hardwood flooring. Since LVP is made of a softer material, it absorbs pressure and noise. While it’s not necessary, padding can stifle noise even further.

Hardwood is known to be one of the louder flooring surfaces. Especially in multi-story homes, each footfall can be heard from below. This isn’t really a huge issue for most people as long as members of the household are not wearing tap dancing shoes at all time, but for some, the noise factor makes the difference.

Lastly, LVP stays at room temperature. That means that even during the cold winter months, your LVP floors won’t be freezing cold like they will be with hardwood flooring. With LVP flooring, wearing socks during winter is optional!

With hardwood flooring, however, the floor tends to be cooler than room temperature — unless the floor is receiving a lot of direct sunlight. This can be nice during the hot summer months, as the floors can have a nice cooling effect, but it’s not always pleasant during the winter months. Look on the bright side, though! You can use your hardwood flooring as an excuse to show off your coolest (no pun intended) pairs of socks and/or slippers.

Both LVP and hardwood are wonderful options for your home renovation. There’s a reason why LVP is the fastest growing flooring option in the home renovation market, and there’s also a reason why centuries later, people are still using hardwood flooring in their home. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that certain flooring types work best for different situations. There is no single option that works best for every single person. If there was, we wouldn’t be writing this blog post!

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California Renovation — building trust, delivering results — Since 1962

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