There is a lot of information in the market today about waterproof flooring or luxury vinyl flooring, sometimes even called vinyl wood flooring because it has the look of wood planks.  It is touted as being waterproof and extremely durable.  So how does it compare to “real” hardwood flooring?  The answer to this depends largely on what the priorities are of the homeowner.  Let’s break it down the differences between luxury vinyl flooring and hardwood flooring!


Luxury Vinyl (Vinyl Wood Flooring)

Luxury Vinyl flooring is literally made from vinyl or pvc.  

Pros & Cons for Luxury Vinyl

Pros Cons
Less expensive than hardwood Bad for the environment—wont’ break down over time
Very water resistant Can feel soft or hollow underfoot
More scratch resistant than wood—this varies by quality of product Susceptible to joints breaking if subfloor is not level
Realistic wood looks available Less resale value compared with wood


Hardwood Flooring

When we talk about hardwood floors, there are several categories that one could consider if you want hardwood in your home and they also each have their pros and cons.  

Pros & Cons of Solid, Sand on Site Hardwood

Pros Cons
Solid, natural product Price-can be fairly expensive
Long lasting Not good with water
Can be refinished multiple times Scratches fairly easily
More environmentally friendly Prone to gapping in dryer climates
Increases resale value of real estate Needs higher relative humidity
The product all others aspire to look like
Custom color choices

Pros & Cons of Solid, Prefinished Hardwood

Pros Cons
More scratch resistant than sand on site More difficult/costly to refinish
Easier, cleaner install than sand on site

Pros & Cons of Engineered Hardwood

This product typically has a thinner layer of wood on top of a substrate of high quality plywood or wood compound.  

Pros  Cons
More dimensionally stable than solid wood—less problems with gapping in drier climates Quality can vary.  Low quality can result in cracking of wood, gapping, cupping, finish wearing
More scratch resistant than sand on site
Typically less expensive than solid wood
Can go below grade (ie. basements

What’s the Right Wood Flooring for You?

So which product is best for you depends on your lifestyle, budget, and space requirements.  Lot’s of pets or areas prone to water may be great areas for vinyl plank flooring.  If you want the high quality of real wood that can last a lifetime, one of the hardwoods might be the choice for you.