Hardwood vs. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring in a Charlotte home

If you are doing renovations or updates to your home, flooring is probably top of your list. With so many choices out there, it can be hard to decide what type of flooring is best for your home and budget.

Hardwood and vinyl flooring are two of the options available to you. While vinyl flooring is the clear winner in terms of price, hardwood is a much better investment in all areas including durability and quality.

Keep reading to learn about the differences between hardwood and vinyl flooring.

Flooring Cost


For many people, cost is the most important consideration. A square foot of vinyl flooring starts at around $2 to $3 per square foot and is the cheapest flooring option currently available. Depending on the quality, this amount can go up, but it does stay low compared to other options.

Hardwood flooring is more expensive. It starts at around $4.50 per square foot and fluctuates depending on the type of wood and brand you choose. Hardwood can even surpass $25 per square foot for higher quality materials.

With hardwood, you will also have to consider stain and lacquer costs on top of the cost of the flooring itself. Vinyl flooring does not have any extra materials other than the adhesive needed to stick it to the floor.

Flooring Installation


Whether you choose hardwood or vinyl flooring, the installation process will be very similar.

Most hardwood flooring comes in pre-cut pieces with tongue-and-groove planks. After ensuring that the plywood or cement subfloor is even, your general contractor will use a combination of glue and nails to install the boards.

Vinyl flooring can be installed over a plywood or cement subfloor, but it can also be installed over existing floor tile. In some cases, vinyl flooring does not require nails or glue. Instead, the floor “floats.” In other cases, the vinyl flooring requires adhesive.

Flooring Aesthetic


The aesthetics of hardwood flooring are phenomenal. Not only does natural wood look beautiful, but it is also easily changed if you switch up your decor. There are a plethora of options out there available for stain and wood paint colors, with more popping up constantly. 

Vinyl flooring has improved over the past few years. There is a wide spectrum of vinyl ranging from low to high quality. You may be pleasantly surprised by the vinyl options available today. It is hard to tell with some of them that they are vinyl at all!

Flooring Maintenance & Durability


Hardwood flooring is relatively easy to maintain. Dings can be buffed out and a new stain can be applied when it starts looking worn. This will give your flooring a whole new life! If any boards are broken, these can be switched out.

Vinyl flooring is incredibly durable and waterproof. Because of this, it is ideal for damp spaces like basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. With vinyl plank flooring, the individual planks can easily be replaced if they start to show signs of wear and tear.

For both types of flooring, it is recommended that you buy a bit of extra material when doing your project. This way, you have extra pieces already set aside for when repairs are needed.

Flooring Lifespan


The lifespan of vinyl flooring is tricky. It can last anywhere from 2 to 25 years. This large range is due to the fact that it heavily depends on both the quality of the floor you’ve installed as well as how well you take care of it after installation.

Hardwood floors last considerably longer. There are so many posts on social media of people who buy 100-year-old homes, tear up the vinyl or carpet, and find gorgeous hardwood underneath. A buff, stain, and lacquer later and they have a stunning new floor that they did not even have to buy!

Choosing Between Hardwood & Vinyl Flooring


If you are struggling to decide between hardwood and vinyl flooring, remember there is no “right” choice. When installed by a licensed general contractor, either material can make a space more beautiful and functional. 

However, as a general rule, hardwood flooring is best for:

  • Dry spaces like living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. Exposure to moisture in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements can cause lasting damage.
  • Homeowners who don’t mind maintenance. Though hardwood flooring is very durable, it still needs to be refinished every ten years.
  • Individuals who are sensitive to allergens. Hardwood floors don’t collect dust like carpet. They also don’t release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like some cheaper types of vinyl.

Comparatively, vinyl flooring is best for:

  • Damp spaces like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Vinyl is water-resistant, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. However, many people choose to install vinyl in every room of their homes. 
  • Homeowners who want a budget-friendly material. Vinyl flooring is very economical, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing. Manufacturers now produce vinyl in all types of colors and patterns, many of which look convincingly like wood or tile. 
  • Families with children and animals. Unlike hardwood, which can scratch, vinyl is incredibly durable. It stands up to children scooting chairs across the floor and dropping heavy toys. It also stands up to the wear and tear caused by animals’ nails.

Choose Portico for Expert Flooring Installation


Whether it’s a friend or the internet, anyone can tell you what you should do when it comes to flooring, but what truly matters is what
you think is best. 

Carefully weigh your options before making a choice. If you’re not sure which flooring option is best for you, talk with a general contractor. The general contractors at Portico help clients find a flooring material that matches both their budget and style, drawing from an extensive knowledge of the vinyl and wood options out there.

Ready to get started on your flooring project? Contact Portico online or give us a call at 704-742-2720 today!

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