In the not too distant past, waterproof vinyl flooring was a fad. Cheap and easy to install, it was the preferred flooring for rental homes or quick fixes. Not anymore. Today, advances in vinyl flooring have made the option durable, affordable, and 100 percent waterproof. However, critics assert that vinyl can’t match the aesthetic or feel of natural wood flooring. Both come with pros and cons that touch on your personal preference, budget, and other factors. If you’re weighing these two types of floors, here are some considerations to guide you to the ideal choice.
Hardwood isn’t as versatile as waterproof vinyl flooring, coming only in planks. These planks come in different lengths, colors, and types of wood to match your tastes and existing decor, but wood flooring doesn’t have nearly the same amount of options as vinyl flooring.
Waterproof vinyl flooring comes in sheets, tiles, and planks while also coming in a wide array of colors and styles. Easy to match and even easier to install, vinyl flooring’s versatility wins out.
If you’re on a budget, nothing beats waterproof vinyl flooring. Sheet vinyl is the least expensive, priced for as little as $0.50 per square foot, while planks and tiles cost around $3 a square foot. With installation, you’ll often pay around $5 to $6 for each square foot.
Hardwood is a more elegant option in the mind of many homeowners. Manufacturing wood planks is also far more labor intensive. Together, these two factors increase the price, but not as much as you might think. Depending on the rarity of the wood, expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 per square foot, plus another $3 to $5 per square foot for installation.
Durability and Room Considerations
The type of room has a substantial impact on which flooring you use. In general, wood floors are more durable when properly maintained. When refinished regularly, they can last 100 years without decay or replacement. However, wood is particularly susceptible to moisture. Use in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements is ill-advised, so make sure to put this flooring only in places free of water. Because hardwood flooring is easily scratched, care should be taken to keep pets away.
Vinyl flooring isn’t as durable as hardwood, succumbing to cuts, scrapes, and gouges. However, vinyl is more durable on a daily basis. Impervious to water damage and easy to clean, it only needs replacement once it’s worn out, which gives you 10 to 20 years of loyal service.
Ease of Installation
Vinyl flooring is far easier to install, especially from a DIYer perspective. The floor doesn’t have to be level and the vinyl can be installed over any type of surface. Hardwood requires a more thorough approach. Although you can install hardwood on any surface, it doesn’t bend to meet the contours of the flooring. Therefore, you have to level the floor before installation. In addition, you must leave gaps around the edge of the flooring to allow for expansion and contraction from weather and moisture.
There’s no right or wrong choice when choosing between wood floors or waterproof vinyl flooring. Once you’ve put together a budget and checked out all the options, you’re sure to be happy with the results either way.