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The Differences Between Vinyl and Hardwood Flooring

Updated 16/10/2023

Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between vinyl flooring and hardwood flooring. These types of flooring are very different from one another. For instance, vinyl flooring is made from manufactured materials, while hardwood flooring is made from natural materials. But there are even more differences!

What’s more, there are also instances when it’s possible to use both types of flooring. But how do you decide between these types of flooring or even using them together?

If you’re having this debate, then read on to learn about the differences between Vinyl and hardwood flooring! This article will help you decide between hardwood or vinyl flooring or whether it may be possible to use both!

 

Look & Style

Hardwood flooring has long been a popular choice in all styles of homes. That’s because hardwood goes with just about every type of décor. However, with the advances made in vinyl flooring, it’s possible to achieve similar looks and designs as hardwood floors. When choosing between these two types of flooring, it all comes down to the area’s use, as well as the look and style of the space.

Both vinyl and hardwood flooring provide many design options. However, there are some differences. For instance, hardwood flooring is natural and contains elements such as knots and grain patterns. In addition, hardwood floor planks are usually about 7 feet long, while vinyl planks are usually about 4 feet long.

What’s more, hardwood flooring is a natural material, while vinyl flooring has been digitally created. This means the vinyl flooring may offer more options when it comes to a repeatable pattern. In addition, hardwood flooring can come from specialty wood. They’re beautiful, but not all hardwood flooring comes from durable wood.

So, it’s essential to consider whether or not the area will be high traffic or used only rarely. In a high traffic area, such as an entryway, you may want to choose vinyl and then use hardwood throughout the rest of the room. It’s possible to match the vinyl and hardwood flooring for a seamless, beautiful look.

 

Durability & Stability

What do we mean by durability and stability? When it comes to durability, it means a flooring’s top layer should be durable, which means it can take more usage easily. Stability refers to the thickness of the layers that make up the flooring, as well as the quality of the materials used. Flooring that’s stable holds its shape and size even against moisture and climate changes.

When it comes to the differences between the durability and stability of vinyl vs. hardwood flooring, you’ll find both are equally durable. Wood is hard, which makes it both durable and stable. At the factory, wood flooring is treated with a coating that also works to protect its surface.

However, in high traffic areas, vinyl usually wins when it comes to flooring for areas that often get wet. This can include entryways, mudrooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and even kitchens. Vinyl flooring is more resistant to moisture and climate. Some vinyl floors are made with multi-directional base layers applied by the flat, hot press method. This treatment means the flooring has a “memory” that works to keep flooring straight and makes it more resistant to water and temperature changes. This process also makes vinyl flooring stand up to heavy use.

 

Environment & Impact

Hardwood floors are made from natural resources. While this may sound like it’s bad for the environment, it is possible to obtain flooring from manufacturers who only use sustainable sources of hardwood. Many manufacturers, for instance, work diligently to fight deforestation, while others use hardwood that comes from their own tree farms. In this instance, the trees are harvested in a cycle that involves planting new trees to replenish the resource.

But what about the manufacturing process of hardwood flooring? Here, again, many companies are using manufacturing methods that use all parts of the tree. What’s more, the plywood layer (under the top layer) is created from recycled wood scraps and leftover material.

When it comes to vinyl flooring, many people believe it’s also not sustainable due to the manufacturing process. However, it’s also possible to buy vinyl flooring from companies that use sustainable methods and specialised manufacturing processes to make their vinyl flooring products.

In addition, some vinyl floor manufacturers even use recycled materials to produce their products. And some flooring is made from synthetic PVC, which is mostly made of salt.

 

Applications

The good news is that hardwood and vinyl flooring can be used in a wide range of spaces. However, there are exceptions.

For instance, hardwood flooring should not be used in areas that have excessive moisture or temperature changes. It’s best not to use hardwood flooring in kitchens and bathrooms. These rooms are a better fit for vinyl flooring.

On the other hand, vinyl flooring is naturally moisture resistant and can be used in a broader range of spaces. This means vinyl flooring may be a good fit for not only kitchens and bathrooms but also for living areas, dining rooms, bedrooms, and more.

 

Cost

Cost is another area where it’s necessary to consider the right flooring for your space. Both hardwood and vinyl flooring are long-term investments for your home. And they each provide the versatility and durability for almost any space.

However, hardwood flooring is usually a little more expensive than vinyl flooring. This is because it’s a natural resource that requires a lot of processing. The wood must be harvested, milled, and finished. On the other hand, vinyl flooring can be made repeatedly in one location.

When it comes to maintenance, hardwood flooring and vinyl are about the same.

 

Summing It Up

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right flooring for your room or space. However, it comes down to the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve, how much wear and tear the space will get, as well as considerations about moisture and temperature changes.

For the most part, hardwood flooring can be used in almost any space that requires high durability and stability. However, it’s best to use vinyl in areas that receive high traffic, that have exposure to moisture and temperature changes.

When it comes right down to it, it’s even possible to use hardwood and vinyl together to achieve a cohesive look to your space!

See our flooring installation services and contact us today for a quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vinyl flooring a suitable choice for kitchens and bathrooms?
Yes, vinyl flooring is an excellent choice for these areas due to its moisture resistance.

Can hardwood flooring be installed in basements?
It’s not recommended, as basements are prone to moisture, which can damage hardwood.

Which flooring option is more eco-friendly?
Hardwood is more eco-friendly as it’s a natural material, while vinyl is synthetic.

How often does hardwood flooring need refinishing?
Hardwood floors typically need refinishing every 5-10 years, depending on wear and tear.

Can I install vinyl flooring over my existing floor?
In many cases, yes, as long as the existing floor is clean and level.

Do vinyl floors feel cold underfoot?
Vinyl can feel cooler than hardwood, but area rugs can provide warmth and comfort.

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