Thanks to recent developments in manufacturing and printing technology, hardwood isn’t the only option on the market if you want the look of hardwood in your home. Luxury vinyl is now a popular alternative to hardwood. Designed to mimic the look of real wood, it has come a long way in recent years. Now it can be hard to tell the difference between real hardwood flooring and luxury vinyl.
There are beneficial aspects of luxury vinyl flooring that natural hardwood floors do not provide. There are also characteristics of hardwood that no manufacturer can fully duplicate. To help you understand the differences and decide which product is best suited for your home, we are comparing the two on our blog today.
Durability & Life Cycle
Hardwood floors can last for generations if properly maintained and cared for. The type of wood species determines how durable your flooring is. Some species are extremely hard and will resist more damage than others. There are also different treatments can be used to reinforce the strength of hardwood floors. The amazing thing about hardwood is that if it does happen to get damaged, it can be repaired or refinished and made to look like new again.
Luxury vinyl has an invisible “wear layer” that protects the surface of the vinyl. The thickness of the wear layer determines the durability of the floors. Manufacturers typically warranty luxury vinyl flooring for 10-20 years.
Moisture & Water Damage
Wood floors are very susceptible to moisture whether it is humidity or liquid. Wood is a naturally absorbent material and will soak up liquids that it comes into contact with. If that liquid is coloured it can leave a permanent stain. Water itself can cause mildew, mold or other microorganisms to grow in your hardwood. However, regularly sealing your floor will help stop moisture from penetrating the your floors. However, it will not completely guard your floors from floods, common spills or high levels of humidity. For this reason, hardwood is not suitable for below grade installations, bathrooms and mudrooms.
Made from synthetic material this product is waterproof and will not be damaged from moisture or humidity. This makes it perfect for below grade installations and bathrooms.
Not all wood is alike. The species of the wood, the grade, cut, colour and finish treatment all determine what your floor will look like. Considering these factors and the different types of wood available, there can be substantial differences in price when you are shopping for hardwood.
As mentioned, printing technology has advanced so much that the look of virtually any type of flooring or wood species can be replicated. Luxury vinyl also offers the option of being installed with padding underneath. This gives the look and beauty of hardwood with added comfort. It also acts as an insulator, making your home more energy efficient.
The cost of hardwood all comes down to the species of wood chosen. The less expensive options will be less durable and generally less desirable. Hardwood floors typically start at $6 per square foot and can cost as much $25 per square foot, plus installation.
For a decent quality product you are looking to pay between $2 to $5 per square foot. Market demand sets prices to an extent. However, there is not as large of a gap between lower and higher end products like there is with hardwood. Textures, prints and some designs can raise the cost of luxury vinyl flooring.
Hardwood floors are a made of a 100% natural material— trees. Although, trees are a naturally renewable resource, do some research to make sure you are buying from an environmentally responsible manufacturer. Not only will hardwood last for generations if properly cared for and maintained, it can also be recycled. It is biodegradable and it will break down at the end of its life cycle.
Unfortunately, luxury vinyl is a synthetic material and it’s manufactured from petroleum— a non-renewable resource. The process of manufacturing luxury vinyl requires a considerable amount of energy and it also produces toxic byproducts
The Right Flooring For Your Home
Whether you’ve decided you want hardwood or luxury vinyl floors, Nufloors has a huge selection for you to choose from. To see your options, stop by the showroom at the Nufloors location nearest you and speak to a flooring expert.