Vinyl vs. Hardwood Flooring: Which Is Better?

Vinyl vs. Hardwood Flooring: Which Is Better?

Installing new floors in a residence is an effective and affordable way to make a massive transformation that can also help to increase home resale value.

When it comes to choosing the best flooring material, there are several options available, and the best one is always up for debate. In 2019, flooring sales reached over the $23 billion mark.

If you're curious about whether vinyl vs hardwood is the right option for you, read on to learn more about these flooring types to help you decide which one will suit your needs the best.

Vinyl vs Hardwood: The Installation Process

Most people are concerned about the complexities of installing new flooring, especially when they're planning to do things DIY. Both vinyl and hardwood floor materials are fairly easy to install as long as you have the right tools and subfloor in place.

Click vinyl or luxury vinyl planks are a bit easier to install than hardwood and they're also easier to cut, too. You can install vinyl directly over top a wood or concrete subfloor and in some cases, over existing tile.

Both hardwood and vinyl do require a smooth, even subfloor before installation can begin. Many new hardwood flooring products feature easy tongue-and-groove planks that help to reduce errors and limit the number of cuts you'll need to do. Make sure your subfloor is completely level, since the hardwood may bend or buckle over time.

What About the Cost?

Most vinyl, including luxury vinyl tile and planks, will cost you less per square foot than real hardwood floors. Glue-down vinyl is typically the most affordable, and in most cases, it all ranges between around $2 to $7 per square foot.

Keep in mind that many new vinyl products can be printed to mimic the look of almost any wood species, giving you an affordable alternative to actual wood floors. If you're still in the market for hardwood, remember that this flooring material varies greatly in price.

Wood floors can fluctuate based on the species, the brand, and current market conditions. When you factor in the cost of a professional installation, hardwood flooring can range from as little as $8 per square foot to $15 or even more. For example, high-end woods like teak or mahogany may end up costing you up to $25 per square foot or higher.

Water and Moisture Resistance

When looking at vinyl vs hardwood, always keep water resistance in mind, particularly if you plan to install the flooring in moist or humid areas. Vinyl flooring is waterproof which makes it a great option for every room including basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Hardwood flooring is durable, but it can become damaged if it's exposed to standing water or high levels of humidity. In time, the floors may warp, buckle, or become discolored if the issue is not addressed in time.

You should always seal your new hardwood floors to keep them protected. However, it's still best to avoid installing this material in kitchens, basements, and bathrooms. This makes vinyl a much more versatile choice if you're planning to install new flooring throughout the entire home.

Care and Maintenance

Regardless of the price or the installation process, it's important to choose a flooring material that is easy to care for and to keep clean. This is particularly important if you live in a busy household with kids or pets, or in rooms where there is a lot of foot traffic happening.

To keep vinyl floors clean, sweep and mop them regularly. Make sure you mop the floors with a bit of mild soap and some water or use a special cleaner recommended by the flooring manufacturer. When vacuuming vinyl, be sure to turn the beaters off to protect the floors from dents and dings.

Place heavy mats and area rugs on both your vinyl and hardwood floors to help them last longer and keep them protected. Vinyl can not be refinished once it's damaged, but hardwood can be sanded and refinished if you want to make them look new again.

You can repair vinyl flooring if you notice significant damage. In most cases, the damaged area can be cut and new sections can be installed for a seamless look.

Overall, hardwood flooring is more difficult to maintain since it requires regular sealing and can become discolored when it's exposed to direct sunlight. If it gets damaged, you might be able to use a repair kit to fill in scratches or re-sand and refinish specific areas.


Vinyl flooring is a synthetic material, while hardwood comes from natural sources. Make sure you choose a flooring material that contains no or low levels of VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds to keep the air in your home safe.

Depending on the manufacturer, many hardwood flooring products come from renewable forests and are harvested in a sustainable way. Look into the manufacturer more carefully before you choose your hardwood product just to be sure.

It's important to note that most hardwood sealants and lacquers do contain higher levels of VOCs if that's a concern. On the other hand, hardwood is biodegradable and recyclable, while vinyl flooring is not.

Find the Best Flooring Material for You

When it comes to vinyl vs hardwood, it depends on your budget, the level of moisture resistance you need, and your maintenance goals. Do your research to determine which material will be the safest, most beautiful, and the most cost-effective option for your home and lifestyle.

No matter what type of flooring you're looking for, we're here to help. Browse our online selection and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need help finding the right material for you.