For most homeowners, flooring in kitchens and baths comes down to two types of flooring materials – wood flooring and engineered vinyl (EVP and LVP) flooring. It’s a difficult choice that comes down to budget and preferences since each type of flooring has its own set of characteristics, advantages, and limitations.
Below we discuss the advantage of each flooring product and compare them on several aspects with the goal of helping you make a sound decision when selecting flooring for your remodel. If you live in or near Charlotte, the Complete Kitchen and Bath Design Studio offers everything you’ll need for your project including stone and engineered countertops, cabinetry for both kitchens and baths, flooring, backsplash, hardware as well as design and installation. We have designers on staff to help you and hundreds of sample for you to browse through.
Wood floors are made from species of solid hardwood, both domestic and exotic. Each specie has different characteristics, undertone and hardness. From traditional to contemporary, wood floors are versatile and can fit any style of home. Planks come in different sizes and finish and can be stained or left natural with a clear finish.
Since wood floors are made from a natural product, each wood plank has its own unique grain pattern and undertones giving wood floors character and authenticity. When asked, most homeowners find that wood floors offer a natural and warm look to a space. Overtime, hardwood floors will develop a patina making the flooring even more original and attractive.
Different species of wood have different hardness. They are ranked by hardness using the Janka scale. The highest the wood specie hardness, the more resistant to normal wear and tear and scratches the flooring will be. But keep in mind that hardness also affects cost. In general, solid wood floors are more prone to scratching and fading than LVP and EVP. Wood floors also don’t fare well in humid environment and rooms where there is moisture. However, wood floors can be sanded multiple times through their lifetime, hence lengthening their durability.
In regards to installation, wood floors can be installed in one of several methods including nail down, glue down and floating. Because wood planks are fairly rigid, the subfloor need to be leveled and in good condition as well as moisture free.
Engineer Vinyl Flooring
The quality of engineered vinyl flooring in general has improved substantially over the past decade. Today, LVP and EVP are serious contenders to wood flooring. Engineered vinyl flooring is manufactured to look like like wood, stone or tile flooring, a task it achieves quite well. LVP and EVP are made of several layers including a PVC core, a printed vinyl layer which mimics the appearance of the desired material (wood, stone or tile), and a protective layer called the wear layer that protect the vinyl plank against scratches, fading and normal wear and tear.
The goal of engineered vinyl flooring is to look like “the real the thing” without the associated cost, maintenance and upkeep. Since there are several manufacturers of engineered vinyl flooring, including our own brand, there are many options available with a large variety of colors, patterns and textures.
Engineered vinyl flooring is quite durable and resistant to scratches, moisture and stains making it an ideal flooring product for the entire home, from the kitchen to the baths and even mud rooms. It is an excellent choice for high traffic areas and busy homes with kids and pets as the vinyl flooring cleans easily and can take lot of abuse without losing its look.
Engineered vinyl flooring is easy to install. It comes in planks (not sheets) and installed using a click and lock or glue down method. Many engineered vinyl flooring products are self leveling and can be installed right over existing floorings. Some engineered vinyl flooring products are equipped with an under layer for comfort and noise reducing properties. An underlayment can also be purchased separate to achieve the result.
Wood Flooring Vs Engineered Vinyl Flooring
Choosing what type of flooring to install for you remodeling project really depends on your preference, your lifestyle, your home decor and where the flooring will be installed. If your goal is keep the same flooring throughout the entire home including baths, kitchen and busy areas, engineered vinyl flooring is the best option to create uniformity throughout the entirety of your flooring without compromising the integrity of your flooring. You would you not use wood flooring in a bathroom because of the moisture content for example.
Water and moisture resistance and the type of subfloor you have are strong determining factors in deciding what type of flooring to purchase and install. Engineered vinyl flooring is more resistant to water and moisture compared to solid wood flooring. It can be installed in areas like bathrooms and basements where solid wood might not be recommended.
If you are busy and don’t much time to maintain, care for and clean your floors, engineered vinyl flooring is better option. They require virtually no maintenance, are easy to clean and won’t stain from spills. Wood floors will eventually require refinishing. It is both a negative and a positive. A negative because of the cost and the added maintenance, but a positive in the sense that the refinishing process will renew your flooring and extend their life.
In regards to aesthetics, wood floors are still the clear winner. Even though engineered vinyl flooring can be made to look exactly like hardwood floors, they are not unique and may contain some repetitive patterns. While they will keep looking new for many years, the won’t develop that patina you get with hardwood floors that makes the place feel warm and cozy.
If you live in or near Charlotte and are planning a remodel at your home, we would love to hear from you. We sell and install both wood floors and engineered vinyl flooring and can guide you in making the right decision for your flooring. We are conveniently located to Charlotte and our kitchen and bath showroom is open to the public Monday through Saturday. We are Charlotte’s kitchen and bath specialist with over 55,000 installations completed since the start of our operation. View some of our work.