Hardwood floors offer a more attractive appearance. Since they are made from solid woods, they show the natural tones and grains. The colors range from neutrals to reddish hues depending on the trees used. Wood adds warmth to a room in design and reality since it is also a good insulator.
Modern vinyl planks are dyed and textured on the outer layer to mimic many different hardwood species, even the most expensive varieties. Once professionally installed, only a close examination will show the difference between vinyl and hardwood.
Vinyl has a softer, more sound absorbent quality than wood due to a layer of rubberized backing. One drawback of natural wood is that it is loud.
Vinyl has the least complicated maintenance needs. It should be regularly swept and mopped with recommended cleansers. Vinyl floors can also be vacuumed with the brush feature disengaged. In order to avoid wear in heavy traffic areas, homeowners can use area rugs or runners. Damaged vinyl cannot be repaired only replaced.
Hardwood floors should be swept or dusted often to avoid scratches from small dirt particles. The homeowner should use products specifically designed for wood to prevent moisture from damaging the wood. About every ten years, wood floors will need to be refinished and, if necessary, repaired.
Since hardwood flooring is made from natural wood, it is a renewable resource. It has a lower environmental impact. To check a particular wood variety’s impact on the environment, look for certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.
Vinyl 1 is not as environmentally friendly since it is made largely from PVC resin. Concerns exist about emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from PVC products including vinyl flooring. Floorscore® IAQ certification (Indoor Air Quality) was developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute and rates these VOC emissions.
Hardwood floors can be recycled when removed, but vinyl flooring made of PVC cannot.
Hardwood floors have a longer lifespan, but they must be carefully maintained. In terms of day-to-day use, vinyl is more durable although it is susceptible to cuts and scratches. Dust, dirt particles, high heels, and pet claws can damage hardwood floors.
When damaged, hardwood can be refinished and look almost new for generations. Once the dyed layer of vinyl is scratched or worn through, it must be replaced.
The biggest difference in durability is moisture resistance. Hardwood floors are prone to moisture damage, so they should not be used in kitchens, bathrooms, or basements. However, vinyl is impervious to moisture damage, making it useful throughout the home.