When you’re choosing a new floor for your kitchen or bath remodel, there are many options available to fit your style and functionality needs. It’s important to choose a surface that not only looks good, but that can also stand up to the demands of these busy spaces, from splatters and spills to pets and foot traffic.
Hardwood floors are a classic choice for homes that never go out of style but are not suited to most bathroom designs and may not fit your lifestyle in your kitchen design. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) offer an alternative to hardwood that is more able to withstand the moisture and traffic of a busy home. Even better, LVT and LVP are getting better at mimicking both wood and tiles so they can give you the look of their natural counterparts in a more durable surface.
There are differences in durability, sustainability, and cost, so your decision on which flooring is right for you must be based on several factors. The two flooring materials can work well together, for example hardwood in your living room with LVP in the kitchen, or you could decide on just one to give your first-floor home remodel a fluid look and feel.
It’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of these surfaces before you invest in either flooring option. Do you want an elegant looking natural surface and are willing to commit to higher maintenance? Is underfloor heating a necessity in your home? Will there be a lot of water in the area you’re flooring? Do you have pets or children? Whether it’s a high traffic or sedate space, there is a flooring material suited to your personal taste and lifestyle requirements.
Let’s examine the differences between LVT/LVP and hardwood flooring.
What Are the Overall Advantages of a Hardwood Floor?
Natural hardwood flooring is a timeless material that brings character and warmth to a design. It lasts a lifetime with proper installation and maintenance. It can be laid in plank, parquet, or chevron formation and current trends veer toward long and wide planks.
This fast-growing industry has more eco-friendly versions being produced all the time. Tiles can usually be clicked or glued into place. LVT won’t scratch, scuff or dent. It can be embossed to look and feel like wood or stone with any design printed on it but is more comfortable underfoot due to its soft texture. It is manufactured as tiles or planks with built-in stain guard and scratch protector. LVT is waterproof and compatible with underfloor heating. It can be easily cleaned with antibacterial products as it won’t absorb the liquid.
What else do you need to consider when comparing hardwood and luxury vinyl? Style, maintenance, durability, and cost are all key factors that will influence your choice of flooring material.
Consider Your Style and Aesthetics
The style of your kitchen or bath remodel will top your list of requirements when choosing a flooring material. You might want it to be a focal point or to complement cabinet or wall colors. Hardwood flooring has long been a staple in interior design, but LVT/LVP advancements mean it’s nearly on a par for appearance compared to hardwood floors. There are a few key points to consider:
- Hardwood planks are usually longer than LVT planks.
- Both have realistic knots and grains but LVT’s surface is printed so you can repeat a pattern giving it a more unified look.
- Traditional patterns such as parquet add elegance to kitchen designs and hallways.
- Using different shades and distressed timber gives you an updated style to suit your budget.
- Pale wood is particularly on trend but is lower maintenance in a luxury vinyl than natural hardwood.
- If you love the look of wood but are worried about its reliability, durability, and maintenance in a busy, high traffic part of your home, you could replicate your living room hardwood floor with LVP in the kitchen, for example, for continuity throughout your home.
- Besides authentic wood looks, luxury vinyl also comes in natural mineral and man-made material designs. You could have a rustic stone or raw slate in LVT to complement a hardwood flooring section of your home design.
How Much Maintenance is Involved?
Hardwood flooring is not water resistant so any spills or splashes should be cleaned up immediately. If you want your floor to have a shiny appearance, then it needs to be waxed regularly. Furniture and pet claws can leave scratches on wooden floors and general wear and tear results in dents and marks. If this kind of character doesn’t bother you then wooden floors could fit your needs. Otherwise, plan to sand and resurface your wood floors regularly to maintain their appearance over time.
LVT is stain and water resistant and can be easily swept or vacuumed to remove dirt. It’s also no problem to mop a vinyl floor clean as they are protected by their polyurethane top layer. Overall, wooden floors need more maintenance but last longer since they can be sanded and refinished over and over. LVT and LVP flooring might not have as much longevity, but their daily upkeep is minimal. The choice is yours.
How Durable Are Hardwood and LVT Flooring?
Durability is a key factor when choosing what floor to install, especially if it’s a busy family home. A hardwood floor may look beautiful but is it going to be easily damaged? Apart from surface damage, climate and surroundings can affect your flooring material. Wooden floorboards can swell and warp due to heat or water damage. This is something to consider if you’re looking at hardwood for a kitchen or bath design. Lighter wood can be stained also, which might happen in a cooking area. Luxury vinyl, as a synthetic material, is highly resistant to climate fluctuations, dirt, scratches, and water. This is good news for a high traffic area. LVT with a stone polymer core is stronger than any with wood polymer, but the latter is slightly more comfortable to walk on.
Both LVT and hardwood are equally durable and stable. Hardwood planks are generally reinforced with a coating in the factory. Engineered hardwood will need no other surface treatments as this protective layer should be enough and could be compromised with interference. It’s also a stable option as it’s quite thick and heavy so can hold its shape. LVT has been processed and heat treated so its many layers allow it to hold its shape well in a high traffic environment. Manufacturers run tests on their flooring products to ensure that they are as durable as possible before they’re installed in a kitchen or bath design.
Which is More Environmentally Friendly?
The LVT flooring you choose should be sustainably produced. Ensure that the product is comprised of materials that have been recycled. There are LVT floors which include PVC made of salt, which is available in abundance and therefore sustainable.
Hardwood is a natural product, but is procured from forests, so does that make it eco-friendly? Many flooring manufacturers are ensuring that their industry does not result in deforestation. Wood is often harvested from tree farms that employ a plant-harvest cycle to maintain growth and production. Engineered hardwood uses wood by-products in its sub layers, meaning all the tree is used.
Where Are the Best Places to Install LVT and Hardwood Floors?
Luxury vinyl tiles and planks are suitable for anywhere in the home and in some light traffic commercial settings where you are looking for a stylish and durable flooring option. Hardwood is a classic and stylish choice for any area with low moisture levels and therefore not suitable to bathroom designs. Carefully consider your family and lifestyle when choosing hardwood for a kitchen design or look at finding a LVT/LVP alternative for your kitchen instead.
Are Luxury Vinyl and Hardwood Floors Expensive?
Both hardwood and LVT are long term investments that come with a hefty price tag. They are high-end products that can transform your kitchen or bath remodel. In a direct comparison, hardwood flooring is slightly more expensive than luxury vinyl flooring. This is because there are many stages involved in producing hardwood over multiple locations. The wood must be harvested and then milled and lastly, finished, while LVT goes through its manufacturing process in the same place.
Hardwood floors are also more expensive to install as they need to be acclimatized and then nailed or glued down. LVT can just click together if desired. It is advisable to invest more in higher-end LVT flooring as the more expensive the product, the better the appearance, durability, and the fewer Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are released. The floor should also be prepped until it’s flawless to avoid any imperfections affecting the vinyl floor covering. If your home remodel necessitates doing this, in addition to investing in high-end vinyl floor tiles, it could work out just as expensive as some types of hardwood flooring.
To choose the correct flooring for your kitchen or bath design, you need to assess your lifestyle, budget, and style requirements. What kind of look do you want to achieve? Are you happy with the maintenance involved in hardwood flooring? Would LVT mimic the wood flooring you have in the rest of your home well enough or are you better off investing in the real thing? Contact us at Guthrie Kitchen & Bath Plus LLC and Guthrie Flooring and speak to a design expert who can take you through all options. Visit our full service design and remodeling showroom serving Pleasant View and the surrounding area so you can see these materials for yourself and decide what would work in your stylish remodel.