New flooring options seem to appear yearly, and the proliferation of possibilities can be a little dizzying. Here we’ll examine plank vinyl vs. engineered hardwood; what to choose may depend on your budget, your style and color preferences, and the average level of humidity in your home.
Plank vinyl is a synthetic product. Advances in technology now make vinyl planks that look very much like hardwood possible. Vinyl plank flooring comes in a few different types: luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or engineered vinyl planks (EVP). Both types of plank vinyl are waterproof, easy to clean, and scratch resistant.
You can affix luxury vinyl planks directly to the floor (glued down or peel-and-stick). Newer floating versions have become available to address the flaws of concrete floors showing through. LVP is inexpensive, thin, and flexible. It can go over uneven or wavy floors, unlike more rigid types of flooring. The glued-down and self-stick versions are hard to remove, so homeowners should consider whether they expect to change the floor again in the future.
Engineered vinyl planks are much thicker than LVP and are made in layers. Typically, EVP will have a structural backing layer. The internal layers include a rigid stone or plastic core that adds stability and hides imperfections in the subfloor. Then, there’s a vinyl core layer for waterproofing and a décor layer that may have a 3D-printed image that looks like real hardwood. A clear, protective layer covers the image. EVP simulates the feel of walking on hardwood. It’s not completely impervious to damage: heavy furniture can dent it, and it can tear.
This flooring is made entirely of wood glued together in layers. The top and bottom layers are usually entirely natural hardwood. The core is made up of crosshatched plywood layers. The crisscrossing in the core reduces the risk of warping or expanding in humid conditions or contracting and separating in cold weather.
Because the top layer is real hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring is susceptible to scratching. It’s also more expensive and a bit more difficult to care for. Although it may resist warping, engineered hardwood is still wood, and water damages it. Families with small children or pets may decide that engineered plank vinyl is better than engineered hardwood, as damaged EVP pieces can be replaced.
Devotees of the look and feel of real wood will choose solid or engineered hardwood. These wood floors require a lot of upkeep, including periodic sanding and refinishing, but many homeowners wouldn’t have it any other way.
When choosing between plank vinyl and engineered hardwood, consider your personal style and the flooring’s durability, price, ease of installation, and sustainability. Gannage Construction is a home remodeling company in Paso Robles, California. We can help people in our service area make a flooring choice that’s right for them.