Our Flooring Expert On The Better Investment: Luxury Vinyl Plank Or Engineered Hardwood?

When the time comes to ditch the worn carpet or damaged linoleum in your home, a trip to the home improvement store will reveal quite a few questions and several choices to make. A variety of materials can be versatile enough for any room of the home, and newer products are more durable, longer lasting, and more affordable than ever. Two common options are luxury vinyl plank and engineered hardwood. Which is the best flooring option for your home?

Luxury vinyl plank flooring has six or more layers of material build up to create one solid plank of material. These products can reduce bacteria growth, are easy to clean, and may be waterproof. By comparison, engineered hardwood floors, which are a fraction of the cost of traditional hardwood, are 100% natural wood on top, with five or more layers of plywood pressed together to create a durable surface. Which is better? Maud Swalens, the senior marketing manager at COREtec, filled us in on which product is the best investment in an exclusive interview with House Digest. She states, "Luxury vinyl planks and tiles offer many benefits over traditional hardwood floors, with the most notable being durability, comfort, easy cleaning and simple DIY-friendly installation."

Consider her company's product. "In fact, COREtec invested in the original waterproof, kidproof, petproof luxury vinyl floor as a solution to many of the challenges both homeowners and our industry were experiencing with other hard surface flooring options, like hardwood, laminate, or tile and stone," she notes.

Why luxury vinyl flooring is the better option

When you have a child who splashes water outside the tub or a pet that may be more prone to accidents, it's critical to consider what type of flooring is best for your home. Maud Sawlens offers some explanation in her exclusive interview with House Digest on why luxury plank flooring really does stand out from the other products on the market. "COREtec luxury vinyl floors are truly waterproof, giving homeowners better peace of mind and more time to clean up spills and pet accidents, whereas engineered hardwood and laminate floors are only water-resistant at best."

Water resistance can be beneficial in some situations, but when there's the risk of water spills or significant damage, like in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room, waterproof floors are best. Sawlens continues, "When exposed to liquids and moisture over time, hardwood and laminate floors can swell, cup, or crack -– and this damage is irreversible."

There's little doubt that a warped, pealing, or even splintering wood floor isn't going to be a safe place for your family. More so, in areas like the basement, where moisture could be an ongoing problem, that's a real concern over time. "While hardwood floors are beautiful and offer a highly desired aesthetic, luxury vinyl floors are more durable and offer limited lifetime warranties to protect your home investment. Plus, the waterproof design makes cleanup a cinch!" notes Swalens.

What other benefits do luxury vinyl plank floors bring into the home?

Waterproof flooring is fantastic and a nice benefit, but when you're considering other features and functions you need from your floors, does luxury vinyl flooring stand up? In her exclusive interview with House Digest, Maud Sawlens makes it clear there are many more benefits. "COREtec floors were also designed to address consumers' top performance concerns, with select styles offering deep scratch resistance, increased production from dents and impacts, or elevated comfort and quiet. New innovations, like our pre-attached Soft Step underlayment made from recycled materials, focus on increasing comfort in the home with a floor that's 70% quieter and 46% warmer than other luxury vinyl options."

Without a doubt, quiet and comfort matter. "This popular new introduction was a direct response to post-COVID consumer desires for floors that meet their evolving needs and accommodate the many activities now taking place in the home," she explains.

But what about the way they look, feel, and function from an esthetic point-of-view? Not to worry, Swalen says, "While hardwood floors offer a timeless visual, their traditional design doesn't easily adapt to shifting consumer preference..." Luxury vinyl planks, she notes, are constantly innovating. "Modern printing and texturing techniques allow for hyper-realistic visuals that often cannot be distinguished from real hardwood. And this beauty comes at a fraction of the price with significantly less time spent cleaning and stressing over life's inevitable messes."

Luxury vinyl is also a financially savvy decision

In her exclusive interview with House Digest, Maud Swalens also shares, "COREtec floors are easy to install, saving both time and money and minimizing in-home disruption since floors can be purchased, installed, and lived on in the same day." While having contractors in your home to cut and piece together hardwoods is going to take much longer, luxury vinyl is far easier to install.

Though it may be better to hire a pro to install hardwood flooring, the application of vinyl luxury floors could offer some ability for homeowners to do the job themselves. Swalens states, "COREtec luxury vinyl planks easily click together, requiring no adhesive and minimal subfloor prep thanks to their rigid construction designed to hide most subfloor imperfections..." If you already have a hardwood floor in place, skip sanding and refinishing it. Instead, you may want to just put new flooring over the top of the existing floor — just be sure to avoid the common mistakes. "COREtec floors can even be installed over existing hard surfaces, so say goodbye to messy and costly demos!" explains Swalens.

For those unsure about the options in luxury vinyl flooring, COREtec is one of several manufacturers offering a huge range of products designed to accommodate just about every space and every functional need. It's certainly worth comparing a few products before making your buying decision.