The array of choices for flooring can floor you. Options are available to fit any budget or style. Here, we look at the pros and cons of three flooring options: engineered hardwood, tile and luxury vinyl plank (LVP).
Engineered hardwood Flooring
As you might have guessed by its name, engineered hardwood doesn’t come straight from a tree. Rather, it’s a flooring product made up of several layers. The outer layer consists of hardwood veneer; this is a thin slice of pretty much any type of wood. The inner layers are hardwood, fiberboard or plywood.
“The core layers make the product more stable than regular hardwood, while the outer veneer surface adds beauty and authenticity,” HomeAdvisor explains .
Pros of engineered hardwood.
- Similar appearance to traditional hardwood
- Extra stability for the floor
- Natural look and feel
- Lower cost than conventional hardwood
Cons of engineered hardwood:
- Higher cost than carpet, laminate or tile
- Susceptible to water damage and scratching
- Shorter lifespan than conventional hardwood
- Refinishing possible only once or twice
“Engineered wood flooring was once regarded as a pale imitation of solid hardwood, but improvements in the product quality have eliminated this perception,” according to The Spruce website.
Floor tile is made of ceramic or porcelain. Ceramic and porcelain tile are tough to tell apart, but the big difference is that porcelain is more water-resistant than ceramic. Porcelain tile also offers a wider variety of colors, finishes and patterns than ceramic tile, and is more durable. However, ceramic tile holds the edge when it comes to cost.
“Any real estate professional will tell you that tile flooring significantly increases a home’s resale value,” Realtor.com says. “The beauty and allure of tile flooring lasts a very long time when it is maintained properly. Much like hardwood, tile has a timeless appeal, especially when earth tones are used.”
Pros of tile:
- Water- and stain-resistant
- Simple maintenance
Cons of tile:
- Cold, hard surface
- Expensive install
Tile “may be the only flooring material that truly works in any room of the house,” The Spruce says.
Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Made of multiple layers of vinyl, luxury vinyl plank looks like hardwood or stone. Pieces of luxury vinyl plank are able to be locked together rather than being glued to a surface.
Luxury vinyl plank “is an inexpensive way to breathe new life into a room. It’s gorgeous, is extremely durable, is affordable, and it comes in an endless array of colors and patterns,” according to Architypes.net.
Pros of luxury vinyl plank:
- Costs less than hardwood or tile
- Easy to install and maintain
- Lasts longer than laminate or basic vinyl
Cons of luxury vinyl plank:
- Adds less to home value than hardwood
- Not as eye-catching as real wood
- Hard to replace damaged planks
“Vinyl plank flooring is offered in hundreds of colors and patterns from the major flooring manufacturers,” The Spruce says. “Interior designers and real estate professionals regard it as a superior flooring to sheet vinyl and laminate flooring … .”
How to choose your flooring
When you’re deciding on whether to install engineered hardwood, title or luxury vinyl plank, ask these questions:
- How much maintenance do I want to do? The best lower-maintenance option might be tile or luxury vinyl plank.
- How long do I plan to stay in this house? If you’re looking at selling your house within the next couple of years, you might consider a floor material that’s lower-cost. In terms of cost, luxury vinyl plank might be your best bet.
- How much labor do I want to put into flooring installation? Engineered hardwood or luxury vinyl plank are easier to install than tile.
- How durable is the flooring material? Take into account how much foot traffic there is in the kitchen or wherever else you install the flooring. Tile tends to be more durable than engineered hardwood or luxury vinyl plank.