The Difference Between Hardwood and Vinyl

The Difference Between Hardwood and Vinyl

Hardwood and vinyl flooring are two options available to homes today. Hardwood flooring can be solid or engineered, with multiple layers of plywood beneath a hardwood veneer. The most frequent hardwoods utilized are maple and oak. Vinyl flooring is made out of a single layer of patterned and dyed material that is laid over a rubberized plastic backing. It's commonly made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin, a petroleum-derived synthetic material.

The Major Differences between Hardwood and Vinyl

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which Is Better? - PureWow

Photo: Wayfair


Hardwood is a natural material obtained through the harvesting of trees in wooded areas. Vinyl is a synthetic product created from petroleum. Vinyl wood flooring is made up of vinyl which has been printed with the same colours and patterns as actual hardwood. Vinyl materials may now closely replicate the look of a range of wood species thanks to recent developments in printing technology.

Hardwood Flooring

All wood is not created equal, and a variety of factors will influence the final appearance of your floor. This includes the wood species, cut, grade, and any colour or finish treatments you decide to apply. The price difference between several types of wood might be significant.

Vinyl Flooring

The appearance of vinyl hardwood flooring is merely a printed representation of the real thing. As a result, the appearance of nearly any wood species can be produced. While market demand will influence pricing to some extent, the price difference between typical and rare wood species will not be significant. Vinyl also allows you to add padding to the underside of the floor. This provides you the appearance of hardwood while still providing the gentle comfort of a more flexible yielding floor. It can also aid in the insulation and energy efficiency of the space.

To see more of their look, click here to watch this video.

How Do Hardwood and Vinyl Look Like?

Hardwood floors are more appealing to the eye. Because they are made of genuine wood, the natural colours and grains are visible. Depending on the trees selected, the colour varies from neutrals to crimson hues. Wood gives warmth to a room both visually and practically, as it is an excellent insulator.

Modern vinyl planks include an exterior layer that is coloured and textured to seem like many different hardwood species, including the most expensive ones. Only a detailed examination will reveal the difference between hardwood and vinyl once professionally placed. Due to a layer of rubberized backing, vinyl is softer and more noise-absorbent than wood.

Are Hardwood and Vinyl Flooring Water Resistant?

water resistant floor

Photo: Builddirect

Vinyl flooring has protection against water or humidity infiltration and damage. Low-quality adhesives may break away in damp situations, causing tile curling, but water will not damage the material itself. As a result, it can be applied in bathrooms as well as basements below grade.

Hardwood Floor has a naturally absorbent substance that will absorb liquid when they come into touch with it. If the water has a colour, the wood may become permanently stained. Sealing the floor will benefit, but it will not protect it from floods, regular spills, or high humidity. As a result, hardwood isn't recommended for below-grade installations, most bathrooms, and some kitchen settings. Hardwood floors are somewhat water resistant, but it is best to clean spills quickly and avoid high moisture environments. 

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How Are Hardwood and Vinyl Maintained?

Vinyl requires the least amount of upkeep. It should be mopped and swept on a regular basis with the appropriate cleaners. The vinyl floor could also be vacuumed. Homeowners can use runners or rugs in high-traffic areas to prevent wear. Vinyl that has been damaged can only be replaced.

To avoid scratches from minor dirt particles, hardwood floors (and engineered hardwood floors) should be cleaned or dusted often. To prevent water from damaging the wood, the homeowner should use hardwood-specific treatments. Wood flooring will need to be well maintained, possibly refinished every 10 years or so.

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How Durable Are Hardwood and Vinyl when Installed?

It feels very solid under foot, and if you are replacing a thicker floor on a renovation, this thickness easily matches up with your previous set up of thresholds, door jams, mouldings, etc. Biyork reputation for having extremely low claim rate, after selling millions and millions of square feet in Canada, speaks to quality, performance and durability of these floors. They aren't just stunning to look at, they will wow you with their performance.

Hardwood flooring has a longer life expectancy, but they require a bit more special care. Vinyl is more durable in everyday usage, yet it is subject to cuts and scratches. Hardwood flooring can be damaged by dirt, dust particles, shoes, and pet claws. Hardwood may be restored to look almost fresh for decades after being damaged. The coloured layer of vinyl must be changed once it has been damaged or worn through.

Water-resistance is the most significant difference in durability. Hardwood flooring should not be utilized in kitchens, bathrooms, or basements because they are susceptible to water damage. Engineered hardwood is more stable than solid hardwood, so can be installed below grade. Vinyl, on the other hand, is resilient to water damage, making it ideal for usage in the home. A skilled DIYer with access to the required materials and equipment can install both vinyl and hardwood flooring. Vinyl flooring is simpler to set up. Professional installation, on the other hand, will almost always yield the best outcomes.

Click-and-lock installation is also used with vinyl planks. A utility knife can also be used to cut vinyl flooring boards. A score mark is made initially, followed by the plank being bent back on it and another cut from the back. Sheet vinyl is a tough material to install for DIYers. The material is bulky, heavy, and difficult to handle. Furthermore, cutting intricate cutouts from sheet goods can be difficult. When it comes to sheet vinyl, professional installation is frequently the best option.

How Long Can Hardwood and Vinyl Last?

Hardwood flooring can survive for decades (maybe a century!) if properly cleaned and cared for. The material can be exceedingly durable and resistant to damage depending on what type of wood, and treatments can be employed to enhance the natural toughness of hardwood. If the floor is broken, it can usually be restored or refinished depending on the severity, bringing the material back to life and making it look better.

As a result, the thickness of the protective layer on the material determines its longevity. Colours in solid vinyl are accurate throughout the material's depth, although the top can be damaged or degraded with time. Manufacturer warranties typically cover this material for a period of 10 to 20 years.

How Are Hardwood and Vinyl Environmentally Friendly?

Biyork Nouveau 6 Collection Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is a sustainable material because it is comprised of natural wood. It is less harmful to the environment. Look for Forest Stewardship Council certification to see how a particular wood species affects the environment. When hardwood floors are removed, they can be recycled.

Vinyl may be less environmentally friendly because it is primarily made of PVC resin. There are concerns regarding the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from PVC goods, such as vinyl flooring. The Resilient Floor Covering Institute created the Floorscore® IAQ certification (Indoor Air Quality) to rate these VOC emissions. As manufacturing improves many vinyl options are more and more environmentally friendly. Some versions are now made without any PVC, so if this is a concern, please speak with your flooring professional as options are emerging.

There is no flooring that is always superior or worse than the others. Vinyl flooring is ideal for mudrooms, laundry rooms, and wet bathrooms. If you're replacing the flooring in those rooms, you'll generally want to go for vinyl because of its water resistance. Despite that most hardwood flooring is more costly than vinyl flooring, as the saying goes, you get what you spend for––timeless beauty, a potential rise in your home's selling value, and long-lasting flooring.


Other flooring blog articles you may want to read:

You Deserve Biyork Floors

White Oak: The Obvious Front-runner When It Comes to BC's Most Popular Flooring

Launching Wickham Hardwood Floors: Made in Canada

Shaw Floorte Waterproof Hardwood Flooring Introduced