Buyer’s Guide: Luxury Vinyl vs Hardwood

Time to pick a floor for your room and you have your heart set on a hard surface. Hardwood floors have always appealed to you but the salesman at your local hardware store says luxury vinyl (commonly known as LVT or LVP) has really taken off in the flooring sector. Now you have a decision to make, what is the best option for me? To answer this we must explore your goals for this project and evaluate your lifestyle:

Common Objectives

  • Build my dream home to grow old in
  • Remodel my home for a potential sale within the next year
  • Investment property for renters
  • Refinish my basement to increase living space for a growing family
  • Selecting flooring for a vacation home or cabin

Most likely your objective will be a combination of several factors. You should figure out the most important object and write it down. This will help you focus on achieving this goal while looking for a floor. I’ll list the benefits of both hardwood and luxury vinyl to give a good overview of an average floor in each category. Please keep in mind there are specific styles and option in each category which will outperform the average floor within a certain category.

Hardwood Floors

  • Wood floors are perceived as a high-end luxury option in the floor covering industry
  • Best rated comfort of any hard surface with its ability to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer
  • Timeless beauty and style best for retaining the value of high-end homes
  • High lifetime value with its ability to be sanded and refinished up to 5 times
  • Increases home value when installed in the kitchen and adjacent open concept areas

Luxury Vinyl

  • Best durability in floor covering, excellent for busy families with pets and young children
  • Lowest maintenance of any hard surface with the ability to withstand extreme temperature ranges and fluctuations in humidity
  • Ease of installation is one thing to consider for DIYers, many vinyl floors are designed in click lock systems with an attached underlayment
  • Lower cost compared to hardwood, this makes it an ideal choice for investors looking to rent out properties

These outlined benefits should give you an idea of the right floor covering for your application. Let us go back and evaluate each objective and see which category we might choose now that we know the benefits of hardwood vs luxury vinyl.

The Verdict


Build my dream home to grow old in (Hardwood)

  • I selected hardwood because of the timeless beauty of real wood and the enjoyment of comfort

Remodel my home for a potential sale within the next year (Hardwood)

  • I selected hardwood for this because of an increase in resale value. This may depend on the value of your home, studies suggest hardwood floors may increase the value of your home up to 2.5%.

Investment property for renters (Luxury Vinyl)

  • Renters are typically harder on floors and luxury vinyl being the easiest floor covering to maintain and clean is a great option for these homes

Refinish my basement to increase living space for a growing family (Both)

  • This one is a tough one. On the one hand, it is for your family and you want the most comfort and value in your home. On the other hand, basements are one of the most likely areas to experience water damage and luxury vinyl floors are as close to waterproof as flooring can get. Ultimately you’ll have to decide for yourself if it is worth the additional investment.

Selecting flooring for a vacation home or cabin (Luxury Vinyl)

  • This one goes to luxury vinyl due to the ease of maintenance. Vacation homes and cabins may be vacant at least 50% of the year and the structural stability of LVT makes it worry-free even when you are away.

This article gives a good overview, however, if you have specific questions always reach out to us. We would love to hear about your project and give you the absolute best advice. Contact us today at the link below.

Since 2003, Unique Wood Floors has served home and business owners in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area. Contact our company online or by phone. We are looking forward to hearing from you!