While natural hardwood is an exemplary flooring material, technological advances have made vinyl wood flooring an attractive alternative option. Vinyl wood flooring uses a special printing process that allows it to mimic virtually any existing species of wood. And while it may not feel like a hardwood floor underfoot, it certainly looks like one. So what are the reasons for choosing vinyl wood flooring over natural hardwood? In this post, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of natural hardwood vs vinyl flooring.
When comparing costs, it’s no contest. Vinyl wood flooring can be a quarter of the cost of a natural hardwood installation. And while there are wide variations in cost for either material, vinyl will virtually always be the cheaper option. If you want the look of hardwood flooring, but don’t have the budget, vinyl wood flooring is an affordable alternative.
While natural hardwood is a highly desired flooring material, one of its major drawbacks is its susceptibility to water damage. This makes it unsuitable in wet, damp or humid environments. You’ll rarely, if ever, find hardwood installed in a bathroom. It’s also generally inadvisable in a kitchen. Vinyl, on the other hand, is essentially waterproof. Moisture, humidity and pooled water will not affect the integrity of vinyl. If you want your bathroom to appear to have natural wood flooring, vinyl wood is a durable facsimile.
Natural hardwood flooring is generally sustainable. As long as you’re not sourcing rare, vulnerable species, more trees can always be grown to make more floorboards. Vinyl, on the other hand, is made using petroleum products which are not easily replaced. Its manufacture also creates several toxic by-products which may be classified as “forever chemicals.” A new vinyl flooring installation will also release volatile organic compounds which not only smell bad but could be noxious. If you’re looking for the eco-friendly option, hardwood is the easy choice.
In the durability department, vinyl has come a long way. That said, it still doesn’t come close to comparing with the durability of a natural hardwood floor. A modern vinyl floor often has a 10 to 20-year warranty. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, can last for 50 years or more.