Dare To Compare: Luxury Vinyl Tile and Planks Vs Hardwood

ProSource | 12/18/2018 | Product Information

Your clients want the richness and luxury of hardwood or stone floors. However, as a trade professional, you want them to consider all the options, including luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl planks (LVP).

To give clients the best possible outcome, why not help them understand the value of each type of flooring? That way, they can discern which fits the overall theme and appearance they desire.

Luxury Vinyl Tile and Planks: The Ups and Downs
When you initially think of vinyl tile flooring, you probably picture non-natural-looking 1970s-style kitchen and bathroom flooring. However, luxury vinyl tile is made to completely mimic the look of materials such as hardwood and stone.

What makes LVT so incredibly warm and welcoming? Each piece is embossed to give it greater visual interest. When you look at a floor constructed of luxury vinyl tile, you’ll notice it seems to have a great amount of texture, and the result is a floor with unique characteristics and the illusion of depth.

Luxury vinyl planks are created in the same way as luxury vinyl tile, but they come in long, rectangular planks. The embossing techniques are similar regardless of which luxury vinyl flooring type your clients prefer.

Luxury vinyl tile and planks have the benefit of being resilient and hard-working, making each a practical solution for high-traffic areas. They also tend to be less expensive to purchase and install than hardwood flooring.

Kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways make excellent locations for luxury vinyl tile or planks. These flooring materials are waterproof, making them an ideal choice for these and other moisture-prone spaces. Additionally, they’re easy to keep clean, which is a bonus for homeowners who don’t want high-maintenance floors.

Still, luxury vinyl tile and planks are not the right solution for every room of the property. If tiles or planks are installed in an indoor-outdoor area with exposure to weather conditions, they may break down over time (unless they’re made for this specific purpose). Of course, as with any flooring product choice, any tile or plank design should be considered for the long haul. For instance, will it look dated in a year or two? Is it too “trendy” for a residence that will likely be on the market in a few months? If the answer is yes, a different type of floor may be wiser.

In the end, some clients simply feel that LVT or LVP can’t reproduce the appeal of real hardwood or stone. If this is the case, as an interior designer, contractor, or builder, you may want to discuss the realities of opting for natural (rather than man-made) flooring materials.

Hardwood Floors: The Real Deal With Some Real Pros and Cons
Hardwood floors have been in style for generations, and they’re not likely to go out of vogue anytime soon. Take one look at a well-polished, professionally installed pine, oak, or hickory floor, and you’ll see its instant appeal. The same can be said for ceramic or stone flooring, which offer a high degree of customization due to delightfully unpredictable imperfections.

When you’re working with homeowners who insist on hardwood floors, you owe it to them to discuss the added expense of wood materials. Real wood flooring typically costs more than its luxury vinyl flooring counterparts. It also requires very specific maintenance and upkeep. Plus, wood tends to show signs of wear, making it susceptible to everything from shoe heel nicks to pet claw scrapes. If it’s a wood floor that can withstand a sand and finish, the blemishes can be erased, but there are factors to consider here as well (such as the expense of stripping, sanding, and refinishing).

Of course, hardwood does have plenty of advantages, especially when it comes time to sell a property. Many homebuyers equate hardwood flooring with warmth and richness, which can boost the marketability of a structure. In most cases, hardwood floors are ideal for rooms with minimal moisture exposure, such as living rooms, formal dining areas, and bedrooms.

Going Down The Hardwood Rabbit Hole
Hardwood can be just as unique and varied as its homeowners. To start, let your clients know about the two main types of hardwood, solid and engineered, and discuss which works best for their needs. Solid hardwood, known for its timelessness and durability, is composed of single, solid planks. Engineered hardwood, conversely, is composed of layers: The bottom and top layers are hardwood, and the layers in between are plywood. This creates a highly stable core that, in comparison to solid hardwood, is less likely to expand.

From there, deciding among hardwood species can feel a little like journeying down a rabbit hole, so break down the options for your homeowners. From alder to ash and cherry to maple, there are dozens of species from which to choose, and each brings out different tones of a home. Review this hardwood species guide with clients to narrow their choices.

Finally, discuss the trend of laying wider, longer hardwood planks. They can stand out because of their darker, more textured tones, giving an almost grand feel to a home.

Which Type Of Flooring Is Best?
As a home improvement expert, you can expect your clients to look to you for answers when it comes to choosing the best flooring for their projects. Turn to the experts at your local ProSource Wholesale showroom for recommendations and a wide selection of products. Your clients will appreciate your thoroughness and will love the result.

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