Hardwood vs Engineered Hardwood vs LVP: Which is Better?

Hardwood vs Engineered Hardwood

Choosing the right flooring for your home is a significant decision that can impact aesthetics, functionality, and your budget. Among the myriad of options available, three popular choices stand out: hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring, and luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring. Each of these options has its own set of pros and cons, price ranges, and durability factors. In this blog post, I’ll delve into the details of hardwood vs engineered hardwood vs luxury vinyl plank flooring to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your home’s needs and your personal preferences.

Hardwood vs Engineered Hardwood: Time-consuming Timelessness vs Easy Elegance

First let’s focus on the true wood options. LVP is in a category of its own, but still deserves to be considered due to its relatively lower cost.

Hardwood Flooring Pros

Aesthetics: Hardwood flooring exudes classic elegance and natural beauty. Its timeless appeal enhances the overall aesthetic of any room. A natural product, it will age and show wear over time, which many people feel adds warmth and character to a home.

Longevity: Well-maintained hardwood floors can last for generations (emphasis on well-maintained), making them a durable investment in your home’s value.

Refinishing: Hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished multiple times, allowing for a fresh look and extended lifespan.

Variety: Available in a wide range of wood species, stains, and finishes, hardwood offers versatile and almost limitless design options (for a price).

Hardwood Flooring Cons

Cost: Hardwood flooring tends to be more expensive upfront compared to other options.

Susceptibility to Moisture: Natural hardwood is vulnerable to moisture, making it unsuitable for areas prone to spills or high humidity, such as kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, or even entryways or areas near doors leading outside.

Installation Complexity: Solid hardwood installation can be time-consuming and may require additional professional expertise. Wood flooring is also not well suited for radiant heating.

Engineered Wood Flooring Pros

Moisture Resistance: Engineered wood has enhanced resistance to moisture and humidity, making it suitable for kitchens, basements, and bathrooms.

Stability: Its layered construction minimizes expansion and contraction due to temperature and humidity changes.

Cost-Effective: Engineered wood can provide a similar look to solid hardwood at a lower cost.

Installation Versatility: Can be glued, stapled, or floated, allowing for various (quicker and less expensive) installation methods. But note that as a wood flooring, it’s not well suited for radiant floor heating.

Engineered Wood Flooring Cons

Refinishing Limitations: While it can be refinished, engineered wood has a thinner wear layer than solid hardwood, limiting the number of refinishing cycles. 

Aesthetics: While visually appealing, some may argue that engineered wood lacks the authenticity of solid hardwood. This may be the case if you’re going for a certain wood grain or type that simply isn’t available as an engineered wood, but if you compare apples to apples, you really can’t tell the difference.

Longevity: While still durable, engineered wood may not last as long as solid hardwood in high-traffic areas due to its limited refinishing capabilities.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Flooring: Versatile and Cost-Effective Knockoff

As the FloorStore in Santa Rosa, CA, explains, LVP is a specific type of plastic product made by layering different materials, including vinyl. The most common type of vinyl floor consist of 4 layers: a felt fiberglass or vinyl backing; a core layer; a decorative layer with the flooring pattern; and a final “wear layer” on top.

Vinyl’s diverse patterns are the result of a process known as rotogravure, in which the flooring is passed under a large cylinder that imprints the decorative layer, realistically mimicking other flooring products such as wood or stone.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Pros

Durability: LVP is highly resistant to scratches, dents, and moisture, making it ideal for households with pets or children.

Cost-Effective: LVP offers a budget-friendly alternative to hardwood while replicating the look and feel almost convincingly.

Easy Maintenance: Simple to clean with very little maintenance, LVP is well-suited for busy households without the patience or pocketbook for annual care.

Installation: Often comes with easy click-lock systems, allowing for straightforward DIY installation. LVP is also better suited for radiant floor heating than wood flooring.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Cons

Visual and Tactile Authenticity: While advancements have been made, some high-end LVP may still lack the authenticity of real wood. I installed LVP in my playroom, knowing it would get trashed, and I noticed that it doesn’t seem to absorb sound as well as real wood, it has a shinier surface that real wood, and it just feels different than real wood – it doesn’t have the same soft, silky touch.

Refinishing: Unlike hardwood, LVP cannot be refinished, so damaged planks must be replaced.

Resale Value: While durable, LVP may not add as much resale value to a home as genuine hardwood.

Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Home: Hardwood vs Engineered Hardwood vs LVP

Consider the following factors when choosing a flooring:

Budget: Consider your budget constraints, including both upfront materials and installation costs, as well as long-term maintenance expenses. 

Location: Evaluate the moisture levels and traffic patterns in the intended area for flooring installation. 

Aesthetics: Determine the style you want to achieve and which flooring option complements your interior design.

Lifestyle: Assess your household’s activity level, including the presence of pets and children, to determine the flooring’s durability requirements.

Longevity: Consider how long you intend to stay in your home and the flooring’s expected lifespan.

Hardwood vs Engineered Hardwood vs LVP Summary

Choosing between hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring, and luxury vinyl plank flooring involves balancing aesthetics, durability, and budget considerations. Each type has its own merits and drawbacks, making it crucial to weigh your priorities and assess the specific needs of your home. By considering the factors mentioned above and understanding the unique attributes of each flooring option, you can make an informed decision that enhances the beauty, functionality, and value of your living space.

Need help selecting the right flooring type for your home? Reach out to us at hello@revelryinteriordesign.com or book a free consultation with us here.


Dana Feagles, Principal Interior Designer

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