Builders and homeowners today have a seemingly endless number of choices when it comes to installing flooring. Styles, trends, and technology are always evolving, resulting in a dizzying array of options. Evaluating the pros and cons of laminate, vinyl, and hardwood flooring can help in choosing which flooring types to use, or stock, if you sell laminate, vinyl, or hardwood flooring.
Vinyl is one form of what is known as “resilient flooring”, including such variations as luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and sheet vinyl flooring.
- Economical – well under $10/square foot including installation
- Easy to install – fits together cleanly, and some versions are self-adhesive
- Difficult to remove – adhesives used are extremely strong
- Can be of variable quality – thicker, layered construction types are more reliable
Laminate flooring is an extremely popular alternative to hardwood. It’s made using a process that overlays wood-look images on fiberboard backing and can be very realistic looking.
- Easy to install – comes in planks or tiles that are designed to easily snap together
- Tough surface – the wear layer is extremely durable and stands up to dents and scratches
- Susceptible to moisture – laminate flooring should not be installed in locations such as laundry rooms and rooms with drains
- Older laminate contains toxins – recent stricter EPA requirements has helped to reduce usage of harmful chemicals in manufacturing
Hardwood flooring, including engineered wood flooring, is commonly thought as the “higher end” of flooring choices.
- Durability – properly maintained, a hardwood floor can last more than 100 years
- Value – builders consider hardwoods such as oak flooring and hickory flooring to be an upgrade over other flooring types
- Cost – hardwood flooring is the most expensive of the three types of flooring
- Maintenance – hardwood floors must be periodically maintained and refinished to retain their look and quality
Builders and homeowners have more flooring options than ever before. Comparing the advantages of cost, durability, and overall value will help guide decisions on which type to use for a given application.
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