Luxury Vinyl Planks, Laminate, or Real Wood- Which is Right for Your Home?

Are you considering luxury vinyl planks, laminate, or real hardwood flooring for your home? Choosing the right floors for your space can be a daunting task. Beyond personal style, there are several other factors that usually come into consideration. Gone are the stigmas that vinyl and laminate are ‘cheap’ options. Both are becoming increasingly popular in many applications. Hardwood has always been viewed as valuable. Which one is right for you? Let’s do a quick comparison to help you decide.

Just Around the Corner is committed to offering the latest flooring technologies to continue our goal of offering the very best family-friendly flooring to St. Louis homes and businesses. With so many options to choose from, it’s important to understand the benefits and differences between luxury vinyl planks (LVP), laminate, and real hardwood flooring.


The Durability Test

Durability is usually one of the biggest determining factors in choosing a flooring option. While wood floors are very beautiful, natural materials, they are not resistant to heavy traffic. Both laminate and LVP have better resistance to scratches and dents than real wood flooring. Each option, however, does have its own limitations.

Do you share residence with four-legged family members? While they bring us companionship and unconditional love, they can wreak havoc on our homes. Scratches and accidents can be damaging to hardwood floors. LVP and laminates can tolerate the wear larger dogs put on floors.

Another advantage of LVP is its ability to resist chipping. However, luxury vinyl products can be torn if a heavy object is drug across them. (It should be noted that a heavy object could potentially damage laminate floors as well.)

Do you have a sun-soaked room? Laminates are fade-resistant, whereas LVPs can experience some fading over time. The same can be said for wood floors. However, their ability to be refinished means you can restore the shine and finish without having to do a replacement.

Hardwood floors never need to be replaced, unless there is significant damage or rot. Most wood flooring can be refinished. Solid wood flooring can be refinished up to eight times, which in most cases will outlast the house.

The Liquids Test

Next to durability, most people choose LVP for its waterproof benefit. However, many laminates are now moisture-proof as well. In the liquids test, hardwoods are the least resistant to damage.

Basements, mudrooms, and bathrooms are all areas that benefit from LVP’s waterproof nature. In contrast, wood floors are better suited to areas where traffic is lighter and water is less of a concern.


The Style Test

Gone are the days of hoaky images ‘stamped’ on top of a piece of plastic or fiberboard. Technology has dramatically improved the look and feel of both laminates and LVP. Realistic wood grains and textures from oak, cherry, walnut, and many exotic species are available for you to choose from.

Wood floors can come prefinished in a variety of styles. They can come unfinished, allowing you to choose your stain color. They can be sawn in a variety of different plank sizes. There are also hand-scraped options for a natural, distressed look.

Laminates do feel warmer underfoot than LVP in some cases, and they are softer to walk on too. This makes laminates more popular in living rooms, bedrooms, and offices. Hardwoods, of course, offer a warm feeling as well.

Thinking of selling your home? Buyers tend to prefer laminate over LVP in most spaces. However, they are generally accepting (and appreciative if they’re smart) of luxury vinyl planks in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Wood floors, however, will generally bring the most value and buyer appreciation.

Arctic Frost

Arctic FrostThe Maintenence Test

If your laminate floors are not moisture-resistant, they should not be mopped. Harsh chemical cleaners are also not recommended. The best way to care for your laminate floors is to use cleaners specifically designed for laminate floors. We encourage our customers to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Luxury vinyl planks are easy to mop, although waxy cleaners are not recommended, as they leave behind a residue. Harsh surfactants are not recommended either. Mop them using a mild cleaning solution. Again, the manufacturer is going to be your best resource for cleaning product recommendations.

Hardwood floors are incredibly easy to maintain. Sweeping and light polishing can bring back the gorgeous luster that makes hardwoods so attractive. We recommend cleaners specifically designed for wood floors. Terry cloths and microfiber mops are the correct tools for application and cleaning.

Have more questions on how to properly care for your floors? Our flooring experts are always happy to share their best tips and practices with you!

The Installation Test

While both laminate and LVP do take some finesse and skill to do well, they can be done by the DIY’er. Laminate and LVP come in a click-together design. LVP is also available in a peel and stick or glue-down form. Want to know why you’d use a glue-down? We’ve covered that in this blog.

When cutting edges, laminate requires the use of a saw. LVP can be cut with a utility knife (carefully!), or with a vinyl cutting tool. 

Hardwood floors are best installed or refinished by a flooring expert. At JATC, we take pride in caring for your home while we complete your install or refinish. Don’t take our word for it:

“Just Around the Corner was a pleasure to work with.  They did a superb job on my floors and made the process so much easier than I thought it would be. All of the staff are very professional, informative, polite and take pride in their work and the end result. The crew was always on time and always cleaned up after their work. I am so happy that I chose them for my flooring project. I have already recommended them to friends and family.”- Karen M.

Our installation professionals are craftsmen who are passionate about doing the job well. Contact us today for your FREE estimate.


The Final Answer

Whether you choose LVP, laminate or hardwood floors is not a matter of sacrificing quality or style. Although there are several determining factors, each product can bring your home back to life. New floors are a significant investment. At Just Around the Corner Family Flooring, we are here to listen to your wants and needs and offer you suggestions that are the best fit for you and your home.