Vermont Condo Pros logo

Back To Blog

Hardwood Vinyl and Laminate Flooring: How They Differ and Which is Best

Let's Finally Get to the Bottom of the Different Types of "Wood" Flooring Seen in Townhomes and Condos

One of the most common questions that comes up when showing a condo or townhome for sale in Vermont (or for any type of home) is about the type of flooring in each room.  Sometimes the answers is obvious from seeing it and other times it can be confusing, especially given all the various options available to consumers today.  Taking a look at the MLS listing information often does not help either because the information needed is inaccurate or missing.  Even listing agents and homeowners seem to have some level of confusion over the exact types of flooring that one might see.  Let's take a look at the most common types, define them and talk about the pros and cons of each. 

Solid Hardwood: This is the highest level of actual hardwood flooring.  Each plank is hardwood all the way through from the surface to the core.  The top is covered by a clear lacquer layer that protects the wood underneath from scratches.  Solid hardwood is the most expensive but also allows for the most refinishing over time as you can sand off many layers and still have the same type of wood exposed for refinishing.

Engineered Wood:  Also known as engineered hardwood flooring is the best of both worlds, so to speak.  The wood on top, known as the veneer, is real hardwood, which is also covered by a lacquer layer for protection.  However, the core of the plank is not real hardwood and is either made of plywood or high-density fiberboard (HDF), which allows for a great cost savings.  Engineered wood looks and feels just like solid hardwood, but it has the limitation of refinishing.  Because the top veneer layer is fairly thin, engineered hardwood can usually only be refinished once in its lifetime, which is a disadvantage when compared to solid hardwood. 

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) or Vinyl Plank: This type of flooring seems to go by different names, but we are now getting into flooring where the top layer is not a wood veneer, but a layer of vinyl, with an image printed on it to replicate hardwood or even stone.  This type of flooring offers even greater savings over hardwood and engineered wood, giving the owner the look of wood and stone materials but coupled with the ease of maintenance of vinyl.  Vinyl Plank/LVT flooring often is made from layers of PVC vinyl, giving it great durability and resistance to water.

Laminate: Laminate is similar to LVT and vinyl plank in the the top layer is a printed vinyl sheet, just with laminate flooring the core is still a high-density fiberboard (HDF) or possibly plywood.  Laminate is very DIY-friendly and will work well for staying on a tight budget, but the water resistance is not as great as the LVT/vinyl plank as the laminate's HDF core would be affected by consistent exposure to water and moisture.

Which is Best For Your Home? There are many flooring options available at different price points.  We have looked today at some of the variations in materials and durability and water resistance, but there are other things to dig into before you make this decision.  The different flooring options also offer varying installation speed and cost, higher and lower levels of acoustic sound absorption as well as different requirements for the underlay or subfloor preparation before installation can begin.  Be sure to consider all of the options and consult with your contractor to see what's best for your property.  Hopefully this guide will give you a better basic understanding of what type of floor you might be standing on right now!




Recommended Searches

View all