Homeowners in Phoenix often choose hardwood flooring because carpeting can harbor dust mites. Carpeting is also difficult to thoroughly clean, which is problematic for homeowners with pets or children. For these reasons, wood flooring is healthier, although there are potential risks with traditional wood floor refinishing. Heavy-duty floor sanders can effectively scrub out scratches, but the airborne particles that result from the process can compromise your respiratory health.
Some people suffer allergic reactions upon breathing in airborne wood particles. The dust can also trigger asthma attacks, especially if the wood flooring is comprised of Western red cedar planks. The wood dust can get into the eyes, causing irritation and more serious eye injuries, like corneal abrasions. If there are substantial quantities of wood dust, it can even contribute to house fires and explosions. For these reasons, consider looking for a professional floor refinisher who can use a dust containment unit. These systems virtually eliminate airborne wood dust in your home.
When it’s time to choose new flooring for your home, there are plenty of options to consider. It’s hard to beat genuine hardwood flooring because of its aesthetic appeal, longevity, and home resale value. But if you’re interested in keeping the cost down, you can still get the look of real wood with either engineered hardwood floors or vinyl plank flooring. Talk to a flooring contractor about your preferences.
Materials and Construction
The first notable differences between engineered hardwood floors and vinyl planks are their composition. Engineered wood is manufactured in layers. High-quality plywood usually comprises the core, with a layer of real wood veneer on top. Because the plank isn’t completely hardwood, it’s less of an investment than 100% real hardwood floors. Vinyl plank floors are manufactured from colored PVC chips. The manufacturer can create planks of varying thicknesses, colors, and patterns. Vinyl floors have come a long way over the years. Luxury vinyl is thicker, looks genuine, and even sports a texture that can mimic the feel of real wood.
Beauty and Versatility
Engineered wood and vinyl planks are comparable in terms of aesthetic appeal. Visit a flooring showroom to see which material you prefer. You can find either material in varying shades from light to dark. Their versatility is similar, as well. However, because engineered planks do contain some real hardwood, they are susceptible to the effects of humidity and temperature fluctuations, just like solid hardwood. Vinyl planks, on the other hand, are completely resistant to moisture, and will not expand and contract with temperature changes. This makes them an ideal choice for renovating bathrooms and kitchens, and for finishing basements.
Softness and Hardness
Thanks to the top layer of real wood, engineered planks will have a similar hardness and resistance as solid hardwood. Vinyl planks are slightly softer and bouncier. This isn’t a significant difference—you probably wouldn’t notice it if you walk on a vinyl floor for just a few minutes. But if you’re spending all day chasing after your kids, your feet will appreciate the slight “give” of vinyl planks.