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Engineered Wood vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring: Which One to Pick?

Choosing between engineered wood and vinyl flooring depends on key factors such as water resistance, aesthetic appearance, and budget.

Vinyl flooring is durable, water-resistant, and affordable, making it ideal for households with children or pets. On the other hand, engineered wood offers a look and feel close to natural wood, preferred for its aesthetic.

Your choice will depend on your personal preferences and the requirements of your living space.

What is vinyl flooring?

Composed of a multi-layer structure from various materials, this flooring mainly comes in two categories: planks and sheets.

The strength of vinyl planks is their convincing imitation of wood and the ease of replacing damaged planks, unlike vinyl rolls where this operation is more complicated.

In terms of installation, vinyl offers three distinct methods:

  • Click installation: This glueless system ensures a quick and clean setup, ideal for those looking to minimize waste and speed up the installation process
  • Loose lay: More flexible, this option may require glue to ensure a lasting fix, making it particularly suited to spaces requiring superior underfoot comfort.
  • Glue down: Designed for high-traffic areas, this method ensures excellent adherence to the floor, thus ensuring the durability of the covering in the most demanding environments.ts.

These characteristics position vinyl as a particularly flexible flooring choice, capable of adapting to a wide range of aesthetic and practical needs.

What is engineered wood flooring?

Engineered wood is a layer of real wood glued to a plywood or high-density fibreboard. It can be directly installed over an acoustic membrane and can be sanded 2 to 3 times unless it's a floating installation.

For a better understanding of the difference between the 3 types of wood flooring (floating, engineered, and hardwood), refer to our article.

This type of covering offers an economical alternative to hardwood flooring.

Thanks to its design flexibility, engineered wood floors adapt to various installation methods:

  • Glue down: Particularly suited to rooms where the floor is subject to intense traffic.
  • Floating: A glueless and nailless installation where planks interlock with each other through a click system, creating a floating floor above the substrate. This quick and easy option is ideal for DIY projects.
  • Nail down: Traditionally used for solid wood floors, this technique involves nailing each plank directly onto a wooden subfloor. Although less common for engineered wood, it remains an option for those who prefer a permanent and extremely stable installation.

Engineered wood or vinyl planks: criteria for choice

Now that you know about both materials, let's compare them according to different attributes.

Aesthetics and feel

Engineered wood offers the depth and warmth of solid wood, thanks to its top layer of real wood. On the other side, while vinyl can faithfully imitate the appearance of other materials, it may lack this tactile authenticity.

For families with children, the soft and cushy side of vinyl can be another advantage in terms of safety and comfort for the little ones.

Durability

Both materials show good resistance to scratches and impacts. Vinyl flooring is more water-resistant and suitable for wet areas, while engineered wood flooring offers great stability and can be sanded to maintain its appearance over time.

Price

If you're looking for an affordable flooring option, vinyl is a better choice than engineered wood, both in terms of purchase and installation. However, engineered wood can add value to your property.

Water resistance

Vinyl stands out for its total waterproofness, making it ideal for moisture-prone rooms like the bathroom, and it minimizes damage from water infiltration.

Maintenance and cleaning

Both types of flooring require regular sweeping and cleaning, but they are quite easy to maintain, though vinyl is slightly more forgiving with spills and stains.

It's important to mention that engineered wood does not require the application of a varnish or protective oil periodically like hardwood does, in fact, this is only necessary after being sanded. Feel free to purchase our floor cleaning products directly from our website!

Installation

Vinyl plank flooring is often chosen for its easy and quick installation, which many homeowners can perform without professional help. But, engineered wood may require more know-how as it sometimes needs to be glued or nailed, or even both!

However, if the engineered wood is equipped with a click system, installation becomes as simple as vinyl planks.

Eco-friendly

As mentioned in our article on eco-friendly flooring solutions, both options offer environmental benefits.

Wood certified by PEFC or FSC is eco-friendly because it comes from sustainable sources and contributes to forest conservation.

Vinyl, on the other hand, has progressed towards greater sustainability, with recyclable products and efforts have been made to reduce VOC emissions.

To ensure you make an eco-friendly choice, check certifications, inquire about manufacturing methods and the life cycle of materials.

Which to choose?

Whether you lean towards the authentic character of engineered wood or the practicality of vinyl flooring, each choice has its advantages.

Vinyl is durable, water-resistant, and less expensive. Engineered wood, on the other hand, stands out for its natural look and comfort. For those considering underfloor heating, know that it's entirely possible with both!

For any questions, we are at your disposal, do not hesitate to contact us. For more information on vinyl or engineered wood, consult these articles: