Hardwood, Luxury Vinyl Tiles/Planks, or Both?

sail_awayDecember 4, 2011

We are in the process of deciding what to use to replace almost all of the flooring on the main floor of our home---for the living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. Due to allergies and aesthetic reasons, we would like to have hard floors, no carpeting.

We presntly have golden oak hardwood in the entry area, short hallway back to the kitchen/dining room and back the opposite way to the laundry room (which is attached to the garage). There is also a very small powder room off the hallway that has the oak hardwood floors. Our hardwood floors have about a 1-1/2 foot square area of damage due to my daughter placing wet towels on the floor overnight which will have to be repaired.

We have discussed putting hardwood through the entire main floor, but keep coming back to the fact that we don't really feel comfortable having it in our kitchen. In addition to frequent spills, we have concerns about damage if our dishwasher was to leak. As a secondary concern, it would be nice to put something in the kitchen that wouldn't require that we remove all of the cabinets to do so.

Our family room adjoins the kitchen, so we want the same floor in both rooms.

We have been looking at the click-together LVT/LVP as a possible solution for the kitchen/family room floors, and found a nice slate-looking plank that would look nice, with a generous sized area rug in the family room.

I like the idea of the LVT in terms of comfort and warmth. It's supposed to be good in kitchens, in the event of water problems. Can anyone confirm that?

Our next idea is to put the hardwood in the living room and dining room, then have the original hardwood repaired and everything stained and finished to match.

We would install all flooring, but have someone come in to stain and seal the hardwoods. My husband is very talented and does most things around the house, and I'm a good worker who follows directions.

Now we're second guessing our decisions, wondering if it would be a good idea to remove the existing hardwood floors and simply put in LVP in hardwood throughout all floors on the main level. I am balking at the idea of taking out oak floors and putting in vinyl.

On the plus side, it would be less expensive and also less upheaval in the household. We have elderly parents to care for, pets, and a multiply handicapped child in the home, who gets very stressed out when things are disrupted. I am still inclined to stick with the original plan to have hardwood floors in the living room and dining room. We will have to do the kitchen/family room first, then save money for the living room/dining room. DH thinks saving some money and the utility of the vinyl might be a good trade-off. However, I'm also concerned that we've never had the click-together luxury vinyl planks before, and maybe we won't like them as much as he thinks we will.

We will probably want to downsize one day and, when we do, I would also like to think we made wise decisions in terms of resale. On the one hand, if the LVT/LVP functions as we think, the practicality, comfort, easy care might be a plus to some buyers---plus the nice look of all wood throughout the main level, but in vinyl. On the other hand, I think hardwood floors, even if they don't extend through the entire house would be a bigger plus.

Any thoughts? We keep going around and around trying to just make a final decision and get started. Also, what can you tell me about the click-together LVT/LVP? Any brand favorites? Does it seem to wear well and be easy maintenance? Would you go for the hardwood/LVT combo or all LVT? Thanks for your input.

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Have you ever read any real estate listing bragging about "vinyl tiles in entire dowstairs"? Nope. And you never will.

Put the wood in the entire space including the kitchen. Buy $12 water alarms for under your sink, under your fridge, and under your DW and get a hamper for that bathroom.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 11:33PM
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Wood flooring gets an appraised value, so it is an investment. Consider Ceramic tile for the kitchen, it is easier to clean grease off the floor. If you have dogs, water bowls are best on tile.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Thanks for the responses. I know my original post had multiple questions. DH has agreed that we should go ahead with the orginal plan to extend the oak floors into the living room and dining room. However, neither of us want hardwood floors, laminate floors, or ceramic/porcelain tile in our kitchen.

I would rather have the luxury vinyl tile or planks (LVT/LVP) that I mentioned above than just sheet vinyl. It is much thicker and should wear better. However, it is also something we've not actualy seen installed anywhere. Does anyone here have any experience with these.

I've attached a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: LVT Info

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Sophie Wheeler

"Luxury vinyl tile" is a marketing oxymoron. If you live in a low priced starter house, vinyl may be an accepted flooring choice. If you live in an artsy loft downtown, vinyl in an unusual pattern or color may be acceptable. If you live in an average middle of the road traditional home in most of America, vinyl is declasse and would be considered a big negative.

Why would you not want wood throughout the house? It's softer than tile, holds up well to kitchen use, and if you have one of the water alerts mentioned, it will never really get water damaged. Even if you have a catastrophic pipe failure, most wood, but especially good engineered prefinished wood, will dry out and go back into shape just fine and you'll never know there was a flood. Do your research better and you'll see that many millions of people have wood in their kitchens and baths with no issues.

If you can't bring yourself to choose wood, then pick an interesting natural stone look alike tile. Be aware that if your foundation is crawlspace, you may need to reinforce your joists, lay down more plywood or a anti fracture membrane or both before being able to lay tile correctly. But a well done tile job will also add value to the home if the material choice works well with the adjacent wood. Use epoxy grout like they do for commercial installs and you will never have to worry about permanently stained grout. A properly laid tile floor with epoxy grout will be more expensive than continuing the wood but will not degrade your home's value like vinyl.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:38AM
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I have had red oak flooring in my kitchen 17 years with no damage. Did not remove the cabinets - just butted up to them. Trimmed them out against the toe kick with a strip of red oak quarter round. They are installed under the dishwasher and range.

I have about 4 coats of polyurethane on my floors and poly is very forgiving. I have normal water spills which I dry up when I see it; damp mop with water and vinegar; really don't baby them.

I do need to put those alarms under my washer, frige, and sink as as other poster recommended.

Plus I have wood floors in one bathroom.

I am sure that someday, I COULD have water problems. Will deal when it happens.

Love wood floors in ALL rooms (except laundry/mudroom). Would probably have them there, but I am confident they would get a lot of "grit" wear from DH's muddy boots.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 1:44PM
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One thought, though---alarms won't do any good if the water leak happens when no one is at home.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 3:24AM
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That is why they make auto shut off supply hoses that when they detect a leak, will shut off the water to that appliance. You cannot live your life in fear that a catastrophic accident will inevitably happen. If you choose good quality products, have a knowledgeable tradesman install them, and keep up your homeowner's insurance, you have nothing to fear from wood floors.

Porcelain with underfloor heating would also be a good choice for a kitchen. The underfloor heating adds a touch of inexpensive luxury and your animals will LOVE it.

Fake wood can wear well for a temporary solution but it is never a good choice when it comes to creating value in a home, even though the LVT is usually more expensive than real wood. It will look even worse against real wood. The contrast between the two really highlights how fake it is. If you must do vinyl, do a sheet vinyl that isn't a wood pattern. It will actually be waterproof until you get to the sides against the walls. It will not add value to your home, but at least it will be easy to remove down the line.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 9:13AM
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That was pretty good and luxurious. Saving money is great, but what if saving meant that your cheap cooking schedule was altogether too threadbare? Some kitchen luxuries are worth the price, while some are not. Kitchen luxuries you should and should not buy are nice and can help you make your kitchen beautiful. As such, if you�re stocking your kitchen on a budget and want to know which kitchen luxuries you can pass over, these kinds of specialty appliances qualify.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:08AM
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When we replaced the thick pink carpet in our kitchen I did a lot of reading about flooring. That was about 7 years ago. At that time we decided on engineered wood for several reasons. The first was that it has much less tendency to bow or shrink when damp. Second there are high end products that have a hardwood layer that is thick enough to be sanded and refinished at least three times. Third the finish was preapplied and it is a very wear resistant surface because it is composed of a mixture of acrylic and polyurethane with aluminum oxide disolved in it. The aluminum oxide is quite a hard mineral that is ground so fine that it can be wet by the finish and becomes transparent. The finish of some brands is waranteed for 50 years; others for a lifetime. Fourth the planks are avialable in true 90 degree edging that butts tightly to the adjoinig plank. We used the tongue and groove system that is glued together with waterproof adhesive. We chose hickory (pecan) wood because it is harder than any oak and swells less. This has been a successful floor for us. A few heavy pans and tools have make minor cuts or dents, but that could happen to any floor except tile. We are in our 80s so we qualify as senior citizens. My wife wouldn't have tile because it to so hard on the legs when standing for a long time. I bought an available cork underflooring that is over 1/4 inch thick and it makes standing in the kitchen even more comfortable. If you want brand information you will have to pm me because this site wouldn't let me post the online address.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Yes, I have had three experiences with vinyl plank flooring, as follows:

My father installed Konecto in his addition- a woodworking shop, bathroom workout room (with treadmill) and wine cellar (including stairs). The floor has been in for over two years and looks fantastic. Any scratches disappear with the same vinyl spray you use on your car's dashboard.

I installed Konecto in the bathroom of my home that has now become a rental. The floor was so uneven that the tile installed, most likely just prior to sale, cracked and the grout fell out within a week of my moving in. Wet towels and puddles of water have sat on the year-old vinyl plank, with no problems.

My father owns a working farm that he rents; Allure was installed in the kitchen and held up to the mud-and-gravel-encrusted boots that slog through the kitchen. It has been in for almost a year and looks great.

These experiences drew me to vinyl plank flooring in the house I "inherited" when I got married; however, I still researched other options such as hardwoods and laminates. While it is a personal choice, I have found the following in my particular case:

The house, in its present condition, needs so much work that we are upside down already (purchased from a family member, you know how it goes...) and have major expenses such as plumbing, electric, flooring and a kitchen- the current kitchen is gutted. For my neighborhood, I will never recoup the costs, even at bargain-basement prices. This is something all remodelers should consider- are you creating a $300,000 home in a $150,000 neighborhood?

Also, with the way that folks love to remodel these days and put their own stamp on their homes, who is to say that the next owners won't cover your beautiful hardwoods with carpet?

Finally, practicality: we have 2 dogs and 3 cats and plan for children soon. In our shotgun house we don't want to break up the visual aesthetic of openness by having different types of flooring in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bath, we wanted a unified, seamless look For water resistance, vinyl is the way to go. Not to mention the logistics of installation- in our situation the thickness of the vinyl works best with our current flooring/trim combination.

If my situation were different, I might choose a different floor, but when looking at the whole picture, vinyl seemed the way to go for us! We also plan on staying here for some time, so resale is less of a concern, but it is in our minds (though I have never bought a house I didn't change, so your potential buyer might too!).

If you would like pictures of the three aforementioned vinyl plank "experiences" I can ask family members/tenants to send some. Also, check out your local commercial joints. For example, my grocery store has vinyl plank floors that look great after 5 years of squeaky, wobbly cart wheels running over them.

Hope this helps and good luck with your remodel!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 1:13AM
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I was out looking at flooring for the kitchen today. I saw this Cerdisa Chalet product - see link below. I haven't decided on anything yet but this looked intresting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cerdisa Chalet

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 2:21PM
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We are planning to use the LVP in our townhouse, which is currently carpeted (just purchased - we renovate and move in soon). All the pros tell us to go with engineered wood. Well we had engineered woo in our last condo - it was pretty but it scratched and dented VERY easily. We lived there less than 2 years and it was impossible not to mar it. It is also extremely water sensitive you can't even use a mop on it, damp cloth only.

On top of that, wood costs many times more to purchase and to install. LVP can be installed by an amateur (which is why pros don't like it I guess). So what if it doesn't "add to the value" of the house - few renovations actually add to sales price anyway. Homes accumulate in value to to schools, neighborhoods and local economy not due to flooring choices - you will never get back what you put in to a home in upgrades.

Wood is loud and messy to install - sawing, dust, hammering.

So what if the LVP doesn't add to the home value and doesn't last 50 years? It is so much cheaper you can put it in and the next person can replace it if they want to.

No you don't hear realtors bragging about vinyl in houses, but you also don't hear realtors bragging about small rooms or outdated cabinets - but it's not always within the means or control of the homeowner to make everything "bragworthy".

Put in the floor you want, a practical attractive and affordable floor.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:07PM
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