You want an elegant, hardwood look for the floor in your living room. But wood floors can be expensive. There is another option, though: luxury vinyl planks can be made to look exactly like hardwood flooring, at a fraction of the cost. Is LVP flooring right for your home? Here are some things to consider.

Pros of LVP Flooring

In addition to being cheaper than hardwood planks, vinyl flooring is a lot easier to maintain. While wood requires special cleaning products to keep it looking nice, and must be waxed regularly, vinyl is waterproof, which means it can be cleaned with a simple mop. LVP flooring is also easier to install, and can even be a DIY project. A good quality wood installation is generally best left to a professional.

Finally, vinyl is incredibly versatile. You can get vinyl planks in virtually any color or style. Whatever type of wood you want your floor to look like, from cherry to walnut to oak to ebony, LVP flooring can mimic that aesthetic for a fraction of the cost.

Cons of LVP Flooring

While there are a number of benefits to vinyl flooring, there are also some ways in which it falls short of hardwood. For one thing, while wood may be more expensive, it’s an investment. Hardwood floors add value to your home, while vinyl doesn’t.

Vinyl also fades when exposed to sunlight, and that natural wood look begins to look less natural over time. Wood can fade too, after a while, but if that happens, it can always be refinished to make it look as good as new. Vinyl planks are extremely thin, as well. Depending on the type of subfloor you’re laying them over, it might not be the most comfortable underfoot.

There’s also an issue of durability. Softer woods are prone to scratching, but harder woods can hold up to all sorts of wear and tear, and last for many years. Vinyl, on the other hand, can become dented under the weight of heavy furniture. It’s also prone to tearing and other damage.

The good news is, if a section of your vinyl floor does become damaged, it’s easy to replace just a single, damaged plank, without needing to rip up the entire floor. That’s a luxury that hardwood doesn’t provide.

Additionally, if you want a more durable option when it comes to vinyl flooring, you can always get engineered vinyl planks. EVP flooring is a type of LVP, but thicker and stronger. There’s a layer of vinyl on top, followed by a layer of high density core board, which can stand up to a lot more wear and tear. Then underneath that is a layer of cork or similar material to act as a cushion and make the floor more comfortable to walk on.

These are just a few of the factors to consider when looking at LVP flooring. There are a lot of choices to make when choosing between vinyl and wood. Do you want something inexpensive to buy and install, or something that will cost a lot, but add value to your home? Do you want something that’s easy to take care of, or something that will require more work, but last longer?

Talk to a flooring expert to help you sort through these issues and decide whether or not luxury vinyl plank flooring is right for you, and what color and style would look best with your home’s décor.