December 17, 2022

Cost of Lifetime Ownership of Vinyl vs. Hardwood

blog > Resources > Cost of Lifetime Ownership of Vinyl vs. Hardwood


Many homeowners decide to change their floors, whether renovating their entire home or just looking for something different to spice up a single room. There are so many options to choose from, and it can be challenging to decide which one is right for you and your home.

Hardwood and vinyl floors are trendy among homeowners for their refined appearance and durability. Learn the difference between hardwood and vinyl and which option would be best suited to your lifestyle.

Defining Hardwood and Vinyl Flooring

Hardwood is a type of flooring made from planks milled from timber. Hardwood is solid wood from top to bottom with no synthetic materials added. Since hardwood flooring consists of natural wood, you can choose from various wood types, stains and finishes to achieve your vision.

Vinyl flooring is made from synthetic materials, such as fiberglass or PVC resin. There are three different types of vinyl flooring — sheet, tile and plank. The type you choose will depend on what appearance you want, but vinyl planks are often used to mimic the appearance of hardwood. However, they have a short life span and don’t hold up with the lifetime of a home as hardwood does. 

Hardwood vs. Vinyl Flooring

Hardwood and vinyl flooring each have their advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the differences between these flooring types can help you make an informed decision for your home. Here are the main factors you should consider when choosing between hardwood or vinyl:


Hardwood floors may require more maintenance, but they’re more durable than vinyl flooring in most cases. The difference in durability is due to the material that each flooring type is made from. A hardwood floor can last a lifetime as long as it is properly maintained and refinished when needed.

A vinyl floor only beats hardwood in terms of durability for moisture resistance. A hardwood floor is the best option for homeowners looking for a floor type that will last as long as their home.

Environmental Impact

While timber is harvested to create hardwood floors, they’re more environmentally friendly than you might think. You can repurpose a hardwood floor into something new, including additional flooring. You can use treatments with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when coating the floor to ensure the finished product is environmentally friendly.

On the other hand, vinyl floors come from PVC resin, which is not eco-friendly. This material often contains many VOCs, and once vinyl floors need to be replaced, you won’t be able to repurpose the old floor. The old floor is thrown away, contributing to waste.


Hardwood floors are slightly more expensive than vinyl flooring due to manufacturing costs. While hardwood floors increase the value of your home, the cost of purchase and installation can deter many homeowners from choosing this option, but keep in mind that hardwood flooring adds value to your home and up to 80% return on the initial investment. Vinyl flooring is less expensive since it’s easier to produce, but it will need replacing before hardwood floors. The exact price will vary based on what type of vinyl you select. Also keep in mind that vinyl adds zero value to your home.

While vinyl floors are cheaper upfront, they won’t hold up as long as hardwood floors. You’ll have to replace the vinyl after a while, costing you more in the long run. Hardwood can last your entire life if you perform regular maintenance, making it worth the investment.


Overall, hardwood floors are the more attractive option. Since they’re made from natural wood, they show realistic tones and grains depending on the trees used to produce the floor. Vinyl plank flooring is a good imitation of hardwood, but you can start to see the differences between the two flooring types on closer inspection. Vinyl floors will also degrade over time and need to be replaced, while hardwood floors can maintain their quality appearance for many decades.


Hardwood is more versatile with its customization options since there are multiple tree species, stains and finishes. You can customize your options to get the look you desire with hardwood. You’re limited to what the manufacturer produces with vinyl, meaning you won’t have as many options as you would with hardwood.


Hardwood is more complicated to install than vinyl, requiring more time and money. If you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive, vinyl may be better. However, vinyl will need to be replaced over the years, meaning you’ll need multiple installations. These costs can quickly add up. Hardwood floors can last your entire lifetime, so you’ll likely only need to install flooring once, with a few additional costs to replace a damaged plank here and there.

Lifetime Ownership of Hardwood vs. Vinyl Flooring

A few factors will contribute to how long your flooring will last, including:

  • Foot traffic levels
  • Quality of the materials
  • Proper installation methods
  • Consistency of regular maintenance

It’s challenging to predict the exact life span of your hardwood or vinyl floor since so many factors are at play. However, each type of floor has an estimated range to give you an idea of how long your investment will last.

In general, vinyl floors can last anywhere between five to 25 years, depending on the quality of the materials, installation and maintenance. It’s important to note that you can’t repair vinyl flooring, only replace it, so if a plank becomes damaged, you will need to have a professional come in and replace it to maintain your floor’s appearance.

Hardwood can last much longer than vinyl. Since hardwood is made from timber and installed with a finish, hardwood can last a lifetime. The glossy finish of the original floor will fade over time, but it can easily be refinished to bring it back to life. You’ll notice some fading with hardwood after about 25 years, but it can last up to 100 years if installed correctly.

Making the Best Decision for Your Home

When you’re trying to decide between vinyl vs. hardwood for your home, you should consider these factors:

  • Location and use: You can install vinyl and hardwood in any location. If you install hardwood in rooms with a lot of moisture, such as a kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want to protect your floor with a moisture barrier. You can apply a varnish or lacquer to add a protective layer between your floor and any excess moisture barrier and a good quality finish.
  • Maintenance: Hardwood will require more maintenance and care over its lifetime than vinyl, but hardwood can last decades when cared for properly.
  • Allergies: Hardwood and vinyl are suitable if you or someone in your home has allergies since they’re easy to clean and don’t trap allergens in the material the same way carpet would, but hardwood won’t require nearly as many replacements.
  • Refinishing: While vinyl floors can’t be repaired but only replaced, you can refinish a hardwood floor to bring it back to life. You can restore its original appearance after it’s faded and change the finish color if you want to try something new.
  • Installation: Depending on how soon you want to install your new floors, you can choose vinyl over hardwood for its quick and cost-effective installation or consider a pre-finished hardwood flooring rather than unfinished which will also allow for a quick installation. However, hardwood can be an excellent option if you’re willing to wait and put in the time since it will last longer and add more value to your home.
  • Additional costs: The cost of the floor itself is just one factor. You also need to consider the costs of delivery, installation and other materials, such as stains or adhesive. You’ll also want to account for the costs of removing your old floor. Finally, consider how long you want your floor to last and how frequently you’re willing to replace it.

The suitable choice will differ for each homeowner depending on their lifestyle and design preferences. Superior Hardwood of Montana offers both antique reclaimed lumber flooring and wide plank wood flooring to help you achieve your home renovation dreams.

Consider the lifetime cost when choosing between vinyl plank flooring or hardwood floors. Learn how Superior Hardwoods of Montana can bring your dreams to life!

Contact Us Today

Superior Hardwoods of Montana has been providing our customers with the finest flooring materials since 1977. Our reclaimed and antique materials add a little bit of history to your home. With our extensive in-stock inventory, you’ll find the perfect floor for your home. We ship anywhere in the United States, and our knowledgeable staff members provide excellent customer service, assisting you through any phase in your home renovation project.

Our customers are like family, and we’re with you to celebrate your home decor choices and lifestyle. Contact us today to learn more, get a free quote or request free samples!