For Atlanta homeowners looking to upgrade, it’s likely that it’s time to move away from wall-to-wall carpeting and invest in hard surface flooring — that’s been the trend over the past 10-20 years as people started preferring the many benefits of a hard surface over carpet. Or it’s possible that you’re a homeowner that already has a hard floor and simply want to replace it; perhaps it’s faded, damaged, or you just want a change.

Benefits of Vinyl Tile Flooring


In either case, the choice often comes down to true hardwood flooring or vinyl tile and plank: Both have their pros and cons, but in many circumstances, we often find vinyl tiles (LVT and LVP) — interlocking engineered pieces that are easy to install — to be the better fit, and in fact, we are quite fond of the Armstrong line of vinyl tiling here at Professional Installed Floors.

Your Vinyl Options


Vinyl flooring comes primarily in three forms: tiles, planks, and sheets. Sheets are flooring that rolls out similar to wrapping paper and are cut to fit. There is some overlap with tiles and planks in terms of functionality; both are essentially interlocking pieces, with the shape and texture being the main difference. The tile is made to mimic natural stone, ceramic and porcelain tile while planks are made to mimic natural wood, and usually come on rectangular pieces. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus mostly on tiles with a little dip into planks.

Vinyl Flooring Benefits


Those sum up the benefits of hardwood — and if you just like hardwood floors, it’s hard to take away that intangible quality. However, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of vinyl flooring. The pros often outweigh the cons, and they provide more flexibility (literally and figuratively) than hardwood floors.

Cost


Sometimes it all comes down to money. Going with vinyl flooring delivers a completed project at a fraction of the cost of hardwood flooring — in fact, when you factor in installation and finishing of hardwood, your average vinyl flooring tops out between $4.85 – $ 6.50 a square foot while hardwood flooring can be as high as $ 6.25 – $ 20.00 a square foot. So that’s less than half the cost, and that’s taking a top-of-the-line cost. If you’re simply looking for something that’s functional yet economical, an average cost is about $5 per square foot, and it can go even lower.

We recommend: Armstrong’s Luxe line of vinyl flooring offers incredible durability and value. Available in both tile and plank, Luxe products provide significant flexibility with a wide range of looks and feels, making it the perfect choice for those wanting to maximize functionality and budget.


Waterproof


Vinyl flooring ranges from water resistive to waterproof depending on how it’s engineered. That whole spectrum is better than hardwood flooring, which is naturally porous and susceptible to moisture damage. Not only does that limit their application (you can’t use them in a bathroom for sure, and probably not a kitchen unless you’re very careful and diligent about cleaning), it impacts how you act around them, especially with kids. Vinyl flooring breaks free of that limitation, providing flooring that can even be used around a shower or bath tub, allowing for easy clean-up and peace of mind.

We recommend: Many of the top brands offer 100% waterproof vinyl flooring. In particular, Palmetto Road highlights waterproofing as one of the key elements behind Tidewater and Barrier 20 lines (plank only). Tidewater is for residential use while Barrier 20 is for commercial use such as restaurants and bars.

Variable Aesthetics


Maybe you want your floor to look like a traditional warm wood — but maybe you love the color of driftwood, or a deeper wood hue. With vinyl and other engineered flooring, there is greater access to these types of looks, and a larger catalog in general with the options that you’ll need (e.g. the waterproofing mentioned above).

We recommend: With many top-of-the-line brands to choose from, it’s possible to find an aesthetic that matches your vision, no matter what it is. Armstrong focuses on a smaller catalog at a luxury premium, while Coretec’s numerous lines offer a range of aesthetic and size options: tile, plank, enhanced/plus lines, and extra sizes (extra large, extra long, extra wide).

Dent Resistance


Natural hardwood flooring is susceptible to the same vulnerabilities you’ll find in any wood. Wood simply isn’t that hard of a substance, even when it’s treated to be used as flooring. Thus, in a busy home, it’s going to be put at risk to dents, chips, and damage. Depending on your situation, this may or may not be a big deal. However, if your home has children who drop toys or sports equipment, women who wear heels, animals — especially big dogs — or just clumsy people that may drop dishes or glasses, vinyl flooring is probably a smarter, safer choice. Engineered with a protective coating at the top layer, vinyl flooring is designed specifically for durability against impact resistance. When you’re putting your flooring up against all of the possible dangers of everyday family life, it’s the best way to go.

We recommend: All engineered vinyl flooring offers a level dent protection that can’t be replicated with natural hardwood. The cream of the crop is Armstrong’s PRYZM Luxury Plank, which is scratch resistant up to 2500 PSI. For more information, see our previous feature on PRYZM.

UV Protection


No flooring is 100% protected against sun fading, but hardwood flooring is susceptible to UV fading due to its natural properties. With vinyl flooring, it’s much easier to put technology as a barrier against the sunlight thanks to a top layer designed to resist the harsh impacts of UV rays. This means stronger protection against fading due to UV exposure. Depending on the volume of sun exposure, there’s no 100% guarantee, but it will make a marked difference.

We recommend: Armstrong vinyl flooring is engineered to be resistant to UV light. For more information on that, we recommend visiting Armstrong’s FAQ or contacting us.

Easier Installation


If you’re an experienced DIYer, you can probably install a vinyl tile floor by yourself — it’s certainly a lot of work, but with the right tools and preparation, it can be done. Hardwood flooring, though, is a different beast. It requires much more experience during the installation, along with a more unique set of tools. In most cases, hardwood flooring requires the use of an outside specialized service. However, if you’ve got the time and muscle, you can do your vinyl flooring yourself through thorough foundation preparation and interlocking tiles.

We recommend: As long as you’re going with a good brand, installation should be straightforward for experienced DIYers, as well as fairly standard when hiring outside contractors. We recommend seeing the different installation options for vinyl products; Armstrong and Home Legend both offer extensive information online.


Come See for YourselfWhether you’re convinced on vinyl floors or still need to discuss it further, we invite you to come into our Marietta showroom to see the possibilities. At Professional Installed Floors, we’re happy to give you an initial consultation to help you weigh all of your needs: budget, preferences, time, and all the other factors that come into modeling your home.