Hardwood, Vinyl or Carpet?

Jan 19, 2016 | Blog, By ProSand Flooring

A quick comparison helps sort through cost, durability and function

Today’s homeowner has never had so many wonderful choices for quality flooring. From exotic hardwoods, to high-fashion vinyls, to carpet piles of every description, the choices can be overwhelming. The secret to finding the right flooring for you is knowing how you want the flooring to function in your space, and how you need it to coordinate with the rest of the home. This handy overview can help you sort it all out.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring is largely considered the gold standard among today’s homeowners, who value the durability, shine and easy cleanup hardwood offers for busy homes. In general, hardwood stands up to pet toenails, small children, and most household spills. Clean up is often just a swiffer with hardwood cleaner and a flat mop. It can be used in nearly any room, so it makes a great choice for unifying large open concept homes. It is important to note, however, that hardwood is generally not recommended for any basement or area in your home that is considered “below grade,” due to moisture and temperature fluctuations that can damage the wood.

Solid Harwood Floors

When buying solid hardwood, it is important to consider the wood it is made of. Choose harder woods, like maple, oak and hickory which stand the test of time well. If they do get dinged up, solid hardwoods can be sanded down and refinished several times before they are too worn to repair. At $6 to $15 a foot, solid hardwoods are not cheap, but they will generally be a once in a lifetime purchase for your home that will never need replacing.

Engineered Harwood Floors

Engineered hardwood is hardwood that is created through veneer over many plys of wood. The advantage of engineered hardwood is that it often comes prefinished, with no smells and dust to endure during installation. Its finish is more consistent and harder, and the wood expands and contracts less than solid hardwood varieties.

Engineered hardwoods generally run from $4 to $18 a square foot, so they aren’t necessarily cheaper than their solid wood counterparts. They can only be refinished once. But, many engineered hardwood varieties are approved for using below grade, so it can give you some extra options in your home design.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is beautiful and economical choice for your home, especially in areas that get wet or a have a lot of use, like mud rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms and basements. At just $1 to $7 a square foot, vinyl is by far your most budget-friendly flooring option. And today’s vinyl floors are leaps and bounds above the vinyl from just 20 years ago, sporting many exciting fashion forward designs or wood-like looks. Be advised, however, that cheaper vinyls can yellow with age, and vinyl tiles can start to turn up at the edges. Choose your higher end vinyls for maximum durability.


There’s nothing like carpet to be soft, warm, and quiet underfoot. And today’s carpets offer a staggering variety of options, from funky, fluffy shag to tightly wound Berbers, in prices generally running $2 to $15 installed. With carpet, you can truly take your home’s look in any color or texture you want it to go.

While today’s carpets often come with excellent stain resistant coatings, they are still among the most stain and wear prone options for your floors – a consideration if you have children or pets. Carpets also come in different grade levels that can tolerate different levels of wear. So make sure you talk to us about how your carpets will be used, and we can help you make all the right choices.

About the Author


Carl is the guy to ask when it comes to flooring. He started in hardwood refinishing 30-plus years ago, earned his stripes and used what he’d learned to become an expert on hardwood refinishing, solid and engineered hardwood installation, carpet, ceramic tile, laminate and vinyl flooring installation. You’ll find his work in universities, hospitals, professional sports venues, state museums and theaters, pubs, and of course, homes throughout the state.

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