Engineered Hardwood Vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring: Which is Better?

By Samuel N •  Updated: 10/28/22 • 

Vinyl plank flooring has become popular because it mimics hardwood plank flooring. Vinyl plank flooring is a cheaper alternative for homeowners who prefer a woody look but cannot afford the cost of hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring is also an affordable option that is made to look and mimic hardwood flooring.

Both vinyl and engineered hardwood flooring are durable, have better moisture resistance, can be easily installed, and are pet friendly compared to hardwood floors. However, which is better between these two types of flooring material?

To be considered engineered wood, the decorative top layer should be natural wood. This is unlike laminate and vinyl floorings, where the decorative layer is a high-quality wood print. The decorative or hardwood layer on engineered wood flooring can be of any thickness. However, a thicker layer will last longer and can be sanded several times.

Walnut Engineered Wood Flooring

Walnut Engineered Wood Flooring

A good quality engineered wood flooring should last about 25-30 years. It is also less expensive compared to hardwood floorings. For DIYers, it is easy to install, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of engineered wood flooring.

Installing Vinyl Flooring Planks

Installing Vinyl Flooring Planks

At a basic level, vinyl plank flooring comes with three layers, which include a wear surface, the pattern or design, and the base or core layer. Although a thicker vinyl plank flooring was considered better, the introduction of SPC vinyl plank flooring has made them thinner and also incredibly durable.

Engineered Hardwood Vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring

Cost & Installation

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to solid hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood and vinyl plank flooring are good options.

Engineered wood flooring per square foot is around $4 to $10. The cost ranges from about $2 to $7 per square foot for vinyl plank flooring. The price can be higher depending on the type, quality, and other factors.

Ipe engineered wood flooring

LPE Engineered Wood Flooring

The cost for installation is almost equal for engineered hardwood and vinyl plank floorings. However, if you are a DIY enthusiast, vinyl plank is the best way to go. Vinyl plank can be installed using two methods. One is with a floating floor, which is helpful if the planks have a tongue and groove design. The second is using an adhesive to stick them to the floor.


Regarding durability, vinyl plank flooring is perfect for a home with children and pets. This is because it is more resistant to damage and scratches. It is also 100% waterproof, making it a good choice for humid and moisture-ridden rooms like bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry. However, be aware when putting on heavy furniture and appliances because vinyl planks can dent or tear due to weight.

Engineered hardwood is also reasonably durable and can resist moisture to a certain degree. It is also resistant to other damages like dings and tears. However, because the top layer is made of hardwood, it can scratch and become visible.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Vinyl plank flooring is easier to clean and maintain because of its water resistance qualities. Daily cleaning is possible with a broom and even a vacuum. Heavy cleaning with a mop or mild cleaner is also an option. Maintenance of vinyl plank flooring is also very little.

Mopping Floors

Mopping Floors

For engineered hardwood flooring, special care is required when cleaning them. You can sweep and vacuum, but for heavier cleaning, use a damp cloth or a recommended special cleaner. Regarding maintenance, engineered hardwood flooring can be repaired with wood putty in case of dents or restained. It can also be sanded following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Styles and Varieties

Engineered hardwood has an extensive selection of styles. You can choose from different species, finish, grain, and grades. For vinyl plank flooring, the styles and varieties are practically limitless. Because of this, you have access to a greater selection to choose from.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.