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flooring woes solid hardwood VS LVP

M R
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Yes I realize there are many threads about this. I've read them all. I just want someone to talk my off my personal cliff here.

We are building a new home this year. Our "forever" home. I've always planned on solid hardwoods because that's what I've known. In particular I have planned on white oak with a natural finish. I've managed to get an employee discount on these floors through a friend who works at a flooring store. So I feel like we're getting a steal on these floors. For the sake of this conversation, we are not considering engineered wood. Not a fan.


But as it gets closer, part of me wonders if I like the idea of hardwood more than I actually like hardwood. Our current hardwoods are in rough shape. We have two young wild things and two senior dogs. A previous senior dog developed Cushing's in his later years and bless his heart ruined our kitchen floors with pee. We replaced them with new hardwood, but alas, a different floor, a different senior dog developing urinary issues. We will always have dogs. My kids have not messed up the floor that much other than one or two rogue skateboarding incidents (not kidding), but I have by spilling a gallon of water! I cleaned it up right away but the damage was done. It's not pretty, reclaimed looking floor damage. This is just not pretty damage.


Given that, and the fact that our new build will be on a working farm, I'm considering LVP. My thoughts are that I don't want to stress over a floor. I also don't want to spend a ton of money on brand new floors and have them messed up in a year. I want my kids to be able to run and play without me panicking over the floors. So LVP for the win right?! We are looking at the Provenza Moda collection.


But, LVP won't be there in 100 years. It won't become a part of the story of our house when we're gone. It's not "authentic" farmhouse. It doesn't have the same feel. Although resell is not a concern, I don't want to "cheapen" the house we've waited so long for. It's FAKE and there's no way around that. I can tell the difference in a heartbeat. So, can I get over the fakeness?! I know this is a question no one can answer for me, but I'd love to hear opinions regarding my dilemma!


Thank you for allowing my brain dump, I'm so stuck on this decision!

Comments (49)

  • richfield95
    2 years ago

    Are you planning on doing the same flooring throughout the entire house or are you open to multiple floors? For instance a tile in the kitchen and hardwood everywhere else.

  • tryingtounderstand
    2 years ago

    Have you ever seen 100yr old LVP, lol. In my opinion, there is nothing like site finished wood floors. Trust your gut and the story of your house will be there for your grandkids. (:

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  • bbtrix
    2 years ago

    I have both hardwood and LVP in my home, have my toddler grandson every day and have a 99 lb lab. My grandson rides his trike on the hardwood and of course all the massive trucks, balls, etc. Mine has held up well. I would never choose LVP over hardwood. I only chose LVP in my lower level because of potential water issues.

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Sounds like your floors get far more than normal wear and tear! I have had site-finished hardwood floors in every room in my house (except baths) and I have dogs. And those dogs sometimes have accidents. However, they are usually cleaned up ptomptly, plus I chose to have high gloss polyurethane on all my floors, and it wears far better than satin. Pre-finished flooring does not wear as well as site-finished.

  • ci_lantro
    2 years ago

    Farm, kids, dogs = LVP, as far as I'm concerned.


    But, LVP won't be there in 100 years. It won't become a part of the story of our house when we're gone.


    You have already replaced hardwood with hardwood & the new hardwood was damaged w/ urine. So it's not like a hardwood floor in the new house is going to be there in 100 years either. That is, if the house isn't a parking lot in a century...



  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Ok, so yes we are planning on one floor throughout, except for tile in our mudroom/bathrooms/and laundry. I prefer something softer than tile in the kitchen.


    Interesting to hear about site finished wearing better....I've always assumed prefinished would be best because of the "UV oven" and aluminum oxide coating. I don't really like the look of high glass and would prefer a matte finish.


    And to clarify, we do clean up our messes right away, but the urine has always been at night so it has set over night :( But, even so, still 100% agree our floors do see more wear and tear than average.

  • hazelcraddock
    2 years ago

    Question - LVP is plank right? So wouldn't the dog urine seep between the planks and soak what ever underlayment is used? We had a click together tpye (pergo?) floor with thin foam underneath when we moved into current house and old dog urine seeped through. Replaced that with hardwood and it seems liquids remain on top of the wood and if it seeps through the gaps (usually winter when boards shrink a bit) I would feel better about using a liquid oder mute enzyme product and fan to dry those areas than I had with the vinyl planks. Is there any merit in this or am I totally wrong? Maybe it's psychological. With the stained vinyl planks I imagined years of stain and dirt and plastic product underneath whereas with hardwood I always think it would be worthwhile to fix any problem even to replacing some wood boards if ever necessary.

  • SJ McCarthy
    2 years ago

    And easy way to hide urine stains (and scalding water stains) is: a lighter mid-tone finish. NOT natural and NOT matte.


    Matte can be a NIGHTMARE to live with. Foot prints are almost GUARANTEED. Imagine a working farm that has FOOT PRINTS (bare feet, stocking feet, slipped feet, pet feet, shod feet, you name it feet) every single time someone steps on the floor.


    NIGHTMARE!


    Remember: animal urine will turn wood a darker tone (urine is yellow as a liquid...but dries to an light amber). This is easily disguised with a MID TONE wood floor. The staining will still occur but the VISUAL appearance of it will be lessened by 50%. Yep. It will look 50% LESS worrisome just by having a mid-tone stain on the wood.


    A satin or semi-gloss is MUCH easier to live with than matte. The two extremes are matte and gloss (or high gloss). Like all extremes they are DIVAS (anyone seen a rap video?).


    Go with solid. Go with NARROW plank white oak (traditional width = easy to repair in 10 years when you have to find an unfinished wood to use as a repair). And work with a satin for a LOW gloss option or a semi-gloss as a HIGH gloss option.


    I always ask: are you a 'shiny clean' person? That is to say, are you someone who believes a NEWLY CLEANED FLOOR should look shiny? Does "shine" = "clean" in your mind? If it does, then go for semi-gloss. A satin will upset you because it dulls down within hours of cleaning. A matte floor will drive you to DRINK (it never looks shiny even with water on it).


    Shiny-clean people will OVER CLEAN their low-gloss floors simply because they are trying to get a LUSTER out of a lusterLESS floor. We've seen matte finished RUINED by over cleaning. Like inside of 2 years ruined = full sand/refinish = $7/sf if the factory finish contains Aluminum Oxide!!!! That's the type of ruin we have seen when a shiny-clean owner owns a matter or satin floor.


    Buyer be ware.

  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Yes, LVP is plank. I know it is advertised as waterproof, so I assume liquid would not seep through but maybe this is incorrect. With the hardwoods in our current kitchen that we ended up replacing, we were told we wouldn't be able to sand the dark areas out (due to ammonia I think). So urine is very very bad for hardwood to the point it may not be able to be refinished in some cases. We could have replaced those boards but chose not to go that route due to some other issues. Our dog doesn't have accidents OFTEN, but maybe once or twice a month? Enough to cause some issues with the floor.

  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Such interesting insight SJ, I am not a shiny squeaky clean person but neither am I thrilled with the prospects of foot prints all the time! I'm attaching a photo of the white oak we are considering, It is described as a "low-gloss", so maybe that's more of a stain than a matte? I haven't gotten that far at this point.


  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    And here is a photo of the provenza...


  • sheepla
    2 years ago

    In my opinion, hardwoods!

    We live on a farm and recently bought a house and put down LVP. We did this only because we knew we were adding an addition in about five years and could do hardwoods throughout then. LVP was better than what was there (carpet and laminate) so it will do for the short term (plus we'll be able to move it to our basement when we put hardwoods upstairs so it wasn't wasted money) but there is no question it feels like walking on plastic floors.


    So, having recently gone through a similar exercise as you, I don't exactly regret the LVP since I knew it was short term, but it still makes me sad every time I see it.

  • AnnKH
    2 years ago

    I am a dog lover.


    That said, it seems to me that the dogs pose the biggest threat to your floors. If your dog is peeing on the floor during the night, it might be time to confine him to a certain area - where the floor is protected. Maybe it's a scrap of sheet vinyl, or a shower curtain, with a throw rug over the top - anything that will keep moisture away from the floor where the dog spends the night.

  • bbtrix
    2 years ago

    70 year old site finished red oak in our rentals. DH refinished 7 years ago. They are still beautiful in spite of tons of abuse from renters and animals.

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    2 years ago

    My high gloss site finished floors are far from being a diva! S9 easy to keep dust free and clean and no do urine ever penetrates that finish (and yes, there have been puddles over the years. No discoloring either.

  • Design Girl
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I can't think of a single instance where LVP would be in anyones dream home. Hardwood all the way.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    2 years ago

    IMO if you get a more rustic looking finish on the hardwood that might solve the issues . I have 3 huge dogs the smallest is 70 lbs I have had laminate in the last house and in this one and LVP in the walkout basement in this one . They both have stood up with not one scratch for 12 yrs dogs playing everywhere in and out of a doggie door to a dog run in all kinds of weather a damp mop and they look like new. I think if you are worried get what works with your life and the next guy can do what he likes. Memories are not made by the floor in your home. BTW my laminate in this house is not wood look but slate look and everyone thinks it is slate even has a bit of texture.

  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Do you think in this case character grade white oak would work better than select grade?

  • live_wire_oak
    2 years ago

    Hickory or ash would be harder, with more color and grain variation. Those are useful characteristics to people with pets. So are nail clippers and structured exercise. For incontinent pets, Nothing beats a “dog’s room” with a built in pet gate, done in sheet vinyl, coved up the wall, like a hospital.

  • Kimberly G
    2 years ago

    We have hand scraped hickory downstairs and white oak upstairs. No carpet. It is holding up well to our Doberman. There are scratches but you don't notice them.

  • zthar
    2 years ago

    I am having a very similar brain battle. My heart wants wood; my pocketbook says LVP. Tile is another option if I can find one I love. I currently have all wood floors in my home (building a new home in another state.) To get the hardwood I have to give up a few things which I really don't want to do.


    In the end, I'll go with what makes me happiest because if I don't I'll be staring at a floor I don't like for a very long time.

  • chispa
    2 years ago

    I am also debating engineered wood vs tile. I have 3 dogs, so tile would make the most sense, but the dogs, if we are lucky, will be around for another 10-12 years, so I don't think I want to make a long term flooring choice for a pet situation that won't be long term.

  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    For us, we’re always going to be dog people. So if not these particular dogs....it could be another.

    Seems like the consensus is leaning towards hardwood though. Still trying to commit.

  • chispa
    2 years ago

    MR, I agree that there could still be more dogs in the future, but it would only be one smaller one and would not be 2 high energy 65lb shepherd mixes at the same time. Adding a second big high energy dog increased exponentially the indoor wrestling and mad dashes out the back door to chase critters.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 years ago

    Who cares what is going to be there in 100 years, you will be dead.


    Your children and the dog don't really care what material is on the floor as long as you are happy and paying attention to them.


    They have it right - the love in the home and the joy of being together is so much more important than what is on the floor.


    Make the decision based on which is going to bring the most joy to the home. Will you be sad every time you look at the LVP or will you worried and unhappy if you get hard wood and the dog or the kids mess it up?



  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Well as ridiculous as this sounds, I keep thinking years from now when hopefully one of my kids is living at this house, they’ll think “man I wish mom would have just sprung for real hardwood” as they rip it all up to redo it. Ok, even more ridiculous when I type it out, but that’s the level of crazy this house planning process has driven me to.

    I think LVP would be easier for our lifestyle now. But we truly are building this house with future generations in mind too since that would be the dream.

    But yes, ultimately when we move in, I bet I’ll hardly think about my decision. It is JUST a floor and not what my kids will remember about our home. I’m not generally a pessimistic or regretful person and will probably love either. It’s the agonizing “before” phase when I’m making a million decisions that’s got me hair brained.

  • chispa
    2 years ago

    MR, don't beat yourself up, most of us are also debating the pros and cons of different options and coming up with all kinds of crazy!

    My first choice would be site finished hardwood floors. I have always lived in houses with those, and never had an issue, but new house will be completely on a slab, so it has to be engineered wood.

  • Kim Guenther
    2 years ago

    I did site finished hardwoods on a slab. Have to build a subfloor, but here in Oklahoma we have absolutely no issues with site finished hardwoods on a slab.

  • mojomom
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Ok, Design Girl, I have LVP in our dream home and love it with three big dogs in and out constantly and snow six months out of the year. Relative costs was not even a factor in the decision, although it was a nice bonus. You can see them and the rest of the house HERE. Two years in and still look new. Don’t get me wrong, I love hardwoods and I’ve always had site finished hardwoods in the past, but the advantages of LVP work for us best at this point. I do recommend that even though they my not require glue down, do it anyway. A side benefit no one has mentioned is that LVP is very easy on your back and legs and with our heated floors feels great on our feet.

  • M R
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    The costs are not a factor in our case either since we'd be getting such a deal on the hardwood. It's close to the same cost per sq ft! Install will obviously be more with hardwood, but that isn't my concern in this decision. I just want to get the best floor for us.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    2 years ago

    We are a family with three wild kids and a golden retriever. We also have a ride on toy loving nephew who frequents our home. We have engineered hardwood and love it. It’s imperfect for sure but the colour, finish, style makes it utterly unnoticeable. In our basement we have LVP.

  • whaas_5a
    2 years ago

    I’ve looked at 100s of LVP and you picked a good one with Provenza. That along with Hallmark are the most realistic.


    Is budget an issue? I have LVP in basement and overall its nice For the application. Hardwood upstairs - cost $7K more.


    We have 5 animals in the house. Two human kids and 3 labs. Site finished will scratch to hell on site finished no matter what. I trim and and exercise weekly and that helps but doesn’t do much to tell you the truth.


    Someone made a good point that piss sits on the hardwood except in winter when you get a few small gaps.


    If you‘re dead set on a clean low variant look you‘ll need to go with LVP.


    If you’re ok with a more rustic look go with hardwood. Hickory is a good choice.


    Basement LVP



    Upstairs - satin, mid tone with variation is a must with big dogs. Scratches mainly standout when the sun hits the floor. This floor has been pissed on many times by a rescue and by a puppy.



  • Love stone homes
    2 years ago

    Whaas beautiful floors. What is the manufacturer of your hickory hardwood. Thsnks

  • whaas_5a
    2 years ago

    The hardwood hickory shown is good ol site finish with commercial grade finish. Just couldn’t find a color that spoke to me with eng options.

  • Love stone homes
    2 years ago

    Thank you whaas. Site finished is always the best

  • Christiane Minnick
    last year

    Did you decide? I'm going through the same question in my small home. I will always have dogs and the wood floors have suffered terribly in the 5 years I've lived here. Not just surface scratches but more like long, thin gouges everywhere. Maybe not completely noticeable until you see the floor at a certain light, but, I see them all. Also some dark, almost black stains from a geriatric dog who has now passed. I'm worried that if I refinish the floors, they'll end up scratched/gouged in just another few years. Every time I see LVP I think how nice it looks. I seriously wonder if I should put it over my beat up wood floors. Maybe there's a harder product (like bamboo) I could consider but then we're probably talking big $$.

  • SJ McCarthy
    last year

    @ Christiane - Do you have site finished floors? Or are they factory finished?

  • Christiane Minnick
    last year

    @SJ McCarthy They'd have to be site-finished... The house is from 1950 and seems to have had carpet at one point (remnants are in the attic being used for insulation). Not sure if they were put in after 1950. They were obviously refinished at some point as the two bedrooms had darker stain (never refinished, perhaps) and the living/dining rooms were lighter. The refinishing job wasn't too great, honestly, I saw some gritty stuff adhered to the top coat in one corner, like they just went over some dirt.


  • SJ McCarthy
    last year

    My instincts tell me the floors only have two coats on them. This is my biggest issue with the two cost system. It is too easy to damage. I would look at a buff and coat. That will get you the third cost that is needed to get the right amount of finish.

  • M R
    Original Author
    last year

    @Christiane Minnick we did decide on lvp! It’s actually a spc product called paradigm. Ultimately I made my decision based on my own experience and a stroll through my home- my hardwoods look pretty terrible with scratches, dents, wearing finish etc- whereas my one bathroom with LVP still looks perfect. I decided at this stage in my life (young kids and dogs) I don’t want to worry about the floors. Such a burden lifted from my shoulders. They will be installed next month!

  • Christiane Minnick
    last year

    @M R Cool! What colorway? And will you post pics?

  • M R
    Original Author
    last year

    Sure! we went with Paradigm conquest line in color Citadel.

  • mojomom
    last year

    Christine, our experience was that bamboo doesn’t play well with indoor/outdoor dogs. We had it in our prior vacation home. I think we installed it in 2005 and sold the home in 2017. You are correct that it is hard and even with big dogs we didn’t have any problems with scratches, but the discoloration around the doggie door path was horrible. We used mats, but in our snowy climate the dogs still brought in lots of moisture past the mats. Three years in and three big dogs, I still love our LVP in our new house.

  • Jo And
    last year

    @M R Like everyone else, I've been torturing myself with trying to make a decision on flooring. I saw you post on a different thread that you were considering using a mix of Paradigm Tower and Windsor. It looks like you've landed on Citadel. Can I ask what influenced your final decision? Tower, Windsor and Citadel are the three I keep flipping among. Thank you!

  • M R
    Original Author
    last year

    yes! I decided ultimately I didn’t want the upkeep of hardwood. Our lifestyle is currently better suited for lvp. A mixture of Windsor and tower was my first choice but they were both back ordered for too long for it to work for my project. By default I then went to my “third” choice or second choice, I guess you could say and go with citadel. It is being installed next week and I’m very happy with the boxes I have seen. It has zero orange undertones in my house which was my biggest fear. It is neutral and in my thoughts maybe a more timeless choice than the cooler toned (with gray hints) Windsor and tower.

  • booty bums
    last year

    I'm perplexed by the comments about hardwood flooring not holding up or not wearing well.

    I've been in my house for over a decade, with 2 kids and a small dog, and my hardwood floors have held up just fine.


    The main problem seems to be the OP's abuse of the flooring...

    Why are kids skateboarding INSIDE the house, on multiple occasions?

    Why are dogs allowed to piss all over the floor, on multiple occasions?

    No flooring, besides maybe hospital grade sheet vinyl, will hold up to this abuse.


    These are easy fixes...

    No skateboarding in the house.

    Dogs that aren't house-trained are confined (doors, baby gates, ect.) to areas they will not ruin.

  • jeri
    last year

    @M R - I too am looking at this for all the same reasons. I’ve seen other threads on houzz that have issue with planks between lots not clicking together and causing problems. Have you read this too? Are you at all concerned? Did you get all your planks from one lot?


    Please be sure to let us know how the installation goes and gift us with lots of pictures!

  • Aphaea
    last year
    last modified: last year

    You know, to me "fake" is not that big of a deal in some things where cleaning or lifespan can be an issue. Yes, like you, I would love authentic everything including hardwood floors. But I have cats. I always have and I always will. They bring absolute joy to my life. I have lost all three in the last couple of years, Amara my most recent loss left us last week, but more will come.

    I also want beautiful things around me. My description of my home is "comfortable elegance." Neither word has any more emphasis than the other; both are essential to creating a home I love and love to share. But cleaning and damage is a big deal too. I have no intention of spending a lot of time that would require high maintenance.

    I look at my faux Christmas tree as gorgeous even without the scent. (I buy real wreaths to hang high enough so the cats cannot get to them just so I can get the scent.) I look at my LVP flooring as incredibly beautiful because I got a color I like and any accidents including hairballs are easy to wipe up and I never have to worry about it. (Ditto if the washer ever fails.)

    If you compare one to the other you may find yourself adding regret and judgmental attitudes to your perspective. But if you acknowledge their differences and choose one, based upon the advantages you prefer, then I think you might find you will have few if any regrets. You won't mourn what you can't have (both easy care and real hardwood) but instead you will embrace and celebrate what you did choose because it makes you happy. And that is all that matters.