Suppose you’re planning to lay new flooring and you have decided you want the look and practicality of wood. Beautiful grain patterns, easy to keep clean and maintain, works well in any room; what’s not to love? But now you have to decide between engineered oak or the relatively new LVT WPC (luxury vinyl tile wood plastic composite). So let’s compare the two side by side to make the decision easier.
What is LVT WPC flooring?
Before we go any further, let’s just make sure we know what we are talking about here. LVT stands for luxury vinyl tile more can be found out in our last post. (Also known as LVP, luxury vinyl plank.) WPC stands for wood plastic composite, and this is the key to everything. WPC flooring is a step up from regular vinyl because it uses a rigid core layer of composite wood pulp and plastic material which affords it superior properties over more traditional vinyls. It feels solid underfoot, is exceptionally water resistant, and incredibly hard wearing. While engineered oak, or other hardwood, offers the very best quality in a real natural wood floor, WPC flooring gives it a very hard run for the money.
So what are the differences when comparing WPC flooring and engineered oak side by side.
Cost – It probably won’t come as any surprise that WPC is considerably more economical than engineered hardwood. Coming in under the cost per square metre of even the least costly real hardwood options, the initial investment in WPC should come as a pleasant surprise.
Installations costs – The savings don’t end with the purchase price because installing WPC planks is relatively easy and quick, which means it is easier to do-it-yourself, or it is less costly for a professional flooring fitter to install. Either way, you should be saving all the way. Our LVT Wood Plastic Composite floor also comes with a built in 1mm thick acoustic underlay. This means that no additional underlay or glues are required for installation which is a further cost saving in comparison to engineered hardwood or many other LVT boards on the market.
Appearance – LVT wood plastic composite uses a vinyl top layer with a highly realistic print of your chosen wood finish. Nevertheless, this is one area where real hardwood scores in as much as the natural grain doesn’t repeat, and it can be stained and treated to give a natural lustre that can’t easily be replicated. After all, you don’t expect WPC to have everything its own way, do you?
Durability – LVT wood plastic composite is extremely durable and may be expected to provide decades of regular domestic use. In some respects it is even more durable than oak.
Longevity – When WPC planks are badly worn they can be replaced relatively easily, especially if you have retained a few leftovers from the original installation. Engineered oak, however, has the added advantage that it can be sanded down and refinished when it shows significant signs of wear. This also allows you to ring the changes by staining a different colour for a whole new look. To achieve that with WPC would require a completely new floor. It’s worth noting though that a high quality engineered oak or LVT floor should last decades in normal domestic use. Water resistance – While engineered oak offers a very high degree of water resistance if treated with the correct finish, even then best quality real wood product can’t beat the water resistance of WPC.
So, in conclusion, while engineered oak is still the number one choice overall, the cost savings and practicality of a high quality LVT wood plastic composite floor may well make it the default choice, especially in bathrooms and kitchens where there is likely to be more water spilled on the floor than in other rooms. Hopefully this gives you enough information to make the choice, but if you still have questions, we are always happy to help with expert advice.
About the author
Tom Fanthorpe. Director, JFJ Wood Flooring Ltd
Tom is one half of the father & son team behind JFJ Wood Flooring. An experienced wood flooring specialist with over 7 years in the industry, Tom is following in his father John's footsteps as a true expert in his chosen field. Having absorbed much of John's 35+ years of experience in the joinery and timber trade, Tom now leads the wood flooring department and holds ultimate responsibility for everything from customer service to sales, logistics to quality control.