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5 Best LVP Floors & Why They’re Better than Hardwood

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) floors are a disruptive flooring technology that replaces typical hardwood floors and tiles. The best LVP floors are so perfect it’s hard to distinguish them from real hardwood floors.

LVP flooring is waterproof, less expensive, and faster and easier to install than wood or tile. Even the high-end residential market discovered LVP floors last year. It works in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms as well as living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and anywhere in the house except for stairs.

You can install LVP in humid water-logged markets such as Florida and other tropical locations throughout the world.  It looks great, is easy to install over the tile and other flat surfaces, and is easy to remove if you decide to remodel.

Below is the Floorte Palatino Plus Museum LVP flooring, which was discontinued.  It looks good and has held up very well to our 2 dogs and five young adult and teenage kids.

We have this floor in our kitchen, living room, dining room, and a couple of bathrooms.  I show it so you can see how it looks after four years.  I’m very happy with it.

Kitchen with warm wood LVP floors
Photo by K. Geha

What are Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) floors?

LVP floors are made from vinyl planks with high def photos of hardwood floors that look absolutely real. The best LVP floors look so much like real hardwood they’re basically indistinguishable. Planks are usually 36” to 48” long and 5-7” wide, and come in a rainbow of LVP color options and styles. Luxury Vinyl Planks usually have 4 layers.  Layers include a tough clear plastic, a realistic high def photo of the wood, and a strong core of vinyl and other materials.  The bottom layer typically provides a cushion for comfortable use. Each brand has its own “special sauce” for the LVP construction. This diagram from Flooring, Inc. is great!
Luxury Vinyl Construction

LVP vs LVT: What’s the Difference?

When you’re looking for the best LVP flooring, you might notice a lot of information about LVT flooring as well. LVT – that’s luxury vinyl tile – is essentially the same thing as LVP flooring. The main difference is that LVT is typically cut in a tile shape (square or smaller rectangles) and LVP flooring is done in a long, wide plank. 

How to Choose the Best LVP Floors

If you’re considering LVP flooring for your home, then chances are you want the most realistic LVP that will look like genuine hardwood and stand the test of time. Use the following tips to explore the right vinyl plank flooring for you.

Key LVP specs for durable residential wear

  • Wear Layer is the thickness of the top protective layer (Minimum of 12 mil or 20 mil for pets and young children)
  • Floor thickness is the total thickness of the floor (minimum of 3mm for low traffic areas; minimum of 6mm for high traffic)
  • Read the warranty carefully. Higher quality products have the best warrantees.  They can be as high as 20 years or more.

Look for fast and easy installation

Most LVPs are available as floating floors with click-and-lock edges for quick and painless DIY installation.  Hire a flooring professional for a complex installation.  There is no need to spend days to install, sand, coat, and cure as with traditional hardwood. For stairs, pick an LVP with flush plank bullnose edges for a more natural wood look.  A non-flush transition at the end of your floor plank can be a trip hazard.

Can you do heated floors under LVP?

Yes, but it may not be the best idea. I’ve found several articles on how you can use in-floor heating with LVP, but one article said that you couldn’t go over 80 deg F because it could destroy the integrity of the floor.  From an engineering perspective (a previous life for me), I wouldn’t risk it because it’s not hard to increase the temperature of the floor, and it would be hard to control. Think about it this way – plastics melt at higher temperatures. Even if your floor doesn’t melt, it could be impacted by heat.

How to Care for LVP Flooring

This section includes affiliate links for products I use and love. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Sweep or vacuum your floors daily to keep dirt particles from damaging the surface, just like hardwood floors. Consider a Roomba robot vacuum for carefree cleaning all day long.  The Roomba uses sensors to guide the robot on the floor around the furniture to clean You can turn it on and off with your smartphone.  Coolest gadget ever! It’s important to make sure you choose cleaning products safe for vinyl planks. If you need to mop, use clean water or a mild solution such as Shaw’s R2X Floor Cleaner.  You can buy as a concentrate or diluted in a spray bottle. Although they are waterproof and have higher wear resistance than traditional hardwood floors, LVPs can still be pierced or gouged.
  • Don’t drop knives or scissors onto LVP floors because they can pierce the vinyl.
  • Use furniture coasters to keep from gouging the LVP.
  • Don’t install real wood or LVP floors if a family member uses a wheelchair. Consider a tile floor instead.
I’ve found several articles on how you can use in-floor heating with LVP, but one article said that you couldn’t go over 80 deg F because it could destroy the integrity of the floor. From an engineering perspective (a previous life for me), I wouldn’t risk it because its not hard to increase the temperature of the floor, and it would be hard to control. Think about it this way – plastics melt at higher temperatures. Even if your floor doesn’t melt, it could be impacted by heat.

Stay Healthy When Installing LVP Flooring

Many construction materials such as paint, carpet, or traditional hardwood floors emit VOCs when they are new. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) come from toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde that can cause health risks when they are new. The best way to protect yourself when installing LVP flooring is to pick LVP products with the lowest amounts of VOCs. Third-party certifications such as FloorScore test products such as LVPs to ensure they have low VOC levels. Also, look for LVP floors that are phthalate free.  Most major LVP manufacturers do not use phthalates. Where possible, use a floating floor with click-to-lock installations to avoid glue which can also be a source of high VOCs.

How to Find Vinyl Flooring That Looks Like Wood Planks

There are so many reasons to choose LVP vs hardwood floors, from ease of installation to the cost of vinyl plank flooring and more. One of the best things about LVP flooring, however, is just how much they look like real hardwood. If you want the best LVP floors that mimic hardwood, use these tips:
  • Choose floors without distressed finishes (a short-lived trend).
  • Choose planks that are 48″ long or more, with matte or less shiny finishes. There should only be one plank per piece. 
  • The most timeless wood floors are mid-toned brown wood and unstained white oak and maple. Dark floors and gray floors are trends that are on their way out. That applies to LVP floors too!
  • Avoid splotchy wood floors in colors that would never be found in wood.
  • Stand on the sample.  If it feels spongy like a gym floor, don’t buy it.
Make a statement with your color palette.

5 Best LVP Floors that Stand the Test of Time

Now that you’ve explored the many benefits of LVP flooring, we have picked 5 floors for you that will look stylish long after your warranty has expired.   Just like you need to test paint colors in your home, always order samples of the floors you love to see what they look like in person and in your room. You can order samples from your dealer or manufacturer.

Waddington Oak Coretek Enhanced

This LVP floor is my absolute favorite!  It has a mid-toned classic color, and when I update floors it is my pick.  You can learn more about it here. We picked this floor in a basement upgrade project.  The basement had been flooded and had these 18″ by 18″ carpet squares.  We replaced them with this gorgeous LVP floor and added the yoga/office room as well. The floating floor has a 20 mil wear layer and a limited lifetime residential warranty.  The floor was installed three years ago and has held up well. The planks are 72 inches long, and this floor looks just like a real hardwood floor.
Yoga room with Waddington LVP floor
Yoga room with Waddington Oak LVP floor, Color Concierge project, Photo by Visitour
Basement with coretec Waddington Oak LVP floor
Coretec Waddington Oak Floor, Color Concierge project, photo by Visitour.

Shaw Floore Palatino Plus, Stadium

This is the same floor that I have in my house but in a different color.  Shaw Floorte Palatino Plus, Stadium is a light-colored wood that looks like white oak LVP flooring. The floating floor has a 12 mil wear layer and a 30-year limited warranty.  It looks incredibly real and works well with modern finishes. Planks are 48″ long.
Shaw Floorte Palatino Plus Stadium

Calypso Oak Coretek Enhanced

Another light option for warm wood is the COREtec Calypso Oak floor.  It has a 20 mil wear layer, is 8 mm thick, 48″ long and comes with a 25 year warrantee.  It can be installed as a floating floor, without glue, and looks very realistic. Coretec Calypso Oak LVP floor Source

Mannington AduraMax Swiss Oak (Truffle Color)

This slightly warmer LVP floor has a gorgeous texture and color and is available in 7″ by 48″ planks. It has a 20 mil wear layer and is 8 mm thick with a limited lifetime residential warranty.  It is a traditional glue-down floor. The AduraMax product line features the Hydroloc waterproof core, a proprietary technology.  This is one of the toughest, most durable LVP floors on the market. Link here for more information: Mannington Adura Max Swiss Oak (Truffle Color)
Living room with Mannington Swiss Oak Color

Pergo Extreme (Sand Dune)

These Pergo Extreme Sand Dune floors have a 20-mil wear layer and are 6 mm thick, 9″ wide, and 60″ long. They carry a limited lifetime residential warranty, and I think they are gorgeous. I love the caramel color.  They are another classic and timeless choice.
Pergo extreme Sand dune LVP floor

Key Learning Points

  • Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) floors are a disruptive flooring technology that replaces typical hardwood floors and tiles.
  • The HD wood images on the planks are so perfect it’s hard to distinguish them from real hardwood floors.
  • LVP is waterproof, less expensive, and faster and easier to install than wood or tile.
  • LVP flooring is easy to care for and can often be installed directly on top of your existing flooring.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.

Online Color Consulting

If you still need help with paint colors and LVP flooring colors, check out our Online Color Consulting packages or an In-Person Color Consultation in the Denver Metro area.  We include LVP selection as an add-on in the Open Layout Package or in the One Or More Rooms Online Color Consult packages.
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64 Responses

  1. Really like this article, and would really like to use this. Nothing was said about in floor heating with plank flooring. Seems like it wouldnt be a problem but thought I should get your answer

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Thanks for pointing that out! I’ve found several articles on how you can use in-floor heating with LVP, but one article said that you couldn’t go over 80 deg F because it could destroy the integrity of the floor. From an engineering perspective (a previous life for me), I wouldn’t risk it because its not hard to increase the temperature of the floor, and it would be hard to control. Think about it this way – plastics melt at higher temperatures. Even if your floor doesn’t melt, it could be impacted by heat. I’ll add that to the article.

  2. You mentioned wheelchairs being a problem with LVP, could you elaborate? We’re thinking of replacing carpet with LVP before my mother in law moved in with her scooter

    1. Hi Serena,
      Wheelchairs can be a problem with LVP because although it is waterproof, a wheelchair is heavy enough that it could tear the LVP. We also recommend that you use furniture coasters with sofas and other furniture. Good luck!

      1. I’ve had to use my wheelchair for up to 9 months at a time on Mohawk Luxury Vinyl Plank floors in my ranch home! Not one dent, scratch, or miniscule pebble would effect the beauty of those floors! We sold that home in 2014, for quite a lot more than we paid! It has sold three times since, as recently as March 2021, for double what we sold it for! Those Mohawk floors, cleaned only with a swifter dry and a spritz of water in a wet mop, are still gorgeous! I checked the listing! So, don’t worry about your wheelchair or walker, just take care of yourself as needed!????????

    2. I’m sure you’ve long since decided on this, but we’ve had lvp for 2 years with my son’s wheelchair (400+pounds). I’ve loved it and it looks as good as new!

      1. Thank you, for commenting about the wheel chairs not being an issue. We are not there yet but I like to plan ahead.

    3. You don’t recommend using vinyl
      Planks over floors heated over 80 degrees. What about seasonal condo units in Florida where AC is REQUIRED to be TURNED OFF once residents return home during the summer season? Will the tiles installed over a moisture barrier underlay covering concrete floors survive annual shifts in indoor temps during the heat of the summer?

      1. Great point! We always recommend following the specifications of the manufacturer and their installation instructions.

    1. I have heard wonderful things about Karndean. The list I gave is just a start as there are many out there. My suggestion is to focus on the specifications as a guideline.

  3. Great article as I am now familiar with all specs you mentioned as I researched LVP for months before making our decision. We are about finished installing our entire first floor with COREtec Plus Enhanced Great Sands Oak. It has a 20 mil wear layer, that was my number one priority after being educated about wear layer, as we have pets. It does have bevels and it is on the darker side, which you do not recommend per your article, but I love the new floors so hopefully we are not sorry about our color and bevel choice within the next 10-20 years. Thank you for your article as more information needs to be out there about the wear layer thickness as most of standard stores only list the overall thickness, but I think wear layer thickness is more important. Thank you!

    1. Hi Debbie, we’re considering the Great Sands Oak for our home. Are you happy with the choice and did it feel darker/lighter once it was in the entire room?

    2. I don’t know if you will see this Debbie, but I also installed that flooring in my Utah home in 2019. I am super displeased with the product and am wondering how you’re feeling about it?

  4. Hey Michelle. You’ve got a lot of great information on here and this is definitely one of the articles I’ve seen about LVP! I wanted to add a couple of things I think you’d find helpful. A huge thing for LVP is the option of adding a compound called aluminum oxide to the wear layer. It’s a compound that’s nearly as hard as a diamond and heavily strengthens each plank. With aluminum oxide, your boards will be impervious to scratches, scuffs, and most damage. I’ll use the Shaw brand as an example:
    LVP products like Shaw’s Floorte Pro Series have the ScufResist Platinum finish with an aluminum oxide wear layer like I mentioned for high quality engineered (solid as well) floors. Shaw also has this “embossed in register” (ER) feature with their luxury vinyl floors that make any rifts or wood knots feel real. If there is a wood knot or rift displayed in your LVP’s image layer (under your wear layer and finish), their manufacturing process will create a raised realistic texture over every piece of LVP.
    With LVP like this, it may replace wood floors for many people.

    Hope this helps!

  5. Great article! I’m leaning toward a more medium-dark tone which would be used throughout my first floor. Are there any you recommend in this color range? I agree with you and prefer something that isn’t trendy. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Diana,
      Your best bet would be to go to a place like Floor and Decor to see what offerings they might have. Then make sure that you bring samples home and look at them against your hard finishes. Look for the most natural looking floor, and stay away from grays and really dark finishes.
      Good luck!

  6. Do you can command installing on top of tile. I have received conflicting opinions from flooring contractors.

    1. Hi Ruth,
      It depends…. My biggest concern about installing LVP on top of tile is that the floor levels might become different if you are adding LVP to specific rooms. The other problem might be that if the flooring in your house is at different levels then when you lay the new floor it might look strange. I had a recent client with several floors throughout the main floor of his house, and we ended up having to rip out all the tile and level out the floor to make the LVP look right. Ideally its nice to have one unified floor (or as few as possible) throughout your main floor. This can apply to any other flooring not just LVP. Hope that helps!

    1. My sense is no, since LVP floor is a plastic, but I would check with the manufacturer just in case.

  7. We are replacing laminate wood flooring that has aged terribly. LVP is our top pick. We have noticed some dips and slants in our floors. Is it better to use glue in these situations or worth it to have the floor leveled prior to installation? I don’t want to have to replace our floors again anytime soon!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      I know it’s a huge hassle, but I think its always worth it to have the floor leveled before installation. Also, check with your vendor to see what they recommend.

      Good luck!

  8. Thanks for the article! I’m a designer too and have never installed LVP in a clients house but I’m remodeling my own house now and, like you, have been walking around with the sample of Palatino Plus – Museum. Do you still like it? Do you have any regrets? Some images I see online makes the grain look really wavy and distracting? Is it? Would love to hear your opinion!

    1. What I love the most about the Palatino Plus Museum is the deep rich perfect and timeless brown color. It is grainy and wavy. I don’t have regrets because I adore the color for the price point, but it is pretty wavy. I hope that helps!

  9. I am remodeling a small home. First will be a bathroom. That will be done like a beachfront cottage. The kitchen will be next. It has Golden Oak cabinets. I need a floor color that will accommodate both schemes.

    I like the hand-scraped barn wood look but, you don’t seem in favor of the gray. How do I blend both together? Thanks.

      1. Michelle Marceny, Thanks for the suggestion. I will check that article out.

        The other consideration is that, my home was built in 1927. I don’t want to create a “museum” but, do want to give the home some of the design/ style fitting to that period.

    1. It really depends on your decor. I’ve had light and dark colored floors, and they both show dirt. Just get what looks good in the space.

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      That is a great question! I recommend that you reach out to the manufacturer. They can usually tell you the specs.

        1. Hi Robin,
          It is really pretty! Just make sure that you select the version with a wear layer of .12 mils or more. My biggest gripe about the Home Depot flooring is that although it is so realistic looking, the wear layers tend to be less than 0.12 mils. It looks as if they are offering more options that are .12 mils or more, though.

    1. Hi Lori,
      That is a good question for a wood floor professional! I recommend that you touch bases with a hardwood floor company.

  10. I just had Fusion Hybrid installed and one of the sub contractors dropped something that made a divot on the seam. Is it worth pulling up two rooms to fix it? It isn’t I. An area where water would generally be

    1. Hi Joyce,
      This one is definitely a judgement call. What is acceptable to one person is not to another. It also depends on the hassle factor and time it would take to fix. If it really bothers you, you should just have it fixed. Otherwise you will look at it for the next decade and always be annoyed.
      Good luck!

  11. Great article! I’m wondering now that Lifeproof has the 20 mm offering which colors you recommend as timeless in their line? I was looking at the Shea Oak and thought it might be similar in color to the Shaw that you recommended. What do you think?

    1. It looks nice, but really light, like an unstained white oak. I would always get a sample and look at it in the space.

  12. Hi Michelle, This is one of the most informative and easy to understand article I’ve read.

    Can Coretec plus be installed over laminate flooring?

    Thanks again for the information.

    1. Hi Cindy,
      I think that the answer is yes, but I would check with the manufacturer. It usually says in the specification sheet.

  13. I love all of your colour suggestions above. It’s been so difficult to find beautiful mid-toned LVP – everything is so grey these days. Do you have any recommendations for mid-toned, warm, oak, LVPs, that are able to be installed as glue downs, have an excellent wear layer, and are quite thick? I take your point about wheelchair users and LVP, but tile breaks very easily, hardwood scratches easily, and we need something to fill our entire first floor uniformly, with no transitions, and LVP seems to be the winner. I’m just unhappy with all the insipid greys, grieges, odd colours, multi-coloured hues out there!

    1. Hi Annika,
      What I have learned is that the reason there are so many funky grays out there is because of the manufacturing process, but you can find nice product out there. I haven’t seen these in person, but I have a client that sent me photos of Coretek Manila Oak and Mornington Oak. At the time I wrote the article, the Home Depot brand didn’t have 12 mil product, but now they do. I always liked their color selection. No matter what, take a look at the colors outside and in your house with natural light. Its worth it to buy one box to make sure that you don’t buy the wrong color. Many stores will also let you buy one sample plank.
      Good luck!

  14. I would like your opinion on a few things, we have been shopping flooring for a while, seems each time we come at this subject the technology is getting better and better. We have a raised floor house in S. Fla. so tile unfortunalty is out without doing a lot of structural enhancements. We live on a ranch, with dogs, cats and farm animals so dirt and liquid accidents is just what happens around here. I like the raw bare wood look of White Oak flooring with white walls. A museum look, very contemporary. I have found this LVP by Moda Living they come in 72″long planks 9″ wide with a 20 ml wear layer. It has texture of real wood and has a tinted edge to make it look like it is real wood planks. I really like it however I am nervous with just seeing a small put together sample. Picture on line never look like what you see in person. Do you have any insight on this product and also do you think someone would value the house less, having LVP floors rather then real hardwood? The costs are about the same going in, but it came to my attention that if I go with a real wood floor the lighter colors will darken over time. Not to mention that the upkeep of the real wood and likelihood it will see damage is a definite negative. Thanks it’s a big decision so it causes a lot of anxiety, thank you for your time helping us out.

    1. Hi Jeanene,
      This can be a pretty big investment. If you have found a floor that you really like, my advice would be to buy a box and lay it out on your floor. This will tell you if you like the pattern and the wood tones. It will cost a bit, but much less than the total investment.

      My advice is to pick something that looks very natural. I’ve seen homes that look amazing with LVP. Since you have a farm and live in S. Florida it may be more practical. In terms of resale value, a floor that doesn’t look right will drop the retail value, but if you have a nice floor where you can’t tell if its wood or LVP, then I don’t think it will detract from the value of the home. That is just my perspective, it wouldn’t hurt to call a local realtor to see what sells in your area.

      Good luck!

  15. I have white kitchen cabinets, whit quartz counters with a light swirl of gray through it, stainless steel appliances, white wains coating at bottom half of walls, a Benjamin Moore’s paint color on top walls, is HC144 Palladian blue. It’s a very light shade of aqua. It looks a little pale green in it. I want to get LVP luxuray vinyl plank flooring. I need help with choosing a color. They say stay away from gray( which I was going to get) I don’t think brown would look good??????? HELP!!!!!

    1. Hi Emma,
      I TOTALLY agree to stay away from gray. Pick a mid-toned warm brown for the most classic and timeless choice. Make sure that it looks as much as real wood floors as possible. Finally, when you make a decision buy a box and lay it out on your floor to make sure its what you want.

  16. I’m new to vinyl plank flooring. Want to replace all the carpet on the main floor with the vinyl plank so am trying to educate myself. Your article and the comments are a great help. I am concerned about the living room at the front of the house as it is a dark room. The rest of that main level gets great natural light. Do I need 2 different colors of vinyl? Also wondering about the stairs up to the 2nd floor (landing in the middle). Would you recommend staying with the carpet on the stairs or replacing it with the vinyl? The stairs separate the darker front living room from the lighter kitchen, dining and family areas. All walls are white. Kitchen cabinetry is in good shape but would like a flooring that might mute the yellowish oak tone used in homes 20 years ago. Not planning to replace or paint the paint the cabinets. I like wood and have it throughout my house. Thank you again for your article. You have really helped me prepare for the consultant who is coming next week.

    1. Stick with one LVP color throughout the house or it starts to look chppy. I personally like carpet on stairs because its safer and sometimes LVP steps have a funky ledge on the step.

  17. We are replacing the bathtub in our guest bathroom with a shower. The current floor is outdated ceramic tile(1971). The tiles are breaking up now anyway. Any recommendations for bathroom LVP?

    1. Hi Lenora,
      Its hard to recommend an LVP floor without seeing your house. Please consider an online consultation.

  18. Can you recommend a Wood look LVP brand and color that is a darker brown without black tones and has a smooth, not striped variation of boards? Many samples look less busy, but the flooring pictures have too much movement.

  19. Sometimes while using GoDuckGo as my search engine, one comes across a stunningly informative article by a smart, caring author who truly cares enough to actually answer questions!
    I am standing up and appalling you, dear Debbie.
    My faith in the internet has been restored.

  20. Your example of how luxury vinyl plank flooring can mimic other materials was extremely interesting to look at. Getting the look of wood without having to maintain something as tricky as hardwood will really help us have a comfortable life here in our home while we still invest in it. I’ll go and look for a flooring expert that can help us get some installed right away.

  21. Great info. One additional point to add as flooring is a big investment –
    Buy extra! Most LVP cannot be refinished. So if you want to change the finish or color or if you remodel (even something small like widening a doorway or moving a cabinet) it cannot be pieced and refinished like hardwood. If you buy and keep some extra you will have that flexibility.

  22. I like how you explained the ways that luxury vinyl flooring can mimic other materials. I can see this as something that can really work in our favor since we’re looking for a classical look for our home that can manage a much better maintenance upkeep schedule than hardwood can. I’ll look for a luxury vinyl plank flooring provider in the area so they can assist us with what we need.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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