Hardwood Flooring or Vinyl Planks? That is the Question | Ep. 94

Split screen of luxury vinyl plank flooring, on the left, and solid hardwood floors, on the right

If you want the look of hardwood flooring, you can purchase stylish, low-maintenance vinyl planks. But there will be tradeoffs, and that’s when you have to weigh the pros and cons to decide on the best option for your home.

That’s the situation Lisa in Illinois faces. She had vinyl plank flooring installed in her basement, and she loves the look — not to mention that it’s scratch-resistant and waterproof.

On the main floor, she has 17-year-old hardwood floors — and they look their age. They’re dented, scratched and worn. She wonders whether to sand, stain and refinish them or simply replace them with vinyl planks.

Lisa is leaning toward the vinyl planks, but her husband wants to keep the hardwood flooring. Meanwhile, a real estate agent told her hardwood floors are her best bet for resale value.

This is a house divided, and now, she wants us to share our thoughts.

Hardwood floors are durable and considered high end, compared to vinyl planks. So, yes, hardwood is worth sanding, staining and varnishing if sanding wouldn’t compromise the tongue in the tongue-and-groove system.

Luxury vinyl planks are attractive to homeowners for all the reasons that Lisa mentions, but if the couple want to sell their home in the future, it’s hard to beat the look and feel of hardwood flooring.

Now, there’s one more thing to consider: These floors are not solid wood; they are engineered wood, which means they’re made from a mix of man-made materials and wood.

And that means there’s probably just one chance to sand them, stain them and refinish them before they have to be replaced again, or left alone.

Now, if the couple goes the hardwood route? Don’t worry about the dust — you can sand floors with a dustless system that leaves almost no mess. Such systems use a duct that exhausts dust out of a nearby window.

And if they go the luxury vinyl plank route? Well, those floors will look great and be easy to maintain.  

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

  • [1:21] The best option for filling grout lines: caulking or grout?
  • [6:14] How to keep your lawn alive through the winter
  • [8:26] Chelsea shares how she put together a clothes rack for her kids using only glue
  • [12:25] Hardwood floors or vinyl plank flooring?
  • [17:05] Best New Product: Custom Building Products’ SimpleGrout
  • [18:22] How to easily scrape your popcorn ceiling
  • [21:22] How do you fix a sliding glass door?
  • [23:52] Simple Solution: How to make a cap that REALLY works to preserve left-over caulk
  • [26:33] Question of the Week: How can you clean solid oak cabinets without removing the finish?

Simple Solutions 

Caulk Saver — Tubes of caulk and sealant are not cheap, so how do you keep them fresh once you snip off the tips?

Twist-on caps are available at the home center, but most of them don’t work very well. I’ve found it’s much easier to grab some plastic tubing and make one myself.

Just take some tubing that’s 5/8-inch diameter by half-inch inside-diameter. Then use a pair of snips to cut a section of tubing that’s 4 or 5 inches long.

Next, heat one end of the plastic tube with an electric heat gun. You’ll need to heat it until it’s nice and soft — almost melted.

Then set the heated tube in a vise and clamp it pretty tightly to melt that end together. You should wait approximately 20 or 30 seconds before you take it out of the vise.

Before using your makeshift caulk cap, test it by blowing into the open end. You’ll want to make sure it has an airtight seal.

So, now all you need to do is get the open tube of caulk, slip on the modified plastic tube and press it on. It only has to go on maybe a half-inch or so.

And now, next time you need to use this tube of caulk, just pop it off and get to work!

Watch: How to Save Opened Caulk with a Plastic Tube

Sledgehammer Helper — It can be frustrating when you try to nail together boards that aren’t solidly supported, such as when nailing pickets to a fence rail or trim to a thin lattice panel. The board tends to bounce away each time the nail is struck.

The solution is to use a sledgehammer — not to hit the nail, but to serve as an anvil of sorts. Hold the head of the sledgehammer against the back of the board, then hammer in the nail. The heavy head of the sledge will absorb the hammer blows and prevent the boards from moving.  


Question of the Week

Q: How do you fix a sliding glass door that gets stuck a lot?

A: Do not use a multi-purpose lubricant, like WD-40, to lubricate the track. Instead, use a dry silicon sealant spray. Pulling off the door will allow you to inspect the track, and you should use a vacuum cleaner to clear debris around the roller.


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Ask a question and we could answer it on the "Today's Homeowner Podcast!" We also may use it on our nationally syndicated radio broadcast or on todayshomeowner.com.
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Ask a Question! (Podcast)

Ask a question and we could answer it on the "Today's Homeowner Podcast!" We also may use it on our nationally syndicated radio broadcast or on todayshomeowner.com.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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