The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring for Your Home

Vinyl plank flooring is a modern miracle that gives homeowners the luxurious look and longevity of hardwood floors without the warping, water damage, staining or scratching. The look of classic hardwood floors for less money and upkeep? Yes, please!

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Updated on November 30, 2023
Transitional White Foyer With Stairs

Transitional White Entryway Welcomes Guests

The 150-year-old home is updated with clean white walls that highlight the elaborate moldings. Dark hardwood floors contrast against the walls, while a geometric light fixture adds a contemporary nod to the space.

Photo by: Matthew Kleinrock

Matthew Kleinrock

Our Top Vinyl Plank Flooring Picks

Solid hardwood floors have an extensive history steeped in status and luxury that dates back hundreds of years. The posh plank flooring continues to be one of the most revered and sought-after interior features for homeowners and designers today — and for a good reason. Hardwood flooring provides homeowners with endless versatility, longevity and unmatched resale appeal.

So, what’s the catch? Well, while hardwood floors do offer lots of advantages, they also come complete with a hefty list of cons to consider, which is why many homeowners turn to vinyl plank flooring instead.

Vinyl plank floors are a modern miracle that provides homeowners with the luxurious look and longevity of hardwood floors without the warping, water damage, staining or scratching involved with their natural counterpart. Plus, vinyl plank flooring is typically a fraction of the cost for materials compared to hardwood flooring, and some varieties cut out labor costs altogether with DIY-friendly, click-and-lock installation.

Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin when it comes to picking the vinyl plank flooring best for you? We’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling to check out our picks for vinyl plank flooring based on your needs.

HGTV Spring House 2016: Vinyl Plank Flooring Creates Look of Wood

Vinyl Plank Flooring Creates Look of Wood Floors for Less Money

Sick of your old, dated carpet or linoleum? Get the look of wood floors, but with even more durability and less maintenance, with vinyl plank flooring. This is an excellent option for homeowners with basic DIY skills since all you'll need to install the flooring is a utility knife.

Photo by: Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

How We Picked

We based our picks on rigorous research and online reviews, plus our own experience with vinyl plank flooring. Our top picks are all made by reputable brands and sold by retailers we trust. The best vinyl plank flooring is durable, easy to install and made in a convincing finish whether you’re looking for a hardwood lookalike or something more akin to tile for a bathroom or kitchen. We also took into consideration the rooms each vinyl plank flooring would be used in and the traffic that could be expected. Finally, we looked at pricing and warranty when making our final selections.

The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring for Pets + Kids

$3.99 (per sq. ft.)
Lowes
What We Like
  1. 100% waterproof
  2. Easy DIY click install
What We Don't Like
  1. Not skid-resistant

It’s important to invest wisely when selecting floors for a home blessed with active kids and pets. These vinyl plank floor picks are built to withstand all the action in high-traffic areas and lively households with textured finishes, sound-minimizing cores and scuff-proof design.

The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring for Kitchens + Bathrooms

$3.39 (per sq. ft.)
The Home Depot
What We Like
  1. Scratch- and scuff-resistant
  2. Anti-microbial to combat growth of mold and mildew
What We Don't Like
  1. Some reviews say installation was challenging

Never cry over spilled milk again! Make a splash in your kitchen or bathroom with these striking waterproof vinyl plank designs. The realistic wood finishes yield classic appeal and promise to elevate your kitchen or bathroom design from underfoot.

The Easiest DIY Installation

$1.59 (per sq. ft.)
The Home Depot
What We Like
  1. Clear-top layer adds extra durability
  2. Lifetime limited residential warranty
What We Don't Like
  1. Some reviews say peel-and-stick installation doesn't work well

Roll up your sleeves, throw on some work gloves and transform your home over a weekend with easy click-and-lock vinyl plank flooring. The unique click design allows for quick and seamless DIY installation atop any existing flat subfloors including granite, tile, laminate and cement.

The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring for Scratch + Stain Resistance

$2.30 (per sq. ft.)
Lowe's
What We Like
  1. Easy click-locking system for installation
  2. Lifetime residential warranty
What We Don't Like
  1. Only appropriate for moderate-traffic rooms

Scuffs, scratches and stains will be a thing of the past with these ultra-durable plank flooring picks. Each of the vinyl plank floors is equipped with solid cores to withstand foot traffic and life-proof surfaces that will continue to shine even in life’s messiest moments. These floors fit the bill for both action-packed utility spaces and elegant entryways.

The Most Convincing Wood Finish

$3.99 (per sq. ft.)
Lowe's
What We Like
  1. Looks just like hardwood
  2. Designed for heavy traffic areas
What We Don't Like
  1. Requires careful installation due to design

Achieve a natural wood look in your cottage, farmhouse or country home with these wow-worthy rustic planks. Their weathered finish and textured top layer come together to create a convincing dupe to charming reclaimed wood without the instability that comes with the real thing.

READ MORE

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Many homeowners have turned to vinyl plank flooring as an alternative to hardwood or tile because it’s easy to install, very durable and comes in a huge variety of styles. Learn how to transform your home with high-quality vinyl floors.

GET THE HOW-TO

What to Know Before Shopping for Vinyl Plank Flooring

Type

There are three main types of vinyl plank flooring: luxury vinyl plank flooring, rigid core vinyl plank flooring and waterproof vinyl plank flooring. Each of these options has similar characteristics, but some may be better equipped for your home than others based on your needs.

  • Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring (LVP)
    Luxury vinyl plank flooring — or LVP — is a fan favorite for its convincing wood-like looks, high-quality construction and comfort underfoot. LVP flooring is crafted with four layers including a waterproof, PVC vinyl core and a scratch- and stain-resistant top layer perfect for pets and kids.
  • Rigid Core Vinyl Plank Flooring
    Rigid core vinyl plank flooring is equipped with a dense composite core engineered for longevity and durability in high-traffic areas. The planks are available in a variety of core materials, but the most common are SPC (stone plastic composite), WPC (wood plastic composite) or a hybrid variation. Rigid core floors are ideal for busy hallways and anywhere with heavy foot traffic. The life-proof planks are also waterproof and serve as a fail-proof flooring solution for open floor plan designs.
  • Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring (WPC)
    Waterproof vinyl plank flooring — or WPC — is similar to rigid core and luxury plank floorings but distinct in its advanced, 100-percent waterproof engineering. The waterproof planks are constructed with four layers and contain a waterproof core built to withstand spills and splashes. Put WPC vinyl floors at the top of your must-have list for your kitchen, bathroom and utility floor makeovers.

Plank Length and Width

The length and width of luxury vinyl planks vary across brands and price points. The good news? You have seemingly endless options to sift through to find your ideal fit. The only catch is that size does matter when it comes to aesthetics, and the length and width of your vinyl planks impact the overall look of your space.

Wide vinyl floor planks are a contemporary design mainstay and a top choice for large, open floor plans. Bonus: The larger planks (literally) cover more ground than their svelte counterparts and require a less labor-intensive installation process, making them a more cost-effective option.

Thin vinyl floor planks lean more traditional and offer a more convincing hardwood look to your space. These planks require more installation time and materials, making them pricier than wide plank floors. Even so, the thin planks are a solid option as they lend a tailored look underfoot, work well in closed-off spaces and are easily maneuvered in rooms with odd layouts.

Plank Thickness

Plank thickness is measured in millimeters and refers to the thickness of each vinyl plank. Like length and width, the plank thickness varies across brands and price points, with options ranging between 2mm and 8mm. A luxury vinyl plank with a 2mm thickness is better suited for low-traffic locales, while hard-wearing 8mm is a go-to for commercial spaces. The most popular plank thickness for a standard family home lands somewhere in between with 4-6mm.

Wear Layer Thickness

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting vinyl plank flooring for your home is the wear layer thickness. Unlike plank thickness, which measures the thickness of each individual plank, the wear layer thickness indicates the thickness of the clear protective top layer on the flooring. The wear layer thickness, measured in mils, guards the vinyl planks against wear, tear and color fading. The two most common wear layers for residential vinyl plank flooring are 12 and 20 mils, or 0.33 mm and 0.5 mm. While both options offer sufficient protection against daily life, a wear layer thickness of 20 mils provides greater durability and longevity in a space.

Style

Vinyl plank flooring comes in endless finishes and shades with options to complement all interior design styles. Some planks feature convicing wood grain finishes, while others have a more solid, opaque stained finish for a streamlined look.

Choosing vinyl plank floors that best fit your home comes down to your style preferences and desire to camouflage pet hair and dirt between vacuum sessions. Luxury vinyl planks with a wood-inspired grain finish and mid-tone stain, like the Lifeproof Trail Oak Waterproof Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring, are best for disguising dust and scuffs from daily life. Planks with less wood grain and knots will show more dirt underfoot.

Color-wise, both light and dark vinyl plank floors have a tendency to show dirt and require more frequent cleanings. The shade of your LVP flooring also impacts the perceived size of a room. Light vinyl plank floors create an illusion of an airy, open space, while dark planks create a cozier, more intimate atmosphere.

Blonde oak and gray-washed vinyl plank flooring are popular finishes for contemporary, coastal and modern farmhouse interiors. Mid-tone cinnamon and honey-inspired hues are ideal for cozy cottage and transitional designs, while deep espresso-stained vinyl plank flooring is the premier option for traditional or formal interiors.

What's the Difference Between Vinyl Plank Flooring and Laminate Flooring?

Laminate and vinyl plank flooring are two top alternatives to natural hardwood floors. Laminate flooring is made with a fiberboard core and topped with a resin layer that mimics the look of wood (or natural stone like marble). While laminate floors can be durable, they tend to perform poorly in moisture-rich environments like mudrooms, kitchens or bathrooms.

Vinyl plank floors are more durable than laminate, constructed from synthetic plastic that is scratch, stain and moisture resistant. These qualities make vinyl plank flooring a better option for high-traffic homes and humid environments like kitchens or bathrooms.

READ MORE

Difference Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl and laminate flooring options offer affordability and durability for homeowners, but each of these popular options comes with certain strengths and weaknesses. Consider the pros and cons and feel confident in your product choice.

Can You Put Heavy Furniture and Appliances on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring is durable and can withstand the weight of heavy furniture — with the proper installation method. While floating vinyl plank flooring is attractive for DIY installation, it does not provide the best stability over time. If you anticipate placing heavy furniture and appliances on your vinyl plank flooring, we recommend choosing flooring with an adhesive-style installation like the Traffic Master Taupe Oak Peel-and-Stick Water Resistant Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. This option offers a more secure base for your furnishings and will maintain the integrity of your flooring.

How Do You Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?

One of the reasons that luxury vinyl plank floors are so popular is because of how easy they are to maintain. To clean vinyl plank flooring, sweep surface debris and mop using mild, non-abrasive cleaners.

Be sure to avoid bleach and acidic cleaners at all costs, as these will strip away the wear layer and jeopardize the integrity of your planks. Remove scuffs with soft sponges or towels and use felt furniture pads as necessary to avoid scratching the surface.

READ MORE

How to Clean Vinyl Floors

Remove dirt, scuffs and stains from vinyl floors with these easy cleaning and maintenance tips.

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