LVT Vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

What’s the Difference?

To put it simply, Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) are not made from wood but from layers of compact vinyl which are textured to give the appearance and feel of a wooden surface. Engineered hardwood are layers of solid wood surrounding a ply middle layer. This gives it the authentic feel of a real wood floor, but is less prone to shrinking or warping. However, LVT tiles have the added advantage of being waterproof, which makes them more flexible for a range of uses such as bathrooms.


If you want an authentic looking wooden floor, then engineered hardwood sounds like the most obvious choice. However, good quality LVT tiles have been textured in such a way to give a highly realistic finish which is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Depending on your budget, you can obtain more popular styles of wood finish with more realistic finishes to really bring your room to life. One disadvantage of wood is that it is limited by the range of woods available, whereas LVT tiles can be made in any colour imaginable.

As good as LVT tiles are, if you were to “blind test” them against engineered hardwood, most people would be able to tell the difference. However, as the manufacturing technologies advance they are becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference.

Both types of flooring are available as large planks, or in smaller planks which can be used to make more elaborate patterns such as herringbone or mosaic.


LVT Engineered Hardwood
  • Almost indistinguishable from hardwood
  • More realistic patterns available for higher budgets
  • Overall, a slightly more authentic finish
  • Timeless appearance


Engineered hardwood is designed in a way to protect it from warping. Therefore, it is more resistant to moisture and temperature than traditional solid wood flooring. As a result, it can also be used with underfloor heating. Whilst LVT can be used with underfloor heating, there are sometimes lower heat limits (usually around 27°C) and you should always check with the manufacturer.

LVT flooring are covered with a layer of UV-cured urethane which make it more resistant to scratches, scuffs and stains. This makes it more suitable for busy households, pets or even commercial environments.


LVT Engineered Hardwood
  • Resistant to moisture & temperature
  • Easy to clean
  • Scratch and stain resistant
  • Very little maintenance required
  • Resistant to moisture & temperature
  • Can be used easily with underfloor heating
  • Can scratch or stain easily


Due to the highly durable nature of LVT, it is the perfect choice for a large variety of uses. This can include busy households, bathrooms or commercial premises. Even in busy environments, some LVT manufacturers, such as Karndean, will actually offer a lifetime guarantee.

Engineered hardwood flooring is a bit more limited and should not be used where there are high levels of moisture, such as the bathroom. Whilst it can be used in commercial environments, it will require frequent maintenance to ensure its thin polyurethane coating is in the best condition. Due to the porous nature of the wood floor, it should not be used for hospitality or healthcare environments.

As a direct comparison, LVT is the clear winner for commercial environments although both options can be used for domestic premises.


LVT Engineered Hardwood
  • Wide range of environments, including domestic, bathroom and commercial
  • Requires frequent maintenance, especially for commercial environments
  • Not suitable for bathrooms, healthcare or hospitality environments

Ease of Installation

Whilst both options use a simple interlocking mechanism to fit together, care should be taken to ensure correct measurements and that the correct tools are used. Care should also be taken with preparations to the floor before installation.

And the key to a good LVT floor is in the preparation. Because the planks are so thin, it is essential that they are laid on a completely flat surface. The wood underneath should be in good condition and no nails should be sticking out. It is often necessary to hire a professional to put a screed layer down to ensure an even finish.

Whilst engineered hardwood should be laid on a flat floor in good condition, minor irregularities can be offset by using specialist underlay.


LVT Engineered Hardwood
  • Screed may be required on the floor, especially for small planks
  • Floor should be flat, but underlay will counteract minor irregularities
  • For poor quality floors, a screed layer may be required.


When pricing up which type of flooring to buy, there are a range of factors to consider such as fitting, maintenance and preparation, as well as the cost of the flooring itself. To save money, you may want to consider fitting it yourself if you have the time. If you want to consider this, there are many videos available on YouTube to help you.

When shopping at the lower end of the market, the prices for both types of flooring can be similar at around £20 per metre. However, the difference in quality of engineered wood improves dramatically with the price. When shopping for high end flooring, LVT can be considerably cheaper and will usually be less than £20 per metre, compared to £120 per metre for high end engineered wood.

Whilst the fitting costs for both types can be similar, be careful to shop around as some installers can vastly overcharge. Generally, fitting will be between £20-50, but make sure that you know what you are getting for the price. Some installers will charge extra for adhesives, whereas some will include it in the fee.

When installing any wood floor, you will need to apply a finish such as oil or lacquer which can push the costs up further. This will need to be refreshed regularly depending on how much the floor is used. LVT will not require this due to the UV-cured urethane coating, which can make it a far cheaper long term option.

LVT Engineered Hardwood
  • £15-40 per metre
  • Fitting can vary between £20-50 per metre
  • Relatively maintenance free, for a lower long term cost.
  • £20-120 per metre
  • Fitting can vary between £20-50 per metre
  • Requires costly maintenance
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