When you know how real hardwood flooring is installed, it's not surprising that vinyl can mimic it so well. Almost all hardwood floors are finished with a thick coating of clear plastic, whether it's site-applied polyurethane or a special factory finish. This means the surface you walk on is actually plastic. The wood is mostly there for looks. Vinyl flooring is, of course, plastic, and it can be made with photographic images of real wood.
The type of vinyl flooring that mimics wood most effectively is luxury vinyl plank, or LVP. Luxury vinyl is generally high-quality and has good visual effects. But more important, the rectangular shape of the planks, and the seams they create, enhance the wood look because most real wood flooring also comes in planks or strips.
Read on for suggestions for vinyl flooring options that look just like wood.
01 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Hickory Wood
Luxury flooring planks tend to look best in darker colors, and hickory is one of those wood species that looks great with darker stains.
Mannington's Adura line has a Hickory LVP in beveled 5 x 48-inch planks. At 4mm thick, it's one of the thinner LVPs around, but this also makes it one of the most cost-effective.
02 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Light Oak Wood
One of Shaw's premium (and more costly) LVP offerings, Chatham is full plank-size at 48 x 6 inches.
It is a floating luxury vinyl floor with a 12-mil wear layer and medium gloss finish. In the $6.50 to $7.50 range, it is fairly durable at 5/32 inch thick.
03 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Medium-Dark Oak Wood
Shaw's luxury vinyl line ranges from affordable to premium. Affordable, in this case, means that it's in the $3.50 to $4.00 range (kudos to Shaw, too, for showing prices, a rarity among luxury vinyl manufacturers).
This is a medium-dark oak finish, with planks measuring 7.09 x 36.22 inches. This translates to planks that are short and wide, as far as planks go.
04 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Teak Wood
The tropics...brought to your home. Can this be real? Not exactly. You probably will not be installing teak flooring in your house any time soon. But you may be putting in this luxury vinyl simulation of teak. This is a bold teak with pronounced black striations against a soft brown with tones of red.
These Mannington Adura planks are 4mm thick and measure 4 x 36 inches. They are designed for traditional glue-down installation.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Chestnut Wood
You'd be hard-pressed to find this kind of wood floor for real. It's an extremely tight-grained chestnut wood, hard as a rock, and impervious to scratches. Chestnut is one hard hardwood.
Yet, this chestnut floor from Armstrong is luxury vinyl flooring, in long-and-narrow plank-like 48 x 4.5 dimensions. As a floating floor, it does not need to be glued down. Because it comes with the medium-gloss sealed in, it never needs refinishing.
06 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Walnut Wood
This flooring positively exudes a honey-warm glow, and it never needs to be re-stained or re-sealed. It's luxury vinyl tile (Armstrong Alterna), and it replicates the look of finely grained American walnut wood.
Boards come in plank-like 48 x 6-inch dimensions, and it has a low gloss that makes it perfect for locations that get a lot of light.
07 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Dark Oak Wood
Karndean is a higher-end source for luxury vinyl, offering a wide array of dark woods. Besides this Winter Oak, they have at least nine others, including the remaining seasons of the year (Summer Oak, Spring Oak, and Autumn Oak) that gradually darken throughout the year.
08 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Maple Wood
This light Canadian Maple flooring from Karndean demonstrates one huge selling point for this type of flooring: You can finally install "wood" in your bathroom.
It is strongly recommended that you do not install solid wood, engineered wood, or even laminate in the bathroom, due to moisture. But most luxury vinyl flooring is fine for wet areas because it is vinyl (or at least synthetic material) all the way through.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Luxury Vinyl Plank: Ebony Wood
This ebony-look luxury vinyl plank floor from Karndean infuses the room with a contemporary, urban vibe. LVF looks great in darker tones, and this manufacturer clearly understands that. They also offer a line of muted-color 48 x 7-inch planks called Van Gogh Dark Wood.
Vinyl Flooring. Wood Floor Covering Association.
Best Flooring for Your Kitchen, Bathroom, Mudroom, Family Room, and More. Consumer Reports.