If you are in search of a durable, attractive and economical floor covering for your offices and your homes. The good thing is that you can install these flooring by yourself. The best floor types that you can find are vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. Both of these floors have their own pros and cons but it can be daunting for you to decide which is the better option for your home?
If you are confused about choosing the best option then it is justifiable. Although they are alike in many ways such as both of them are economical and synthetic but there are some massive differences between them.
For many years, laminate flooring had always been considered the best among the two options as it is thick, rigid, easy to install and offers realistic graphics as well as embossing. However, with the invention of vinyl flooring, the laminate flooring lost is a charm to a greater extent. Vinyl flooring comes with embossing and graphics that are comparable with that of laminate flooring. When thicker vinyl flooring hit the market, even more variances and differences emerged between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring.
This post is all about the differences and similarities of vinyl flooring and laminate flooring and what do you need to know before purchasing one of them.
What’s the difference between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring?
Vinyl flooring and laminate flooring are the two most common options used in homes and offices. Laminate flooring is one of the cheapest options available out there but it is losing its position with the evolution of vinyl flooring. Since the past few years, vinyl flooring has gained a lot of popularity due to its construction, composition, comfort and many other factors. Vinyl flooring comes in the form of tiles and planks which consist of natural wood and stone. That is why vinyl flooring is giving a tough competition to laminate flooring.
Let’s quickly learn about the difference between these two floorings before moving forward and compare their properties.
Laminate flooring is one of the most affordable flooring options available. It consists of a variety of different styles and forms that credibly simulate wood. The durability of Laminate flooring is because of its layered construction. There are over three layers in laminate flooring that are merged together to produce beautiful and long-lasting flooring. It has a supporting layer that acts as a moisture barrier and protects the flooring against deforming and distorting.
There is also an internal core that consists of high-density fiberboard. This fiberboard is made up of wood fibers that are attached to the resin. This construction offers the laminate with high constancy and stability. Moreover, it also provides another moisture resistance layer.
This design layer also provides a genuine wood-like look that consists of high resolution.
Vinyl flooring has transformed a lot since the last few years. It is now better and improved than the old and traditional styles of vinyl. It is very popular among the designers and commercial contractors for only because of its appearance and beauty but also because of its durability. That is why it becoming an alternative to laminate and another hardwood flooring at a faster pace.
Nowadays, vinyl flooring is manufactured using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to give it an elastic and firm quality. Just like laminate flooring, vinyl flooring is also composed of a backing material that offers extra strength, robustness, and durability.
The look and feel of vinyl flooring are also great in vinyl flooring. It also comes with a protective finish that keeps the flooring safe from scratches and also resists scuffs.
Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring
Let us compare vinyl flooring and laminate flooring so that you can pick the best one among the two.
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Water Resistance
We will discuss the first factor that is regarding the moisture. When it comes to vinyl flooring, all types are waterproof. In fact, they are not just waterproof but they are water-resistant as well. Vinyl tile, luxury vinyl flooring, and sheet vinyl are generally made up of 100% waterproof materials. It is best to use vinyl flooring rather than laminate in damp places such as bathrooms and basements.
The vinyl flooring that was used in the past wasn’t waterproof and consisted of a fabric backing. However, the newer forms of vinyl floorings are highly durable and made up of 100% polymer materials. These new forms can be immersed in the water fully for prolonged periods and can be reused again upon drying. It stays unaffected completely.
For places that are truly wet, another form of vinyl known as water-shedding flooring or ceramic tile can be used as the best option. Sheet vinyl is also an excellent option when it comes to waterproof flooring and it doesn’t even require any seaming.
Practically every laminate flooring is composed of a fiberboard core that is made up of a wood product. Due to this reason, it has a property of swelling up and softening as well if it exposed to moisture or water for even a brief period. Thus, it will not come back to its original form after drying out. Moreover, the design as well as the wear of this fiberboard also doesn’t stay the same and may peel away easily after becoming waterlogged. Laminate flooring that is water-damaged seriously cannot be fixed. All you can do to get rid of them is to get a new one.
You will often find many manufacturers claiming that their laminate flooring is water-resistant. The truth is that, if the laminate flooring is installed correctly through tight and fitted seams and good moldings, it can withstand pooled water only for a very brief period. If you are looking for a flooring option for family bathrooms or any other water-pooled area then laminate flooring is not the ideal option for you. Furthermore, many manufacturers also specify that the laminate flooring is not ideal if they are installed in basements.
However, it is quite unclear whether this form of flooring is ideal to install in area where there is low moisture. For example, man areas of your home like guest baths, kitchen, laundry rooms, and entryways do not experience much moisture. If you can stop your kids from spilling their juices on laminate flooring or you can clean up the puddles and spills right away, only then, laminate flooring can be an option for you. The biggest drawback of laminate flooring is that if water stays on the floor for too long, there are chances that it can seep through the floor all the way down in the base of the floor that is fiberboard core. Even if you are looking for the best laminate flooring options, they will still leak water at some point.
Therefore, if we compare the water-resistance property of vinyl flooring and laminate flooring, then it clear that vinyl flooring offers the best and safest solution.
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Composition
The composition of vinyl flooring and laminate flooring is also different from each other. In vinyl flooring, the composition material is 100% synthetic. The base layer is generally made up of fiberglass in vinyl tiles and vinyl sheets. This base is then glazed in a plasticizer and PVC vinyl. The resulting sheet is then embossed and printed with a print layer. On top of this sheet, multiple layers of wear and no-wax are applied. Thus, the flooring is thicker and consists of multi-layer PVC vinyl.
The vinyl flooring is usually available in the form of tiles or planks that are joined together side-to-side. The overall thickness of this flooring falls between 1.5 mm to 5 mm depending upon the type of vinyl flooring.
Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is just like luxury vinyl planks when it comes to installation and looks. However, there is one major difference between the two floorings. In laminate flooring, the core is composed of wood byproducts that are joined together through resin. The upper surface of this flooring is hard and consists of transparent plastic wear. This wear is then further covered with another printed design layer. The thickness of laminate flooring falls between 6 mm to 12 mm.
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Look and Feel
There isn’t much difference in the appearance of laminate flooring and vinyl flooring. Both are comparable when it comes to appearance. Both of these flooring types resemble stone, wood, and ceramics. Both of them may even contain a three-dimensional and deep embossing on their outsides.
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Installation methods
Installation is one of the most important factors when it comes to any type of flooring. Both of these floorings resemble each other when it comes to installation methods as well. Both of them consist of click-and-lock installation. Because of this method of installation, one plank is fitted into the adjoining plank and then the folded down till it reaches the level of the second plank. This installation method brings the boards together and then binds the seam. If you are planning to try do-it-yourself installation method, then vinyl flooring can be difficult for you as it is heavy, unwieldy and large. Moreover, it is also difficult to cut the vinyl sheet. Therefore, if you going to use sheet vinyl, then you must seek a professional installation service to get the best results.
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Material Costs
The prices of laminate flooring and vinyl flooring are roughly similar to each other in price. Both of them are less expensive than all other types of natural hardwood and engineered wood. Moreover, they are also different from porcelain tile and ceramic.
If we specifically talk about the prices of the two floorings then the cost of vinyl flooring falls between the range of $1 to $5 and even to a maximum of $3 per square foot. For thin vinyl flooring, the cost is even as low as $0.50.
On the other hand, the cost of laminate flooring falls between the range of $1 per square foot to $3 per square foot for 7 mm and 12 mm-thick planks respectively.
The following table shows a detailed cost guide of both vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. The table shows the cost of each of these flooring types according to their thickness and quality that is listed as: low, high and mid.
Also, note that each value (cost) is according to per square foot.
|Vinyl Flooring||Laminate Flooring|
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Comfort
The comfort and feel of any flooring hold immense importance. If we compare vinyl and laminate flooring, then all sorts of vinyl floorings are comfortable as well as quieter. Laminate flooring, however, can sometimes feel hollow if we compare it to vinyl flooring or wood floors. Laminate flooring also transmits noise which is another downside of it. However, the factor of noise and comfort can be reduced to a greater extent through the use of a foam layer under the flooring. However, that might also add up the cost.
- Vinyl Flooring VS Laminate Flooring-Environmental Factors
For many people, the environmental factor plays an important role. Vinyl flooring is a great choice if green building materials are also your choice. Vinyl flooring has enhanced its green stature to a greater extent since the past few years. many manufacturers are also producing vinyl flooring that falls under the category of LEED (Low-Emitting Material). However, it is to be noted here that many old forms of vinyl can still be toxic when burned due to the presence of synthetic material in it.
Laminate flooring, on the contrary, consists of plastic material which is by no means an environmentally friendly material.
Still not clear?
The advantages and disadvantages of laminate flooring
Laminate flooring is an affordable and low-maintenance flooring option that is used in a variety of ways in homes. Let’s explore the advantages of laminate flooring to get a transparent idea about it.
- First of all, laminate flooring is an inexpensive option that comes at an economical price. When we compare it to any other flooring material may it be vinyl flooring, hardwood, cork, ceramics or even carpets, it is lesser in price than all of these other options. The cost, as mentioned above can be even as low as $0.5 to $2 per square foot. Thus, it makes it economical than any other material including vinyl flooring.
- Secondly, laminate flooring mimics many expensive materials effectively despite the low price. This material can be constructed to be similar in look and feel to the elite and premium materials like stone and hardwood. Although you can clearly spot the difference by walking on it it is still pretty hard to differentiate the laminates from just the appearance.
- The third advantage of laminate flooring is that it is easier to take care of this material as well as to maintain it. You can keep in clean easily as it is resistant to dirt, allergen materials, and dust, unlike many other materials that attract dust and allergens. The maintenance routine of laminate flooring consists of simple vacuuming to keep the surface free of floating debris and other problem-causing materials such as loose particles. A mild detergent is enough to clean the surface of laminate flooring. Another option is vinegar which is also an easy and cheaper option to clean the laminate floor. Thus, the advantage of easy maintenance is perhaps one of the greatest benefits you can get from this flooring type.
- The next advantage that comes from laminate flooring is the easy installment option. This flooring usually comes in the form of rigid and stiff planks that are joined together with a “click and lock” method. This method is easy and quick and it also allows the DIYers to save their money by cutting off the professional installment cost.
- If you are looking for a variety of flooring design options then laminate flooring may be a good choice for you as it comes with unlimited design options.
- The factor of noise is one of those that through which laminate flooring is losing its position in the market and vinyl flooring is taking its place quickly. Because this material is very rigid it is directly installed on the floor, that is why it is quite loud when you walk on it. It is an even bigger problem when it is installed on second floor as footstep transmits the noise in the lower rooms. If you are having kids at home then you know the potential problem that comes with laminate flooring. You can use rugs or carpets on the laminate flooring to minimize the sound factor and insulate the effect of footfalls on it. However, using a carpet on laminate flooring just doubles the cost and the whole purpose of using the flooring goes in waste. Another option to minimize the noise effect is to use insulating material under the laminate flooring. This insulation material comes in the form of thin foamy sheets. But it is only possible if you are using fresh installation. Thus, the flooring can become more comfortable to walk on and also becomes less noisy if you use these tactics. However, once again, it will add up the cost.
- Another downside of using laminate flooring is that it can be easily scratched if you have pet at home. Even under regular conditions, your laminate floor can develop dents and scratches over time. Although repairs can be made the effect of repair mostly stays visible. You can also remove the damaged planks and replace them with new ones but you need to be aware that laminate floors are not as durable and hard as ceramic tiles and other hardwoods.
- The third downside of laminate floors is that they are hard and thus they aren’t safe for the setups where you have small kids or playrooms at home. They are not a safe option for older adults as there is a greater risk of falling. You can use rugs in such situation but that also doesn’t provide 100% safety and can cause serious injuries as well.
- One of the biggest disadvantages of using a laminate floor is that it doesn’t hold up under humid conditions. although, it isn’t an issue in the bedrooms still they aren’t good options especially when your bedroom has an attached bathroom. Moreover, you also need to be very careful when it comes to laminate flooring because there is a dire need to mopping the floor immediately to avoid the problems of seepage that eventually degrades the quality of flooring.
- You might not be aware of this factor but sunlight can cause huge damage to laminate flooring and they fade over time. The only solution to avoid this problem is to either not go for laminate flooring or use heavy blinds and even shades to block the excess UV radiations from the sunlight. However, that is also not a permanent solution and isn’t practical as well.
- Another drawback of laminate is that it isn’t easily recyclable like ceramic or hardwoods as it is composed of plastic material.
- Since laminate flooring is composed of plastic so it is quite different from other materials such as hardwood. Due to the presence of formaldehyde, hazardous and toxic materials are present which is not suggested to be used at home. The manufacturing process of laminate floor also consists of cyanuric acid, aluminum oxide, melamine and isocyanates which further makes the composition perilous for the occupants.
The advantages and disadvantages of vinyl flooring
Vinyl flooring is supremely practical and good-looking and it is a very popular option for bathroom flooring as well due to its water-resistance property. If you expect large amounts of water is your laundry rooms, children’s bathrooms or any other part of your home, then vinyl floor is the best option for you. As it is very popular, so there are tons of style options available for vinyl flooring.
- The first benefit of using vinyl flooring is its durability. Unlike many other forms of hardwoods, it is scratch-resistant and can withstand high amounts of pressure as well. It means that you are free to use vinyl flooring if you have pets at home or even active kids running in the house. That is why vinyl flooring is known to resist even the heaviest traffic.
- No matter you are using hardwood or laminate flooring, both aren’t ideal under wet conditions. the only option that can offer you a safer ground when it comes to water-resistance is vinyl flooring. It is also one of the most important reasons for its popularity as well. It means that you can install vinyl planks in your bathrooms, kitchen and all other areas where you can expect moisture without the risk of buckling or damaging it. It is 100% water-proof and will not be affected by it. However, it should be installed correctly. Thus, laminate is the clear winner when it comes to water resistance.
- Many homeowners prefer vinyl flooring because it doesn’t require extra care or maintenance. There is also no need to take special precautions when it comes to vinyl flooring. It is easy to clean using a wet mop. However, you must note here that it is not recommended to pour water on the vinyl floor despite its water-resistant property.
- Vinyl flooring comes in a huge amount of styles and sizes. The planks are usually up to 8 inches wide and fall between the range of 36 to 48 inches in length. Moreover, it is also easier to cut the planks due to the soft material. It also comes in a variety of colors that fits the need for almost everyone out there.
- If you have ever stood on a bare flooring then you must be aware of how hard it is to stand on the floor for the longhouse. It is also not good for back and knees. That is why one of the most important factors that need to be considered when getting new flooring is comfort and softness. Since vinyl flooring is made up of soft material that is why it is comfortable and safer to walk on.
- In case of any damage, it is also very easy to replace vinyl flooring due to its soft nature and easy installment method.
- Since vinyl flooring is softer than other wood types such as hardwood, that is why you cannot say that it is immune to damage completely. There is always a risk that the planks might rip in case you are roughly using it by dragging heavy furniture on the floor. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that although laminate flooring is durable it must be used with caution if you want to save it from damage.
- Although it isn’t much of a drawback it is not recommended to use harsh cleaners and chemicals to clean vinyl flooring. You can only use wet mops or mild cleaners to clean even the massive messes. a traditional dust mop is the best solution to clean it effectively.
- Just like laminate flooring, vinyl flooring is also prone to fading when it is exposed to sunlight. Therefore, blinds or heavy curtains are required and rugs can be used in areas that are exposed to too much sunlight.
- The resale value of vinyl flooring is also not good.
So, there you have it! After reading this guide, you must have gotten a clear idea about the similarities and differences between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring.
When we compare vinyl flooring and laminate flooring, both are somehow similar in appearance. The installation cost of both of these flooring also doesn’t vary significantly. Although laminate flooring is more scratch-resistant vinyl flooring is water-proof so choosing one of these also depends upon your lifestyle. If you live in a humid area or got water spilling problems, then vinyl flooring can be the best choice for you as it has an ability to resist moisture to up to 99%. Other than moisture resistance, vinyl flooring also doesn’t need any underlayment or padding while installing it. You don’t need to cut it. Moreover, it is also dust-free just and easy, unlike laminate flooring.
Vinyl flooring and laminate flooring enjoy their own pros and cons. Both of them are cost-efficient and are the best alternatives to hardwood and all other types of flooring.
The bottom line is that laminate flooring is no doubt the best option when it comes to saving cost as it is economical in many ways. Due to the easy installation, it is also good for DIYers. However, it is not an environmentally friendly option. On the other hand, the only biggest drawback associated with vinyl flooring is that it is prone to developing dents if heavy furniture is used on it. For this purpose, floor protectors are a good option that can prevent damage to the floors.
That is why, in recent years, people are preferring luxury vinyl flooring that comes with many advantages and only a few drawbacks. So, overall, vinyl is the ideal option when it comes to homeowners. It is best to use for all rooms in the house from kitchen and basement to bathrooms and laundry rooms. Moreover, it also has more durability and offers comfort and style to the home.
A quick comparison
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