What is the difference between vinyl and laminate flooring?

Looking for some flooring that will last you a long time without breaking the bank? Maybe you want to be able to install it yourself too. In that case, you might be considering vinyl or laminate flooring. They’re both easy to install, look good, and are about the same price. Honestly, unless you’re some kind of expert, they’re basically the same thing!

Gain an in-depth understanding of the essential disparities between laminate and vinyl flooring, including their level of resistance to moisture, durability and upkeep requirements. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages in order to reach a judicious decision for your flooring necessities.

laminate vs vinyl flooring

Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: Key Differences

Vinyl and laminate flooring are distinct in their composition and characteristics. If you’re in the market for new flooring, it’s important to understand the differences between these two popular options before making a decision.

Laminate flooring is made with multiple layers that consist of a wood fiberboard core, a design layer, and a protective top layer. In contrast, vinyl flooring is completely synthetic and typically consists of multiple layers of PVC or other materials.

When it comes to selecting the right flooring for your space, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and preferences. Do you prioritize durability and water-resistance? Or, are you looking for a flooring option that offers a wide range of design possibilities?

Once you’ve considered these factors, it’s time to weigh your options and decide which type of flooring is the best choice for you. Whether you opt for the natural look and texture of laminate or the versatility and affordability of vinyl, both options offer unique benefits and can transform the look of any room in your home.

Vinyl Flooring

ItemPurpose
UV Acrylic CoatingProtects the floor from sun damage
Wear LayerProtects against scratches
Print or Image LayerThe image or look of the flooring
PVC LayerProvides stability and support
CoreThe main body of the flooring made of PVC
Built-in UnderlaymentSoft layer helps with uneven subfloors

Laminate Flooring

ItemPurpose
Wear LayerClear aluminum oxide layer to protect floor against scratches
Print LayerThe image or look of the flooring
Core LayerThe main body of the floor, made of highly compressed wood fibers
Built-in UnderlaymentSoft layer helps with uneven subfloors

Difference for Appearance

Laminate Flooring

The highly resilient upper layer of the laminate flooring wonderfully supports intricate three-dimensional embossing, beautifully presenting finely detailed representations of the organic material in an elegant and refined manner.

Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are taking the flooring world by storm thanks to their authentic appearance that stands out from traditional vinyl flooring. With their varied textures, deep embossing, and wood-like look, LVP is an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking for a durable and attractive flooring solution.

Difference for Cost

Laminate Flooring

Upgrade your floors with premium laminate starting at $1 per sqft for 7 mm-thick planks, and up to $5 per sqft for the durable, 12 mm-thick choice. Invest in quality for a long-lasting investment in your space.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring can be purchased for as little as $1.00 per square foot for thin, glue-down vinyl flooring. The cost of LVP rises to approximately $5.00 per square foot, while premium brands will cost more. Budget-friendly sheet vinyl options are available for as low as $0.65 per square foot for those who wish to save money.

Difference for Water Resistance

Laminate Flooring

Virtually all laminate flooring is not water-resistant due to its fiberboard core that softens and swells when exposed to water. Severely water-damaged laminate flooring needs to be replaced. Properly installed laminate flooring can tolerate pooled water for a short period. Traditional laminate flooring is a poor choice for family bathrooms or areas with standing water. Newer materials may be better at resisting water.

Vinyl Flooring

Contemporary vinyl flooring is impermeable to water. Previous types of vinyl flooring might have had a cloth or felt support that lacked waterproofing abilities. However, current versions of vinyl flooring are crafted entirely from synthetic materials. Lavish vinyl flooring can be entirely soaked in water for extended durations, dried, and then reused without any adverse effects.

Difference for Heat Resistance

Laminate Flooring

Be cautious with extremely hot objects on laminate floors as they could cause burns on the surface. Laminate also struggles with consistent temperature changes and may expand or contract in response.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is susceptible to damage from hot objects, causing scorch marks. However, it undergoes temperature changes admirably, with the exception of extreme heat, which can result in expansion and melted adhesive.

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: An Expert Comparison

If you’re choosing between laminate and vinyl flooring, know that both are equally good options. Vinyl flooring is ideal for wet areas like laundry rooms, wet bathrooms, and mudrooms due to its high moisture resistance. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is great for dry areas and boasts a better appearance. Those looking for more style options should consider laminate flooring over vinyl flooring.

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