Choosing the right flooring material is far more complicated than just finding the best-looking product. Things like durability, moisture, costs, and more factor in when it comes to making an educated guess. If you’re looking for a durable, attractive, and reasonably-priced floor covering for your home that you can install yourself, there are usually two products that rise to the top: Laminate and vinyl flooring. They’re both DIY friendly. They are equally attractive. They cost about the same. At first glance and from a distance, they are similar.
While both products have a lot in common, there are a handful of important differences that might influence which type of flooring to buy and where to install. For this reason, it’s best to consider the needs of your home and the room you’re renovating. Qualities like being comfortable to stand, aesthetically pleasing or waterproof can make or break your decision. Here’s what you need to decide which flooring option best suits your needs.
What is vinyl flooring?
Vinyl flooring is a type of flooring with a polymer core made from PVC. It’s usually covered with decorative paper or textile fabrics that imitate the look of wood, ceramic, or stone and make any room look spectacular. While it’s often compared with linoleum and laminate flooring, vinyl is very much different in composition. It’s completely synthetic but cheaper, more durable, and easier to install. You can choose from many types of vinyl flooring like WPC vinyl, vinyl planks, and Rigid Core vinyl flooring.
Due to its versatility and hardiness, vinyl is one of the most reliable flooring options for almost any space in your home, even the bathroom and kitchen. It has been upgraded to a variety of styles and patterns for a more attractive look while also offering a more variety in design.
What is laminate flooring?
Laminate is a popular flooring choice in the current market and comes with a wide range of finishes that let you craft the look and feel of your home the way you want. The laminate floor is a top choice for homeowners who love the appearance of hardwood floors but don’t afford to spend too much on flooring materials. Due to its thick composition, laminate flooring makes comfortable material to step on, so it can work well in hallways and living areas.
Laminate flooring is also composed of synthetic materials that flawlessly imitate the look and feel of hardwood. While it’s very similar to vinyl flooring, laminate is made of different types of material. It contains an inner core board which is layered with a decorative photo image and topped with an overlay to protect them. Unlike vinyl, laminate flooring doesn’t stand the test of moisture but we’ll discuss that and more below.
Best for appearance
When it comes to appearance and style, laminate flooring tops in consumer choice because it’s a bit higher quality. Laminate floors have a more realistic aspect that resembles the appearance of hand-scraped hardwood. Vinyl flooring can imitate wood very well through its embossing techniques, but it looks the best and is more realistic on thicker core vinyl flooring.
Both products vary in materials they’re composed of. Laminate flooring is made of wood by-products. Most of the time, laminate is topped with a plastic layer to protect it against wear. The coating is placed over the design layer with your pattern and colour of choice. It also tends to be thicker than the vinyl floor, which makes it much warmer and softer when walking or standing on it.
Vinyl, on the other hand, is made of synthetic materials. The top layer, which is the surface you step on, is made of fibreglass and coated with a plasticizer and PVC vinyl. Then, it’s decorated with a pattern of choice and finished with wear protection costs like no-wax polyurethane.
While both flooring materials are generally comparable in appearance, laminate flooring will usually better imitate hand-scraped hardwood, ceramics, stone, and other natural materials.
Heat & water resistance
A key difference between vinyl and laminate flooring is water endurance, with vinyl as the big winner here. Because modern vinyl floors are made entirely with polymer materials, they can withstand great amounts of water. Vinyl can stand the test of moisture, it dries out quickly and can be reused. Vinyl is usually installed as a single sheet for a whole room, leaving no space for water to seep through.
On the other hand, Laminate flooring, with strong baseboards or mouldings and tight seams, can tolerate pooled water, but only for a short amount of time. For laundry rooms, bathrooms, or other spaces where standing water is prevalent, laminate flooring may not be an ideal option.
Both flooring materials can be pretty easy to install, depending on the type of product you choose. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, they can each be a good option for projects.
Vinyl flooring uses different methods of installation. You can either go with the popular click-and lock planks, as well as with the peel-and-stick. Vinyl sheets are a bit more difficult to apply because they’re heavy and require precise cutting around the angles and shapes in your room.
Laminate flooring offers just the click-and-lock installation option. Laminate planks are fitted into the groove of adjacent planks, and they can easily lock and seam. Typically, laminate floors are installed over other existing floorings, which means you will need a table saw to cut down pieces to fit your room.
Cleaning and maintenance
When it comes to caring and cleaning, laminate flooring is the go-for choice. It’s best cleaned with a dry method, but you can also use a variety of cleaning methods, and it doesn’t need much attention besides cleaning.
Laminate flooring is also more durable than vinyl and can last up to 10-25 years. On the other hand, vinyl is also a very stable, resilient material. It may be considered lower-quality flooring due to its price point, but vinyl can stand up the wear and tear in high-traffic areas in your home for at least 20 years.