13 Dec Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring | What You Need To Know
Vinyl and laminate are both great flooring options that are durable, stunning, and a fraction of the price of many alternatives. Thanks to upgrades in the manufacturing of vinyl and the introduction of luxury vinyl flooring, both of these floors are now very similar and tick off many of the same boxes that homeowners are looking for. For people looking to replace their floors at a reasonable price in today’s market, it can be difficult to tell the difference between vinyl and laminate flooring. Let’s take a look at the key differences and similarities so you can choose the right floor for your home.
Appearance and Style
There’s no doubt about it, vinyl and laminate floors both look great and come in a large variety of colors and styles. At first glance, vinyl and laminate flooring nearly look the same but that’s no coincidence. Thanks to highly detailed photographic prints, both flooring materials can replicate the looks and even textures of natural materials such as stone, hardwood, tile, and more. These prints allow them to be sold at a fraction of the cost of the materials they’re replicating, making them very attractive for buyers who want a great looking floor without the premium price. But the real differences lie in the composition of these materials, which have serious implications for their usage.
Vinyl flooring is almost always made of 100% synthetic materials. Depending on the type of floors you’re looking at, the thickness and composition varies. In traditional sheet and vinyl tiles, a fiberglass backing is typically used and then coated with PVC vinyl. Next, the printed photograph is added and covered with a multiple wear layers including one to protect against scratching and UV light. For luxury vinyl planks and tiles, the core backing is much thicker and has multiple layers of PVC. The thickness of vinyl ranges from 1.5mm for standard sheets and 5mm for luxury vinyl planks.
On the other hand, laminate floors are made from mostly natural materials. The core is created with recycled hardwood to form a high-density fiberboard. Then the photographic print is added and covered with a hard wear layer, very similar to that of vinyl floors. Laminate floors are much thicker than vinyl floors, with a range of 6mm to 12mm.
The key difference between vinyl and laminate flooring comes down to their water resistance capabilities.
Thanks to their 100% synthetic composition, all vinyl floors are waterproof and water resistant. This material really shines when it comes to places that are prone to moisture and standing water. For this reason, they’re an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and mudrooms.
Laminate floors, on the other hand, have a core made out of recycled wood. Although the top layer is protective and water resistant to some degree, the wooden core is not waterproof. You should never use laminate floors in areas that are frequently exposed to moisture for this reason. No matter how well laminate floors are installed, water can still seep down to the core, causing it to soften, swell, and leave behind damage that can’t be repaired if it’s too severe.
Both of these floors have similar durability and are easy to maintain. But, there are a few minor differences.
Luxury vinyl floors are great for high traffic areas because they can expand and contract without taking damage. Since they’re water-resistant, you don’t need to worry about tedious cleaning of standing water or mud. Luxury vinyl floors, such as COREtec, are also a great choice if you have children or pets because they can withstand scratches and other damage. But since vinyl is a soft material. it should be noted that heavy furniture can dent them over time and can even be torn if furniture is dragged across it.
Laminate floors are best in climate controlled areas, such as living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. Compared to vinyl, laminate floors are more resistant to fading from exposure to sunlight. They’re also very durable and resistant to damage, meaning that they too are great for homes with children and pets. However, very heavy wear over many years can result in minor chips and scratches.
Cost and Comfort
Although laminate and vinyl flooring are comparable in price, their comfort levels for your home can vary.
For the most part, vinyl is installed directly on the concrete subfloor, making both luxury and traditional options feel cold and hard on your feet. But, this can be offset by installing an underlayer beneath them. Vinyl sheets can be found for as little as $0.50 to $1.00 per square foot. On the contrary, luxury vinyl flooring is more comparable to laminate with pricesinyl ranging from $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot. Their thicker layers make them more comfortable, especially if they come with an attached underlayment.
Laminate floor prices depend on the thickness of the planks. 7mm thick planks are around $1.00 per square foot and 12mm thick planks start around $3.00 per square foot. Since they’re thicker than vinyl and are usually installed over a foam underlayment, laminate floors offer more warmth and comfort. However, it’s generally considered that laminate is noisier than vinyl.
Flooring is a major aspect in every home and as such, it can affect your home’s value. Since laminate floors are made out of wood, they can offer a higher resale value than vinyl floors. But for the most part, both laminate and luxury vinyl floors offer similar values to your home. Although they aren’t as valuable as solid hardwood or high quality stone, they usually won’t offput potential home buyers because they still offer a gorgeous appearance in any home.
We hope that you’ve found this guide about the differences between laminate and vinyl flooring helpful. If have any further questions or are thinking about putting these floors in your home, contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help! We would love to help you get started on your next home project!