Vinyl vs Laminate Flooring: What Are Their Differences

Through our Vinyl vs Laminate Flooring comparison, you’ll learn the difference between Vinyl vs Laminate flooring, the benefits and challenges of both, and how to find the correct one for your apartment.

It is true that whether you’re not in the flooring business or very knowledgeable about home and home improvement campaigns, you’re unlikely to be able to select out laminate or vinyl flooring from a line-up. Although tile, wood, and even cork are easily identifiable in a crowd, these modern wood-look next century flooring styles are more difficult to distinguish and sometimes mistaken.

Laminate flooring has begun to establish a reputation for itself, and vinyl is the overlooked redheaded stepsister who is unexpectedly brilliant, sturdy, and gorgeous. Therefore, since all vinyl and laminate flooring seems to be wood but is not, what is the fundamental distinction between them?

The article below provides an explanation of vinyl vs laminate flooring, including key considerations and differences.

Considerations when buying vinyl flooring or laminate flooring

Flooring installation is a long-term activity. Thus, proper preparation would ensure that you have a healthy lifestyle over the next few decades.

This 16-minute reading session may teach you something new in vinyl vs laminate flooring comparison. However, the following few sections would discuss the various properties of vinyl vs laminate flooring. This factor portion can assist you significantly when purchasing appropriate flooring.

Overview

What is vinyl flooring?

Vinyl flooring is synthetic materials manufactured using PVC-based (polyvinyl chloride plastic). Vinyl sheets become flexible when heating this tiny PVC to high temperatures and pressing into thin layers.

These planks represent some different materials, including ceramic tiles, brick, and wood. Owing to their similarity, carpet, linoleum, and laminate flooring are often confusing. The distinction is that vinyl flooring is plastic mainly in nature, while linoleum and laminate contain natural materials. This property ensures vinyl is easier to mount and less expensive.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective and practical alternative for flooring installation. It works well and feels great underfoot. Laminate consists of four resin-coated layers: an upper wear sheet, a printed design layer, a fiberboard layer, and a supporting layer.

It is available in a variety of looks that resemble natural wood and stone. However, Laminate flooring is comparatively cheap compared to other flooring options due to its efficient fabrics and production process.

You can use Laminate flooring in a variety of locations. The best rooms for laminate flooring installation are those with a large gathering, such as dining, family, and living rooms.

If hardwood flooring adds value to your house, laminate flooring replicates hardwood’s look with enhanced longevity. Some designs resemble pine, oak, brick, and tile, among others. If you’re installing laminate on an existing base, the low-profile nature makes this possible.

Longevity

Purchasers often choose vinyl vs laminate flooring to achieve the effect of hardwood floors without the possibility of cracks, dings, and other defects that can be time-consuming and costly to fix. Longevity is a key advantage promoted for both vinyl plank and laminate flooring.

How do these two kinds of flooring fare in comparison to one another?

Vinyl Flooring

Compared to hardwoods, this material is resistant to scratching by pet paws or lively children running around the building. It is very stable, including in areas of high gatherings.

However, due to vinyl plank’s lighter nature than hardwoods or laminate, it is not entirely resistant to injury. Tearing the planks is a possibility. For example, dragging furniture across the floor may cause planks to rip.

Vinyl flooring is more prone to damage than other types of flooring. It is susceptible to denting over time, particularly in areas underneath heavy furniture.

Although it is very sturdy, those considering purchasing this form of flooring should be aware that it is not entirely resistant to harm and is susceptible to the same shortcomings as conventional vinyl flooring.

Laminate Flooring

Like vinyl plank, laminate flooring is highly durable and is an excellent option for households with children and pets.

It is highly immune to damage and would not need refinishing over time except typical hardwoods.

However, laminate flooring also gets scratched due to few actions. Hefty wear will result in minor scratches on the flooring over time. Fortunately, laminate repair kits for cracks and cuts are readily available online and in-home maintenance shops.

Laminate flooring is more resistant to corrosion than hardwood flooring. Although laminate flooring can degrade over time when exposed to sunlight, it is more immune to fading than vinyl flooring. 

Ease of installation

Many homeowners decide to make their flooring design to save hundreds and thousands of dollars on installation costs. Homeowners may install both vinyl plank flooring and laminate flooring with suitable materials and tools. Moreover, a little research on installing flooring can lead you to make the best flooring for your house.

Now, compared to both of the flooring types, which one is the easiest? Let’s find out.

Vinyl flooring

LVP flooring with a tongue-and-groove pattern snaps together quickly. Due to vinyl’s lighter nature, you can easily cut and score parts using a kitchen knife. Vinyl flooring is easier than laminate flooring. Let’s see why.

Laminate Flooring

As with vinyl plank flooring, homeowners who enjoy tackling DIY (do-it-yourself) tasks will add laminate flooring.

However, this flooring includes additional equipment for installation, including a hand saw or circular saw to cut each bit.

If you’re installing the laminate beneath the base, such as in a basement, you’ll even need a vapor shield to keep the laminate dry.

While using laminate, it is essential to apply underlayment over the subfloor. Check out the link description to know more about underlayment. This underlay is a kind of padding used to correct minor subfloor variations while also improving acoustics.

While installation may be time-consuming, most homeowners can complete a room in a single day.

Vinyl plank needs less equipment and measures to mount makes the superior option in this comparison. Peel-and-stick vinyl plank flooring installation is much simpler than tongue-and-groove flooring installation, and even beginners can handle this do-it-yourself job.   

Water resistance

Vinyl water resistant property

Vinyl plank has gained popularity due to its water-resistant property. This property ensures that you can install it in toilets, kitchens, and other wet areas without warping or buckling. It is fully waterproof and would not deteriorate if appropriately assembled.

Laminate water resistant property

On the other hand, one must not expose laminate plank to water. Standing water or excessive moisture in space may cause it to buckle, gap, separate, and warp.

Although not a regular occurrence, some laminate owners have recorded mold and mildew, almost exclusively due to moisture exposure. This exposure would not be an issue with vinyl plank unless you built it in a house that already had this issue.

Since vinyl is practically waterproof, it easily outperforms laminate in terms of water resistance.

Maintenance and Care

Vinyl Flooring maintenance and care

Vinyl plank flooring is the most accessible type of flooring. Regarding cleaning, you can use a wet mop.

In this case, pouring water or otherwise drenching the floor isn’t suitable on peel-and-stick planks because the water can get underneath and break down the planks’ adhesive property underlayment.

Vinyl planks do not need harsh cleaners, and you can use soft ones to clean worse messes. You may use a conventional mop or a dust mop to clean vinyl flooring efficiently.

The primary issue with vinyl flooring is dents created by heavy furniture. You can buy floor protectors online or at a nearby big box home improvement shop To avoid marks and harm to the building.

Additionally, it is essential to note never to drag furniture or appliances; alternatively, raise where possible or cover with plywood sheeting to avoid scuffs or bruises.

Laminate Flooring maintenance and care

Laminate flooring is often very convenient to clean and maintain, but you must take some care to prevent scratching these floors.

You may accomplish regular sweeping using a broom, dust mop, or vacuum cleaner made for use on laminate floors.

On laminate, you can never use a damp mop. Utilize just soap-free cleansers. Additionally, only use laminate flooring-specific materials. You can spray recommended spray on the surface and then wipe away with a cloth or dry mop.

Sizes and Design

The significant part about vinyl plank and laminate flooring is that they are both very versatile. Installation is available in a range of shades, models, and sizes. 

Vinyl Flooring 

Vinyl plank flooring comes in a variety of lengths and widths. Planks range in width from four to eight inches and in length from 36 to 48 inches.

Vinyl plank is available in different shapes and shades. There are many designs and colors to choose from, including whitewashed oak for a sophisticated look, cherry or mahogany for a timeless look, and even black for modern spaces.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is available in widths ranging from about 4″ to 16″. The lengths range from 36 to more than 48 inches.

As with the vinyl plank, you may need to cut the laminate plank to size, but it is not just as simple to cut since it is made of wood. Where laminate excels over vinyl plank is in the variety of shapes and colors available.

Though there are several colors and types of wood available, laminate is not exclusive to wood. Laminate flooring that mimics the look of travertine, ceramic tile, and stone are also available. Due to the wide variety of wood and other products available, laminate provides a more diverse range of shapes and colors than the vinyl plank.

Comfort

Have you spent hours standing on bare flooring? Those who experienced this situation may understand how stressful it can be on the hips, feet, and back. When building new flooring, it’s important to remember the level of comfort.

Since vinyl flooring is installed directly on a concrete subfloor, it is often not the most comfortable flooring choice. Additionally, it can feel cold due to the lack of insulation underneath.

On the other side, laminate flooring is more convenient. It is far thicker than vinyl, which instantly increases the comfort level.

Additionally, using a foam underlayment underneath will increase the degree of comfort. However, any bare flooring may become cold based on the room’s weather, especially when built with a thick underlayment that is warmer than vinyl.

For an extra fee, it may construct underfloor heating systems to help steam up these floors. As the two styles of flooring are compared, laminate comes out on top in terms of comfort.

Which flooring type is the best for pets?

We must take scratching into account when determining the right pet flooring. Although vinyl flooring is highly durable in general, it is prone to scratches over time.

One of the easiest methods to maintain vinyl scratch-free is to scrub it daily using a hard-floor-approved cleaner and mop. Remove dirt and grime to avoid scraping the floor’s surface by sweeping broom over it. 

Laminate flooring has the design to replicate the look of hardwood flooring at a fraction of the cost. In comparison to vinyl flooring, laminate flooring is not fully waterproof. If injuries or spills occur, clean the area immediately to prevent scratching the floor or allowing the substance to swell. 

The majority of laminate flooring is not pet-friendly. Several types of laminate flooring, on the other hand, are specially built to meet the needs of dogs. Prevent moisture damage by placing a protective pad under the pet’s litter box or water bowls.

Pros & Cons of Vinyl flooring

There are some upsides and downsides for vinyl flooring, which you must know before buying any of them.

Pros
  • Vinyl floors are always water-resistant, suitable for installation in the bathroom, toilet, and places where water is an issue.
  • It is scratch-resistant too. Thus you can think of installing it in your house if you are worried about pets and children. In this case, laminate would be the best choice.
  • This flooring is suitable for significant gathering places.
  • Vinyl planks are cheap and reliable.
  • It doesn’t require continuous maintenance as laminate does.
  • There are thousands of designs available for vinyl planks. You can feel a natural wood aesthetic.
Cons
  • Fading is a problem with vinyl planks.
  • Heavy furniture creates dents in the specific spot.

Pros & Cons of laminate flooring

Similar to Vinyl flooring, Laminate flooring does have reasonable upsides and downsides.

Pros
  • Undoubtedly laminate floors are fade resistant.
  • It is environmentally friendly. All the materials in laminate flooring are recyclable.
  • There are thousands of designs of wood, stone, tile, etc. You can decide among all these designs depending on your specific plans and ideas. Even you can customize your structure to laminate flooring.
  • If you choose a wood species design, it will provide you with the feeling of natural hardwood floors.
  • If you consider your dining and living room, laminate floors would be the best compared to vinyl flooring.
Cons
  • Laminate floors are slightly prone to scratch. Thus, laminate flooring is not suitable for pets and children, other than some particular type.
  • For DIY installation, laminate flooring is more complicated than vinyl flooring.
  • You will need to get the proper instruction for maintaining and cleaning the laminate floors.

Summary

Both vinyl planks and laminate have their advantages and disadvantages. Both are also a more affordable choice than hardwood and other forms of flooring. Laminate presents a more natural look. It is available in many different styles and colors to complement any home. It is incredibly long-lasting. When properly maintained, it will preserve its elegance for several years. Consumers will discover that it is the superior option for the majority of spaces. However, vinyl planks might be the better option in certain instances. These are suitable for bathrooms and other rooms that absorb moisture. 

Overall, laminate is the superior alternative for the majority of homeowners. It is suitable for almost any space, is highly durable, and offers a more comfortable and fashionable option for any home.

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