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Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: Which Is Best for Your Home?

Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: Which Is Best for Your Home?
by Jerome Foster - August 23, 2022

Manufacturers of flooring have evolved and refined the materials they use to produce excellent options for homes over the years. If you're searching for sturdy and economical flooring, laminate and vinyl are both excellent choices. In addition, they both come in a range of styles that simulate wood, tile, and stone. So how can you determine which is ideal for your residence?

While vinyl and laminate flooring share many similarities, there are a few significant differences. When picking which to put in your home, you should take the necessities of your home and the space you're remodeling into account. Waterproofing and standing comfort can make or break a purchase.

Learn the distinctions between vinyl and laminate flooring, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What Is Vinyl Flooring?

Multiple layers of vinyl flooring create a resilient and waterproof surface. The core of solid vinyl is covered by a printed vinyl layer and a wear layer. These synthetic materials improve your floor's moisture resistance, as water may remain on it for extended durations without causing damage. The vinyl flooring options available to homeowners include vinyl planks, WPC vinyl, and Rigid Core vinyl flooring.

The design options for vinyl flooring used to be restricted, but vinyl has been enhanced to include a number of styles and patterns for a more modern and appealing appearance. Vinyl flooring offers more design options than laminate flooring; vinyl floors can resemble not only wood but also stone and ceramic flooring.

What Is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring was one of the first man-made alternatives to hardwood floors when it was initially produced in the 1970s. It's a terrific option for homeowners who desire the look of hardwood floors without spending a lot of money on flooring materials. Its dense composition makes it rather comfortable to walk on, thus it can be utilized in living spaces and corridors.

Like vinyl, laminate is composed of synthetic materials that mimic the appearance of genuine hardwood. Laminate flooring layers are comparable to vinyl flooring layers but are produced from different materials. Laminate flooring consists of an inner core board covered with a decorative picture image and topped with a protective wear layer or "overlay."

Unfortunately, vinyl flooring is more resistant to moisture than laminate flooring. Even while certain laminate flooring options are water-resistant, they can still be harmed by prolonged contact with water.

Comparing Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring

Vinyl and laminate flooring have many similarities, including affordability and relative ease of installation. Both of these synthetic flooring materials are available in an array of hues, patterns, and styles to complement your home's existing decor. Although the two flooring kinds are extremely similar, there are a few distinct variances between them. Check into them:

Appearance And Design

In terms of beauty and style, laminate flooring tends to be slightly superior. It features more realistic embossing that more closely resembles hand-scraped hardwood. Using its embossing processes, vinyl can resemble wood, although it seems most authentic and natural on thicker core vinyl flooring.

Vinyl and laminate flooring are constructed of different materials. Vinyl is produced from synthetic materials. The base layer of vinyl sheets is typically composed of fiberglass and covered with PVC vinyl and a plasticizer. Then, it is imprinted with a pattern and coated with layers of wear protection, such as no-wax polyurethane.

In contrast, laminate contains a core composed of wood byproducts. The object is then sealed with resin. The top layer, which is the walking surface, is a clear plastic layer for wear protection. It is placed over the design layer with the desired color and pattern. Laminate flooring is typically thicker than vinyl flooring, resulting in increased warmth and comfort when standing or walking on it.

Water Resistance

Water resistance is the primary distinction between laminate and vinyl flooring, with vinyl being the clear winner. Most contemporary vinyl floors are composed entirely of polymer ingredients, allowing them to withstand substantial volumes of water. It can be submerged in water, dried, and utilized as usual. Additionally, vinyl sheets enable the installation of a single sheet for an entire room, preventing water from seeping through seams.

Laminate has poor water resistance. Most items contain a fiberboard core, which can expand or soften when exposed to moisture for an extended period of time. This soggy core may eventually cause the upper layers to break off. Therefore, laminate flooring may not be the best option for damp environments such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Installation

Installation of laminate and vinyl flooring can be rather simple, depending on the flooring products selected. Both are viable solutions for individuals who favor DIY projects.

Laminate flooring is installed using a click-and-lock system. This indicates that the planks are inserted into the groove of adjacent planks, and when they are fastened in, the seam is closed. The majority of laminate flooring projects are constructed as "floating" floors, meaning they can be laid over existing flooring. Using a standard table saw, you can trim sections to fit your floor.

Vinyl installation methods are more versatile. You can also choose between click-and-lock, peel-and-stick, and glue-down planks. Vinyl sheet is more difficult to work with because of their weight and the need for accurate cutting around the room's contours and angles. Due to this, it may necessitate professional installation.

Cleaning And Maintenance

Vinyl flooring is simple to maintain and clean. It is acceptable to use a damp mop on these floors; for obstinate stains, you can scrub them using suitable cleaning agents. Vinyl may be cleaned using a variety of methods, and it requires minimal maintenance beyond cleaning.

Due to its limited moisture resistance, cleaning and maintaining laminate flooring can be a more delicate task. Utilize dry alternatives such as a broom or dry mop. If you must mop, choose a mop that appears almost dry to the touch. Otherwise, laminate can be quite low-maintenance.

Cost

Vinyl and laminate floors have comparable pricing. Both are less expensive than alternatives such as hardwood and porcelain tile. However, vinyl can get more expensive if premium flooring options are considered.

Most laminate flooring costs from $1 to $5 per square foot. The cost will be determined by the thickness of your flooring materials and the design styles you select.

Vinyl flooring begins at approximately $1 per square foot for simple sheet vinyl installation. Up to $5 per square foot might be paid for luxury vinyl planks. However, you get more for your money as premium luxury vinyl contains a specific waterproof core and a stronger wear layer.

Durability And Longevity

Laminate flooring is tough and long-lasting, but it is susceptible to water damage. In addition, scratches on the top layer are frequently irreparable. The majority of laminate flooring may endure between 10 and 25 years with adequate care and upkeep.

Vinyl flooring is also renowned for its durability and resilience. Vinyl flooring can withstand high-traffic areas in your home for up to 20 years, despite its perception as a lower-quality material due to its cheaper price. Some vinyl floors may delaminate over time, depending on the care and maintenance.

Best Flooring by Room

Which flooring material is ideal for each room: laminate or vinyl? Depending on the room's function and foot traffic, you may need a certain flooring material. Where there is little dampness, laminate is a suitable alternative. Vinyl is a superior alternative for spaces with frequent spills and splashes.

As many subterranean spaces are prone to high levels of moisture, vinyl may also be the best flooring option for your basement.

Conclusion: Which Floor Should You Buy?

Laminate flooring and vinyl flooring are both excellent options for do-it-yourselfers seeking inexpensive, durable floors. When purchasing new flooring, you should consider your budget, utility, and aesthetic choices.

Vinyl is the most resistant material to excess moisture and spills, and it might be cheaper than laminate. However, laminate provides a more authentic wood appearance to complement your home's design style.

Author

  • Jerome has worked for an international real estate magazine in the past before joining Prudentialcal. He now spearheads our team of writers and ensures the quality of content we produce weekly.

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