Laminate Wood Flooring vs. Vinyl (Detailed Guide)
Many benefits of vinyl and laminate flooring are similar, including affordability, easy do-it-yourself installation, durability, and beautiful appearance. Both types of flooring even appear similar from a distance.
In every category, neither type of flooring is superior to the other. For example, vinyl flooring performs well in locations with a lot of moisture and is simple to maintain. However, laminate flooring has a more excellent resale value and gives a broader range of aesthetic options.
Laminate Wood Flooring vs. Vinyl, composites like vinyl and laminate have several things in common. There are a few significant changes, though. Notably, laminate is more readily available, inexpensive, and accessible to maintain than vinyl, and it tends to be a little more durable.
Laminate wood flooring and vinyl flooring are both popular options for homeowners. Laminate flooring has a fiberboard core made of wood byproducts, while vinyl is 100% synthetic. Laminate is less expensive than hardwood or porcelain tile but not waterproof.
Video: Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring
Mind taking a Look at this other Flooring as well? What is Vinyl Plank Flooring and How to Install Glue Down Vinyl Plank Flooring
A laminate floor comprises of a water-resistant base layer and a high-density fiberboard core with many layers. Although the core is frequently wholly synthetic, it could also contain wood debris to some extent, lessening the environmental impact.
Laminate Wood Flooring vs. Vinyl
The following layer consists of a photographic print with various designs, including imitations of materials like stone, wood, and tile. On top of the print is a resin coating for the final layer. Finally, laminate flooring can be glued to a subfloor, floated, or fastened with nails or adhesive.
Luxury vinyl comprises numerous layers of synthetic polyvinyl chloride or PVC. It features a durable, wear-layering urethane coating. Vinyl can be installed using glue-down, snap-and-click, peel-and-stick, or floating techniques.
LVP, or luxury vinyl plank, is the material of choice for people on a restricted budget who wish to resemble natural wood flooring. They come in variations for smooth or textured surfaces for a more realistic appearance. LVT, or luxury vinyl tile, is better at imitating a wider variety of materials, especially natural stones, and concrete. In addition, because there is a wider variety of sizes and widths available for the tiles, joints are less common and less noticeable.
Pros and Cons of Laminate Floors
As we make clear in our recommendations on laminate flooring, the key advantages of laminate over other types of flooring for homes—and the reasons it is so well-liked—are its low cost, simplicity of installation, and ease of upkeep.
Because it is mainly synthetic flooring that can be easily mass-produced using inexpensive materials, laminate is inexpensive. Because most laminate uses click-and-lock assembly, which requires no nails or glue and can be floated over most pre-existing subflooring, it is simple to install. The thick and transparent covering wear layer for the flooring’s surface. Also makes it simple to clean and maintain.
What’s the point of installing laminate flooring all over your house? Many people do, but occasionally it’s worthwhile to weigh the benefits of laminate flooring against those of other floorings. Although vinyl flooring is less expensive than hardwood flooring, there are times when a more expensive hardwood floor would be a better fit for your home. Laminate flooring is a great mid-priced option.
Which Flooring Is Best?
Appearance and Comfort
Under the strict, transparent Superior vinyl plank and tile floors employ an image or photo layer instead of the wear layer. Usually, this image shows a kind of wood (such as oak, maple, or hickory), while less usually, it shows a kind of stone.
However, not all vinyl flooring has this genuine look. After printing with a rotogravure method (like a cylinder printing machine), a clear wear layer is added to older, less expensive vinyl sheets and tile flooring.
All laminate flooring simulates real wood or stone using a high-definition photographic layer placed below the wear layer.
The distinguishing quality of laminate flooring is its appearance. Laminate flooring is available in almost every color, species, and style of real wood and stone flooring, including hand-scraped, rustic, reclaimed wood, multi-tonal, natural finish, whitewashed, multi-length, and many more.
Water and Heat Resistance
A fiberboard core is used in nearly all laminate flooring products. This core will soften and expand if exposed to water because it is a wood product. However, the fiberboard core won’t revert to its previous size after drying. Additionally, the wear and design layers can occasionally peel off if the core has become wet. Laminate flooring severely harmed by water typically needs to be replaced and cannot be repaired.
Laminate, adequately laid flooring, with clean baseboards or moldings and tight seams, can withstand standing water briefly. Laminate flooring is bad for family bathrooms or other locations where standing water is expected. However, newer laminate materials might be better at resisting water. You can use laminate flooring in low moisture regions if you can devote yourself to promptly cleaning up any spills and puddles that may occur.
Older varieties of vinyl flooring could feature a waterproof fabric or felt backing. However, most recent vinyl flooring models are constructed entirely of polymer ingredients. As a result, luxury vinyl flooring can be submerged completely in water for extended periods, dried out, and utilized without damage.
Similar to laminate flooring, vinyl flooring is readily scorched if a hot pan or appliance is dropped. However, temperature changes do not affect vinyl flooring unless it is hot, which may have problems like expansion and melting adhesive.
How To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
Working time: 1 to 2 days
Total time: 1 to 2 days
Skill level: Intermediate
Project cost: $300 to $600 for 100 square feet
Want a cheap, waterproof flooring option that can use in almost any space, including bathrooms and kitchens? Vinyl plank flooring is the best way to go, and it’s also relatively straightforward to install. Wide varieties of vinyl plank flooring have a floating characteristic, so there is no need to glue or nail them to the subfloor since the floor’s weight keeps them in place. If there is a strong subfloor, you can install vinyl plank flooring in one or two rooms in about a day.
When to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl plank flooring installation can happen successfully in any season and under environmental circumstances. Just make sure the temperature is higher than 50 and lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unlike other forms of flooring like laminate or wood, Vinyl plank flooring does not need to acclimate to the space before installation, though make sure to read the instructions for your product. Then, after other trades such as drywall, plumbing, painting, and electrical have been finished, install the flooring.
Be aware that some adhesives or flooring materials may contain asbestos if you intend to remove the current flooring. Asbestos may be released into the air through cutting, sanding, chipping, and other operations that break up asbestos-containing materials. However, asbestos is typically left in situ with a floor covering.
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- Straight edge
- Rubber mallet
- Floor tapping block
- Multi-tool or jamb saw
- Circular saw or jigsaw
- Vinyl plank flooring
- Joint spacers (1/4-inch)
- Painter’s tape
Let’s look at how the changes in their construction impact the durability and appearance of vinyl and laminate.
Recall all the discussions about density. Nevertheless, once the flooring is placed, its density transforms into durability.
LVP flooring is excellent for use with children, pets, and other hard-on-floor objects. Unlike laminate, it won’t scratch as easily. And while installing floors, density is also crucial. Both kinds of floors have a tongue and groove and a click-lock system. However, if you unintentionally tap the laminate flooring too firmly during installation, you risk damaging the edges. The boards, then, don’t fit together well. Now that’s a serious issue. You waste planks or have to put up with damaged and scratched edges.
Less density suggests a lower level of durability for laminate flooring. Additionally, laminate flooring will fade in the sun if the wear layer is not coated for UV radiation protection.
The Winner: Luxury Vinyl Plank
LVP is superior when it comes to durability.
Laminate flooring features a representation of actual wood. Because high-definition photography preserves the wood grain and the color of the wood, it looks amazingly like wood. The surface of laminate planks can resemble genuine wood remarkably closely. When racking the floor before installation, you must make sure to mix up the patterns used by the majority of manufacturers. You must rack them like wood because they resemble it so much.
In several ways, vinyl planks resemble wood. The planks first fit together snugly, much like a genuine hardwood floor. Additionally, the vinyl is printed with a depiction of actual wood, just like laminate flooring. The planks also look like finished wood thanks to the wear layer and UV protection coatings. In contrast to laminate planks, vinyl plank flooring frequently has a texture. As a result, the planks have both the appearance and the feel of real wood. Similar to laminate, many images of wood are utilized. Therefore, you must rack the planks to ensure an even distribution of each design during installation.
Where Can You Install Luxury Vinyl Plank vs Laminate Plank Flooring?
LVP and laminate are used in very similar ways. However, there is one significant distinction.
Recall how laminate flooring was once made with chipped wood or particleboard as the core. Well, when it gets wet, that thing swells. As a result, it may decay and mold as well. Also, because laminate flooring isn’t waterproof, you can’t install it anywhere that might get wet.
However, you can still use laminate locations that won’t get wet. For instance, laminate flooring is an excellent choice for finished basements, living rooms, and dining rooms. In addition, you can take a risk and put laminate down in a small bathroom with just a sink and a toilet.
Comparing the Cost of Laminate vs. Vinyl
Cost is usually a significant consideration when making home improvements. So why bother considering the product if it doesn’t fit the budget?
Fortunately, laminate and LVP offer an affordable substitute for solid hardwood flooring. Without the excessive expense of the wood planks and installation, you may still have wood’s cozy, organic appearance.
The cost of LVP flooring is higher than that of laminate. The costlier production method and raw materials used to make the flooring are passed on to the consumer. There are LVP alternatives that are affordable. Be sure not to sacrifice quality production for a less expensive product.
Also, think about whether you need any additional underlayment. For example, LVP with an integrated underlayment may cost the same as laminate flooring with an additional underlayment.
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What is vinyl flooring?
It is simple to install vinyl flooring in the form of sheets, tiles, or planks that join to create a floating floor because it is solid and waterproof. It works well in kitchens, baths, and all other rooms in a home.
What are the main differences of laminate and vinyl flooring?
Vinyl flooring is fully waterproof, but laminate flooring is not. Both floors are stain-resistant and include the underlayment option but are constructed slightly differently. Vinyl flooring is created from synthetic polymer ingredients, while laminate flooring employs a fiberboard core made of by-products from wood processing.
Is vinyl or laminate flooring easier to clean?
You can sweep both types of floors. However, what should only mop laminate flooring with an almost dry mop? Vinyl floors can be wet.