Many of the benefits of vinyl flooring and laminate flooring are similar, including affordability, easy do-it-yourself installation, durability, and beautiful appearance. Both types of flooring even appear identical 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.
Let’s find out more about vinyl vs laminate flooring to help you make better decisions.
Vinyl flooring: What Is It?
Four layers of materials are typically present in a standard vinyl floor. The backing layer of these is the initial or bottom layer and is generally constructed of cork or foam. It is made to act as the vinyl flooring’s underlayment, saving you the trouble of installing another material first and then installing the vinyl flooring. It also serves as a sound barrier to muffle noise and a cushion to make walking on the floor more comfortable.
Laminate flooring: What Is It?
Laminate flooring is synthetic, unlike natural flooring options like wood, stone, or cork. Wear, décor, core, and backer are the four layers of this item. These layers are sealed together during the lamination process. It is purposefully made to be both inexpensive and durable. It can imitate the appearance of more expensive flooring materials like wood, tile, or stone due to the décor layer (a printed picture).
Comparing Laminate and Vinyl Flooring’s Major Differences
Vinyl flooring is a layered product, similar to laminate flooring, despite appearing to be a solid, homogeneous substance. Vinyl flooring is composed of a minimum of four layers. A high-definition photographic layer lies beneath the top’s clear wear layer. The flooring is mainly made of a thick core layer with a soft foam layer at the bottom.
There are four or five layers of materials in laminate flooring. A photographic image of stone or wood is in the bottom image layer, shielded by a clear wear layer at the top. After the high-density fiberboard, or HDF, which makes up the majority of the product, comes a thin layer that is impact-resistant. Soft foam or, like some laminates, a backer paper layer makes up the last and bottom layer.
Which Flooring Is Best?
Presentation and Comfort
Under the tough, transparent wear layer, higher-quality vinyl plank and tile flooring use an image or photo layer. This picture typically depicts a type of wood (such as oak, maple, or hickory) or, less frequently, a type of stone.
Though not all vinyl flooring has this authentic appearance. Less expensive tile flooring and vinyl sheet is printed using a rotogravure technique like a cylinder printing press and is then covered with a transparent wear layer. The result is a design that may look realistic from a distance but, up close, appears more like a pattern than an actual wood or stone grain.
Vinyl plank flooring has grown in popularity because it often can be installed as a “floating” floor, meaning that planks connect, not to the subfloor, making this a do-it-yourself project.
On the other hand, tile and sheet vinyl flooring is installed using adhesive, which requires some skill (and a steady hand) to spread evenly. These products also come in various thicknesses, with thicker products providing more comfort underfoot. Some luxury vinyl plank and tile products even come with a padded backing layer for additional comfort.
All laminate flooring simulates natural 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 natural wood and stone flooring, including hand-scraped, rustic, reclaimed wood, natural finish, multi-tonal, whitewashed, multi-length, and many more.
Because laminate flooring is a rigid product, it can be installed as a “floating” floor over almost any existing floor, including concrete, wood, and vinyl. In addition, planks click together, much like engineered hardwood, making this another do-it-yourself-friendly installation.
Care and Maintenance
It is advisable to begin cleaning laminate and vinyl flooring using dry methods, such as a vacuum, brush, broom, or dust mop. Most of the time, moist mopping with a neutral detergent is sufficient to remove entrenched dirt.
Wet mopping is when vinyl flooring and laminate flooring diverge. Wet mopping is occasionally the most straightforward cleaning method for particularly unclean floors. While laminate flooring cannot be wet-mopped, vinyl flooring may.
Vinyl flooring has a lifespan of 10-20 years, while laminate flooring has a lifespan of 20-25 years.
At cheap stores, vinyl flooring costs between $0.60 and $4.00 per square foot. The price of sheet vinyl can range from $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot. However, the installation price frequently makes up for the inexpensive cost of sheet vinyl. DIYers can install vinyl planks and tiles, but professional installation is typically necessary for sheet vinyl.
In budget flooring stores, laminate flooring costs between $0.50 and $3.00 per square foot. For textured 12-mm-thick boards, name-brand laminate flooring starts at around $3 per square foot and goes up to about $5 to $8 per square foot.
Pay an average of $6 and above per square foot for professionally placed name-brand laminate flooring.
Installing vinyl flooring is simple. It can be loose-laid or bonded to the subfloor. Vinyl flooring that has been adhered to can be found as tiles or planks with a liquid adhesive or a self-stick adhesive backing. Since planks are attached side-to-side rather than to the subfloor, loose-lay vinyl flooring is also known as a floating floor.
Floors made of laminate are all floating floors. Planks fasten side-to-side, just like vinyl flooring. However, it cannot move because of the floor’s weight and friction. Laminate flooring can also be readily cut by scoring it with a utility knife and breaking it off, just like vinyl flooring.
To sum up
In general, laminate and vinyl flooring can be used interchangeably in home settings. Most deciding elements, such as cost, textures, and style alternatives, are subjective. Water is the one factor that makes vinyl and laminate non-interchangeable. Vinyl flooring is an excellent option for bathrooms since it is unquestionably superior to laminate flooring in areas with a lot of moisture. However, because laminate flooring offers a variety of options, it frequently makes sense for installs throughout the house.
Here at Vinyl Flooring & Beyond, we offer various colors, styles, and textures of vinyl plank flooring. We also have a team of professional installers who are experts at installing vinyl plank floors. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services!