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Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring Complete Guide

Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring: A Comparison Guide

by Dylan Johnson

Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring – If you want a flooring which is mostly durable, economical and attractive as well as DIY applicable, you might be directed to whether to choose vinyl or laminate.

So here are the key differences of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring you can learn to find a better choice for either your new-built home or your existing home.

The Major Differences Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

The first difference of Vinyl and laminate flooring lays on its material. Vinyl flooring is a 100 percent constructed from synthetic material using fiberglass coated in a plasticizer and PVC vinyl.

The final sheet resulted is the printed and embossed vinyl sheet completed with a surface layer.

This way, the multiple layers are applied followed by a no-wax polyurethane layer.

The core layer of vinyl plank appears to be thicker due to the multi-layer PVC vinyl, making the vinyl thickness starts from 1.5 mm for sheet vinyl and 5 mm for the luxury vinyl planks.

Similarly, laminate flooring comes with the same look and installation technique with the vinyl planks.

The different thing only lays on its core which is constructed from the wood joined using the adhesive.

The laminate top surface is hard while the wear layer is made from a transparent plastic covering the printed design layer.

As a result, the final thickness of laminate flooring planks starts from 6mm to 12mm.

Either vinyl or laminate is able to effectively fight against moisture change on the materials.

In this case, laminate flooring must be selectively choose where to be installed rather than the vinyl.

Look at the chart below to give you a clear picture about where to lay the flooring properly.

Laminate FlooringVinyl Flooring
Bathroom, Partial / FullNoYes
Powder RoomMaybeYes
Dining RoomYesYes
Living RoomYesYes
Home OfficeYesYes

Read Also: Laundry Room Flooring: 7 Best Candidates for You

Appearance of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

It will become an endless topic when it comes to how a flooring look in style.

In regards to appearance, laminate flooring offers a deep and realistic three dimensional ornamentation on its surface along with the vivid imaged of the material. The laminate flooring usually looks like wood, ceramic and stone.

On the other hand, vinyl flooring looks much realistic particularly the luxury vinyl plank flooring which comes with the thicker solid core to mimic the wood look more deeply.

So which flooring type will be the best for appearance?

The answer is laminate flooring.

The appearance of both laminate and vinyl flooring is always comparable.

Though they may share the seemingly same appearance, laminate flooring is able to closely mimic the hand-scrapped hardwood, ceramics, stone and other flooring material.

Water and Heat Resistance

Laminate Flooring

Due to the use of fiberboard core in the laminate flooring manufacture process, the laminate will easily soften and swell if it is much exposed to heat and water.

Though the laminate flooring has dried well, the fiberboard core will never resume it original dimensions. Moreover, the core is waterlogged after the wear and design layers peel away.

In this case, the water-damaged laminate flooring must be replaced since it cannot be repaired.

If the laminate flooring is installed with a proper manner along with the tight seams and good manner, pooled water will not much endanger the floors.

However, this is just for a short period of time. Thus, it is recommended that you not take laminate flooring for your family bathrooms or other watery areas unless you commit to clean the floors from the spills and puddles.

Instead, laminate flooring is good for areas with the low level of moisture.

Vinyl Flooring

In the past, vinyl flooring is constructed from fabric and it is completed with the “No-Waterproof” backing. Nowadays, it is made of 100 percent polymer materials.

Thus, vinyl will stand out in watery areas for long periods. It is also able to dry out, reused and be unaffected.

So which of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring will be best for water and heat resistance?

The answer is vinyl flooring.

In fact, vinyl flooring is not only water resistant but also waterproof.

Either sheet vinyl, vinyl tile or luxury vinyl is 100 percent constructed from the waterproof materials, making it suitable for full bathrooms and other wet locations such as laundry room and basement.

Furthermore, vinyl flooring is available in 12-foot wide rolls without any seams. So it is truly matching the waterproof floor.

Care and Cleaning

Laminate Flooring

Dry methods are the best maintenance for laminate flooring, for example dry mop or broom. If you notice any difficult stains, then you need a damp mop with the dry-touch.

Vinyl Flooring

Easy maintenance is the greatest feature offered by vinyl flooring. A good condition of vinyl flooring can be cleaned up by wet mopping.

Vinyl flooring can even be scrubbed using the recommended cleaning product which is safe to use.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for care and cleaning?

The answer is vinyl flooring.

Basically, either laminate or vinyl flooring is easy to care and clean. However, all the cleaning technique will be applicable only for vinyl flooring.

On the other words, not all of cleaning technique is suitable for laminate flooring.

Durability and Maintenance

The next thing to discuss here on this article is about the durability and maintenance of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring.

In this regards, laminate flooring is durable as well as low-maintenance. However, it is possible that the layers might have been delaminated over time.

It is also much exposed to water for a long period of time. Thus, once it gets scratches on its top wear layer, it will never be able to be repaired.

On the contrary, vinyl flooring is claimed to be tough to stand up against the high traffics though the self-stick vinyl tiles may loosen over time.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for durability and maintenance?

The answer is vinyl flooring.

Vinyl flooring is absolutely durable as well as low-maintenance, allowing the industry to term resilient flooring.

Furthermore, vinyl flooring can also be used in some commercial applications at which the durability and maintenance are the two crucial factors to be aware of.


Laminate Flooring

Click-and-lock is the typical installation method used by laminate flooring. In this case, you need to fit the tongue of one plank into the groove of an adjoining plank.

Fold down the first plank to join the other plank, allowing the boards to fit and close the seam.

You may use an ordinary circular saw along with the fine-tooth blade and a hand saw to cut off the laminate planks.

Vinyl Flooring

Click-and-lock installation technique is also used by vinyl planks. Simply use the utility knife to cut the vinyl well.

Make the score mark firstly and bend back the plank. The second cut will be made from the rear.

Vinyl flooring is difficult to carry out by DIYer because of the heavy and large materials. It is also complicated to cut.

Thus, hiring professional is much recommended for vinyl flooring installation.

So which flooring type will be the best for installation?

The answer is tied. Either laminate or vinyl flooring plank is easy to install if you choose the tile form.

Cost of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

Our Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring review find that laminate flooring costs approximately from $1 per square foot for the 7mm thick planks to $5 per square foot for the 12mm thick planks.

By comparison, the vinyl flooring costs around $1 per square foot for the thin and glue-down version and $5 per square foot for the luxury vinyl planks.

If you want a premium brands, you will typically pay more.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for the cost?

The answer is tied.

Both laminate and luxury vinyl flooring are competitive in price. In fact, they are still cheaper than the natural hardwood, engineered wood and many other ceramic tiles.

Lifespan of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

In regards to the flooring lifespan, both laminate and vinyl are comparable in warranties.

Laminate flooring can last for 10 to 25 years depending on the maintenance performance while vinyl can last for 20 years.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for lifespan?

The answer is tied. Along with the proper maintenance, laminate flooring can last as long as the vinyl flooring.

Environmental Impact

If you concern more about the environment, you must stay with us to check out this information.

While some laminate flooring companies come with the flooring product using LEED MR4 status (Recycle Content), laminate flooring keeps using a plastic surface layer along with the melamine adhesive.

This makes the laminate flooring doesn’t emit the gas chemicals.

On the contrary, vinyl flooring comes with green stature along with the products added by LEED credit EQ4 for low-emitting material.

Vinyl is made from synthetic material, meaning that it produces toxic chemicals when it is burn. Vinyl is not recyclable and it stays long in a landfill.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for environmental impact?

The answer is laminate flooring.

Fortunately, laminate flooring contains natural wood of the fiberboard core.

However, both laminate and vinyl flooring are not environmentally friendly like the linoleum or bamboo flooring.

Stain Resistance

Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring reviews will also inform you the stain resistance offered by both of the flooring type.

In this case, laminate flooring consists of some layers along with the top from aluminum oxide layer. This makes the laminate flooring more resistant to stains.

On the contrary, vinyl flooring consists of a transparent urethane layer coating, providing the floors with the excellent stain resistance.

So which flooring type will be the best for stain resistance?

The answer is tied.

Keep in mind that a good quality and modern flooring either vinyl or laminate consists of wear layers completed with the properties to make the floors stain-resistance.

Comfort and Sound

Truly, laminate flooring offers a warm feeling due to the premium quality of underlayment while all types of vinyl floorings are hard to feel on the feet.

They also feel cold particularly when they are installed on a concrete of ceramic tile floorings.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for comfort and sound?

The answer is laminate flooring.

Compared to wood floors, laminate flooring feels hollow underfoot. If you combine it with the foam, it can feel softer, quieter, and more comfy for the feet to walk on.

Resale Value

The premium laminate flooring offers an extra resale value to a home as long as the flooring is still in a good condition.

By comparison, vinyl flooring especially the major brands will offer a decent resale value. In fact, most buyers are preferring vinyl flooring.

So which of the flooring type will be the best for resale value?

The answer is tied.

The quality of both laminate and vinyl flooring is comparable.

None of them will bring the same high resale value like the solid hardwood, engineered hardwood or ceramic tile as well as natural stone floors.

At the same time, laminate and vinyl flooring are still prospective enough for some home buyers.

Top Brands Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

For vinyl flooring, the top brands you can consider choosing is Mannington, Armstrong and Shaw while for laminate flooring you have the options to pick up Pergo, QuickStep and Dream Home. In this case, Dream Home is available in Lumber Liquidators.

Read Also: Flooring for Pets: 7 Candidates and Which to Avoid

Final Words Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

Finally, dealing with the review of Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring, it proves that both laminate and vinyl offer their own uniqueness and minuses, allowing them to suit most types of homes.

Vinyl flooring is best for wet locations such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and mudrooms while laminate flooring will suit most the dry locations such as living room, bedroom, entry and etc.

So be aware of what types of areas first.