Laminate vs. Vinyl – Which One To Choose For Your Household?

Have you ever been in a dilemma because you can’t decide what’s right for your flooring? Laminate vs. vinyl, which is better?

I guess the majority would answer a big “YES”. Choosing between laminate and vinyl is crucial since the flooring will serve as the stage of your house, office or wherever you plan to install one.

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In deciding, we only want to use materials that are safe and have a high quality. Determining what’s better between the two won’t take that much time since this article is dedicated to those who are in doubt.

Is laminated flooring better than vinyl flooring? Or is it the other way around? This question may be difficult especially when you aren’t sure of the difference and how their difference matters to some factors.

So let the fight begin – laminate vs. vinyl. Let’s see who will reign supreme.

Characteristics of Laminate

laminate vs. vinyl - laminate

Laminate flooring is 99% wood product. It is made from layers of wood while the upper layer is made out of high-density fiber board that is wedged together using the so-called lamination process. With laminate flooring, you get the following benefits:

  • It’s easy to install
  • It comes with various designs and colors
  • Laminate is stain and fade resistant
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Good for the children
  • Durable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Pet-friendly
  • Good alternative for expensive flooring
  • Prone to damage if wet

When you buy laminate flooring for your interior design needs, make sure to check the product thoroughly, and it is best to inquire if you have concerns.

Characteristics of Vinyl

Vinyl flooring is 100% plastic and made of engineered products. It’s a building material made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC. If you want to use vinyl, you should know that it’s:

  • Durable
  • Moisture resistant
  • Low cost and long lasting
  • Easy to maintain
  • Provides good insulation
  • Customizable
  • Easy to install
  • Can look dull after several years of use
  • Sensitive to sunlight

Include vinyl flooring when choosing a flooring option for your home or office, and make sure to drop by Home Depot and check a wide variety of designs available.

9 Differences Between Laminate vs. Vinyl

Both laminate and vinyl flooring have their own advantages, but how does one differ from the other? How do you know which one you should choose?

Application

laminate vs. vinyl - application

Laminate flooring used in the receiving area - Vinyl flooring used in a bathroom

Both laminate and vinyl can be installed in almost all areas in your home or office, but there are factors to consider especially because both are made from entirely different materials but are basically used for the same reason.

To help you further, we’ll differentiate the laminate flooring from vinyl flooring and point out the advantages of each one; this will provide you info on what to choose since the decision what to use for the different areas in your home or office relies entirely on you.

Laminate Flooring

  • Best to use in areas regularly used by children and pets (e.g. living room, basement, stairs).
  • With foam underlay, it is ideal to avoid noise for areas with heavy foot traffic (e.g. hallway, lobby).
  • Require climatically stable environment, away from extreme moisture or humidity to prevent laminate from swelling when exposed to too much moisture/water.

Vinyl Flooring

  • It is very versatile. Hence, it is usable in all types of industries.
  • It absorbs noise, so it is ideal in areas with heavy foot traffic (e.g. corporate office, shopping centers, schools).
  • Ideal for areas susceptible to high moisture and humidity (e.g. bathroom, kitchen).

Look & Style (Appearance)

The beauty of both laminate and vinyl is that they offer a variety of designs from which you can choose from depending on your taste and interior design plans. The two flooring options boast of its ability to imitate different natural materials.

laminate vs. vinyl - texture

Samples of laminate and vinyl floor

Laminate flooring is designed to appear like hardwood, and it comes with a variety of layouts, patterns, colors, textures, and it imitates natural wood materials and offers countless customizable designs.

Vinyl is not behind when it comes to offering different shapes, textures, designs, and colors. The vinyl flooring can imitate the look of natural material, tile, porcelain or stone, and offer countless customizable designs as well.

Durability & Stability

It is always essential that you check on the durability and stability of the product when deciding what to use for your flooring needs. Durability is when the material can withstand the wear and tear leading to its extended use over time, while stability is the thickness of the material and its component that it can hold its shape and size over time.

Both laminate and vinyl are fairly durable and stable in some conditions.

Laminate

  • Made up of recycled hardwood
  • Rigid and strong
  • Not water-resistant
  • Can last up to 30 years with proper installation and maintenance
  • Stain and scratch resistant

Vinyl

  • Can last up to 50 years with proper installation and maintenance
  • Water-resistant
  • Sealant required
  • Flexible material
  • Has the ability to expand contract

Cost

They say, if you want quality, you have to pay the price. In the case of laminate and vinyl, the price to pay differs widely as several factors have to be considered such as the thickness, color, design, and the material used. Laminate and vinyl’s price doesn’t differ that much (vinyl is slightly cheaper).

You can always spare some bucks to buy laminate for your flooring needs since by average, laminate flooring is priced from around $1 to $5 a square foot for material and from $2 to $8 a square foot installed. Vinyl’s price varies because of its variety in the market, but generally, its cost ranges from around $1 to $5 a square foot while $1.75 to $7 for installed vinyl.

Ease of Installation

If you are the type who loves to work on things at home personally, then you can install your laminate or vinyl flooring since both are easy to install with just the proper tools and knowledge. Some materials need a professional installer, though.

Installing a laminate flooring requires you to put foam underlayment, and you don’t have to worry about the cost as this is inexpensive. The laminate flooring installation will require you to do some cutting, so you need to prepare all the necessary tools. If you don’t want to do the hard work, then you can just request for a professional installer. The price ranges from $1.50 to $3 a square foot.

Vinyl flooring can come in large rolls or tile-sized, thus it can be installed in several ways. You can either use the glue-down system or employ the peel-and-stick method. If you want to skip getting exhausted, then you can just call the professional installer, price ranges from $1 to $3 per sq. ft

Moisture Resistance

We have learned that vinyl is 100% plastic, thus making it extremely water resistant even to standing water. Vinyl can have a few as zero seams making it ideal to install anywhere in the house.

Laminate is not waterproof, however, so when it is installed in humid places or areas exposed to moisture, the material will react to the constant moisture and expand and contract that will resort to distortion.

Comfort and Thickness

The comfort both laminate and vinyl offer differs since both are made entirely from different materials.

Laminate is easier to walk on because of its thickness and wood content. Its thickness ranges from 6mm – 12mm. On the other hand, vinyl is comfortable to walk on because of its softness. Its thickness ranges from 1.5mm – 5mm.

Green Value

Comparing laminate and vinyl for its green value is quite similar. Vinyl, being a 100% plastic can be considered unhealthy for the environment, but with the continuous innovation, there are vinyl floorings that reach a LEED credit EQ4.3 for Low-Emitting Material.

Laminate flooring basically uses wood content, making it an eco-friendly product, but with germ-resistance features.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Laminate and vinyl aren’t only easy to install, it is also easy to clean and maintain allowing you to spend more time with your family and friends.

If you’re a busy person and you know that cleaning your flooring takes time, then use laminate flooring as it only needs occasional vacuuming, sweeping or damp mop (as you know laminate isn’t water resistant).

When replacing a damaged plank, you’ll have to remove the affected plank and replace it a brand new plank.

You can employ either a damp or steam mop when cleaning your vinyl flooring, since this product is water resistant so there’s no need to worry.

Conclusion

Laminate vs. vinyl, they both have their own advantages and disadvantages as much as they both have similarities and differences. This discussion of their pros and cons, and their similarities and differences is what makes this article helpful because it gives us all the options to choose what is best to use for our flooring needs. It allows us to think and discuss this very important matter.

Planning is very important when selecting the best flooring option for your needs, so make sure to consult your family and friends to come up with the best decision. Remember to consider all the factors mentioned above in order to get the finest option.

Now that we have identified the relevant facts we need to know between the laminate and vinyl flooring, and we have decoded the distinction that separates them, it is safe to say that you can now decide what is best to use in your home or business office. Which one have you chosen? Leave it in the comment section below.

Ethan Johnson
 

I’m Ethan Johnson. I’m a mechanical engineer, and I’m passionate about Home Improvement. I hope my skills and experience can help you remodel your home by turning simple, inexpensive, and innovative ideas into easy tasks that you can DIY! So no need to go too far, just read on and you’ll be ready to get the ball rolling.

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