The primary solutions for achieving the realistic look and feel of hardwood floors in a more budget-friendly manner are Laminate and Vinyl floorings. Featuring high technological innovations, both Laminate and Vinyl flooring have proven to be perfect surface choices. While these two flooring options have much in common, they have some major differences that should be considered in choosing the right floor for your project. This guide will give you comprehensive information that will help you to decide whether to choose laminate versus vinyl flooring.

Vinyl Flooring: Pros & Cons

Vinyl flooring has high moisture resistance because of its composition material which is 100 percent plastic. Water spills laying for extended periods of time will not do any damage to vinyl flooring. Due to waterproofness, vinyl flooring is a suitable option for rooms that are prone to water.

Vinyl Flooring Pros

Thanks to its composition materials, vinyl flooring is waterproof. This feature enables vinyl floors to handle high moisture levels pretty well, making it an excellent choice for areas that may come in contact with water. Therefore considering moisture exposure, vinyl flooring is the winner of the debate. Overall, vinyl has superior durability to laminate and a longer lifespan.

Aesthetically speaking, many people might consider vinyl flooring inferior to laminate. However, the improvements in vinyl production technology has enabled them to simulate the look and feel of real stone, tile, and also hardwood floors with high precision.

Vinyl Flooring Cons

Considering budget, vinyl flooring might cost more than laminate. However, vinyl is more durable, being able to last twice as long as laminate, it will require more investment up front.

Laminate Flooring: Pros & Cons

Laminate is a cost-effective synthetic product that mimics the appearance of real hardwood flooring. It has become a popular choice for people who like to have authentic wood flooring but are not willing to pay the cost of real hardwood. Despite the fact that laminate is a budget-friendly flooring product, it is not able to handle moisture very well. Unlike vinyl flooring, laminate is not waterproof and only possesses water-resistance properties. This means that laminate floors get seriously damaged when encountering water for an extended period of time.

Laminate Flooring Pros

The major advantage of laminate flooring with respect to vinyl is the comfy underfoot feeling. Including a thicker composition which includes wood content, helps laminate floors to feel warmer and slightly softer underfoot, while vinyl tends to be quite hard and cold to the touch. This feature helps you to decide which floor gives you pleasure and a better feeling to walk on. Therefore, laminate is a better choice for main living areas and bedrooms.

Although both laminate and vinyl floorings provide a range of styles, colors, and patterns, the appearance of laminate is generally preferred by homeowners. Typically, laminate flooring features better design and embossing which gives it a more realistic look. It is widely preferred to vinyl flooring by homeowners for highly visible areas of their houses, such as living rooms and dining rooms.

Laminate Flooring Cons

Considering durability, laminate flooring does not last as long as vinyl, requiring replacement in 10 years of installation. The positive aspect is that the initial required budget for laminate flooring is generally lower than vinyl.

Vinyl vs. Laminate: Similarities

While comparing vinyl and laminate, it is worth illustrating their similarities as well. Here are the main features that both have in common:

  • Ease of Installation – Both vinyl and laminate offer pretty much ease of installation than hardwood flooring. Generally installed as a floating floor, laminate flooring with its clock-lock installation system enables quick installation without the need for glues or nails. Similarly, several types of vinyl flooring provide an easy to use locking system that could be installed over almost any type of subfloor.
  • Easy Maintenance – When it comes to ease of maintenance, both vinyl and laminate floors offer easy, quick, and effective clean-up. Simply mop, vacuum, or sweep without the need for special cleaning products. The drawback in laminate floors is that they are not able to be wet mopped since they are not resistant to high moisture exposures. If your laminate or vinyl flooring gets damaged, they could be easily repaired or swapped with a new one.
  • Eco-Friendliness – Both of the types come in environmentally friendly options too. If you eco-friendly concerns, look for vinyl with a LEED credit EQ4.3 for Low-Emitting Material or laminate that qualifies for LEED MR4c 4.1-4.2 (Recycled Content) status.
  • Cost – Both laminate and vinyl are cost-effective, durable flooring options. Laminate is generally found at lower prices compared to vinyl. The cost greatly depends on the type, style, and features of the flooring that you look for. Considering the price in vinyl vs. laminate debate, they are relatively comparable. Both of which are considered to be two of the most budget-friendly flooring choices.
  • Long-Term Value – Neither vinyl nor laminate flooring adds considerable resale value to your house compared to solid hardwood, engineered timber flooring, ceramic tile, or natural stone floors. However, considering the price of laminate and vinyl floors, they are both excellent options to quickly upgrade and make your property more presentable when looking to sell your property.

Vinyl Flooring or Laminate?

In summary, vinyl is recommended when you need high moisture resistance, durability, and a long lifetime in your flooring project. While laminate is a better choice when you are looking for a more stylish and realistic appearance, comfy underfoot feeling, and lower cost flooring solution. The table below gives you an overview of the differences and similarities between laminate and vinyl:

 

 

Vinyl 

Laminate  

Style

Endless Options Endless Options

Format

LVT, Tile, Sheet, Plank Plank

Durability 

Extremely Durable Highly Durable

Stability

Reliable Stability Reliable Stability 

Humidity  

Suitable For High Moisture Suitable For Topical Moisture 

Subfloor

Glue; Floating Capability Floating Capability 

Application 

Commercial/Residential Commercial/Residential 

Cost 

Affordable To Higher Price Affordable To Higher Price

Maintenance 

Easy Maintenance Easy Maintenance

Installation 

Easy to Install Easy to Install

Sealer

No Sealer Needed Most Require No Sealer 

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