Difference between vinyl & laminate flooring

What is the difference between vinyl and laminate flooring?

It’s easy to see why people confuse vinyl and laminate flooring. Both are cost-effective alternatives to hardwood flooring, attractive, and low-maintenance, but some key differences exist.

We’ll examine the aspects that set them apart and their suitability for different applications.

The material – the biggest difference between vinyl flooring and laminate is the material they’re made from. While laminate has a fiberboard core made of wood byproducts, vinyl is 100% synthetic, composed of sheets of plastic pressed together, which brings us to the next point.

Vinyl is waterproof – because vinyl is completely synthetic, it is waterproof (although it is worth bearing in mind that the glue can be damaged through persistent water exposure). On the other hand, laminate is not waterproof while offering water resistance. For this reason, vinyl is better suited to rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen.

Durability – both vinyl and laminate are easy to clean and maintain and extremely scratch-resistant. However, because vinyl is waterproof, it also tends to last longer than laminate, especially if the latter is exposed to too much moisture. It can also withstand most cleaning materials and is better suited to high-traffic areas.

Appearance – many people find that laminate tends to have a more convincing wood-like appearance than vinyl. However, it is worth noting that newer versions of both vinyl and laminate flooring offer marked improvements over older products.

Installation – while both are easier to install than alternatives such as hardwood flooring, laminate requires you to remove your existing flooring first. In contrast, with vinyl you can simply install directly over your existing flooring. It also requires minimal tools to do so.

Where does LVP come in?

If you’re keen to combine the advantages of both, perhaps the appearance of laminate alongside the waterproof qualities of vinyl, then luxury vinyl plank (LVP) might be a good option for you.

While still being budget-friendly, LVP offers a great range of colors and finishes to choose from. Those at the higher end of the market have a very realistic wood look and feel that you wouldn’t normally associate with vinyl. It’s easy to maintain and clean and repair if you have leftover planks.

Vinyl vs laminate flooring

Whether you opt for vinyl or laminate will depend on your personal preference and requirements, but remember that laminate is probably worth avoiding in areas that may be subject to excess moisture.

If you’re choosing between the two and want help, contact one of our friendly team members for expert guidance.