In the flooring industry, laminate and vinyl flooring are the most popular choices for homeowners. However, each flooring type has unique features. If you are having a hard time choosing between the two flooring types, we are here to help you make a decision.
In this article, we have listed the best laminate and vinyl floor features and minor setbacks. Deciding on your home's flooring plan is a long process. It can affect the general mood of your house. Your choice should make your home feel warm, comfortable, welcoming, and fits your taste.
Let's talk over the pros and cons of each flooring type and see which fits best in your living spaces.
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminated flooring is prepared through the compression of several hybrid materials such as wear layer, a particle board wood, and an image layer. These layers are compressed in high heat and pressure then mixed with binding chemicals to turn them into a flooring plank or cover.
The Pros of Laminate Flooring
Here are some of the excellent features when you use laminate floors for your home.
- Easy to Clean and Low Maintenance
Laminate floors are low maintenance compared to other flooring types that need professional help to clean. Laminate flooring does not need much attention and can be easily kept in good condition with a mop, water, and mild soap. Other organic floorings such as natural stone can have a chemical reaction to this cleaning material and can ruin the flooring design. But you don't need to worry about these on laminated planks.
Laminated floors are excellent for homes with little children and pets. Naturally, the claws of your fur babies and your child's toys can scratch your flooring, and it can be a headache to remedy them. Fortunately, laminated flooring is scratch-resistant, so you don't have to worry about damaged flooring even when everyone is running around.
- Cheaper Option
If you are looking for flooring that enhances the beauty of your home and fits within your budget, laminated floors are the best material. The average cost of laminated planks is $1 per square foot. However, planks with intricate designs can go up to $8 per square foot.
Compared to other flooring materials that can cost over $50 per square foot, laminate floor tiles can give you significant savings.
- Easy Installation
No need for professional workers and special equipment to install the laminate flooring planks. These materials snap together like a puzzle piece for easy installation. The underside layer is made from cushioning materials, making laminated planks easy to put on old floors. No need to take them out.
You can do this as your DIY home project so you can save on labor costs and extra fees that come from flooring installation.
The Cons of Laminate Flooring
Here are some of the downsides of the laminated floors you should consider before using them in your living spaces.
- Moisture Can Affect the Flooring
The laminated floor can prevent moisture from seeping into the floor. The moisture problem arises when you install the flooring in a humid environment. For example, when you directly install the planks on a soil subfloor, the moisture can seep from the under layer and make the flooring planks swell.
When the flooring expands due to water absorption, the planks will be moved out of place and can cause uneven surfaces, leading to unfortunate accidents.
- Prone to Chipping
Even the best laminate planks can be prone to chipping. This flooring is made from layering certain materials, but it uses the least number of layers that affect its durability compared to other floor types.
Avoid using laminated flooring planks on high traffic areas and rooms with heavy equipment and furniture if you want your flooring to last long.
- Feels Inexpensive
There are different designs you can choose from with laminated floors, but you can texture these planks. Unfortunately, you cannot mimic the experience of having solid hardwood. It feels hard on every step and gives an unnatural vibe.
What Is Vinyl Flooring?
It is hard to determine if the floor is vinyl or laminate by just looking at it. The two flooring types are both made by compressing several layers of materials to create a floor plank. Vinyl floor planks are made from synthetic materials that are compressed together. But instead of using particleboard wood, manufacturers print image layers to achieve the design the consumers want.
There are two classifications of vinyl: vinyl rolls and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). The difference between the two types is LVT mimics the feeling of solid hardwood and natural stone by adding a different texture to each plank that will surely intensify the beauty of your home.
The Pros of Vinyl Flooring
Here are some of the best features of vinyl floor that make it an excellent choice for the areas of your home.
- Guaranteed Moisture Resistant
Vinyl plank flooring is 100% moisture-proof. Unlike laminated floor, which has a wood layer that can be susceptible to moisture and humidity, vinyl is made from compressed PVC, which is impenetrable by liquid.
This makes vinyl an excellent choice for areas that interact with water, like the kitchen and the bathroom.
- It Has a Commercial-Grade Wear Layer
The topmost part of the floor planks is the wear layer. It provides durability-, scratch-, moisture-, and stain-resistant properties for the flooring. Coupled with modern technology, the wear layer of the vinyl floors is the toughest on the market. These floors can withstand wear and tear for up to 25 years.
- Inexpensive Alternative for Cement, Natural Stone, and Wood Flooring
Many homeowners want to achieve that elegant look by using fancy materials for their interior decoration. We cannot deny that materials like wood and stone give an expensive look and add value to our home. But these materials come with a high tag price.
You can still achieve that beautiful interior that fits within your budget. Vinyl flooring costs significantly less than stones and wood. Vinyl rolls start at $2 per square foot. If you want to elevate your textures experience, LVT costs around $8 to $15 per square foot.
Since manufacturers use image layers on vinyl planks, there are endless options for designs and colors. You will surely find a matching floor for the theme of your home.
- Easy Installation and Low Maintenance
Like laminate floors, you can install vinyl floor planks yourself. You can do various DIY installation processes such as glue down, loose lay, and click lock. This will save you extra fees from labor pay.
It also does not need professional help to maintain the floors. Run a mop with water and soap to keep your floor shiny. Make it a habit to regularly sweep your floors to eliminate the dust and other small particles to keep them clean and smooth.
The Cons of Vinyl Floors
Still can't decide between laminate vs. vinyl flooring? Here are some of the downsides of vinyl flooring you may want to look at before making a decision.
- Prone to Puncture and Dents
Vinyl floors have scratch-resistant properties, but be careful of dropping sharp objects on the floor because they can puncture the planks and damage their appearance. In addition, the holes from the punctured area can be a way for water to come through that can ruin your flooring.
Vinyl floors can withstand the wear and tear of high traffic areas. However, heavy objects or furniture on vinyl can still dent the planks. Even on solid hardwoods, heavy objects leave a mark on the floor. So position the objects in your house accordingly.
- Non-biodegradable and Difficult to Remove
Vinyl floors are made from PVC, which is a type of plastic that is non-biodegradable. However, if you want an eco-friendly flooring material, other choices can help you conserve the environment.
As you already know, vinyl can be installed using glue or floor adhesive. These planks are replaceable; the downside is it can be very hard to pull out the floors when you use a bonding agent for the planks and the subfloor. In addition, you will need to use chemicals that will weaken the glue to separate and scrape it off completely.
- Susceptible to Fading
Vinyl floors can easily fade when they are always directly exposed to UV rays. So, to keep the vibrant colors of your flooring, avoid areas exposed to sunlight or put a curtain in your windows to avoid direct exposure.
So which is better, vinyl or laminate flooring? Both have merits, depending on where you use the material. They both also cost significantly less than other flooring materials.
Laminate flooring can be good in the bedroom, living room, and non-humid environment. On the other hand, vinyl floors are best for heavy traffic areas like your foyer, and since it's waterproof, this floor can also elevate your bathroom and kitchens!
Have fun mixing and matching different floor samples and brightening up your living spaces. Check our other blogs for different flooring materials to explore other options.