Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

  • Posted May 31, 2019

Are you in the market for new flooring? If so, you’ve probably heard of laminate and vinyl products. Both are advertised as modern and affordable alternatives to hardwood, but how do they compare? What’s the difference? Which one is better for your home?

Wonder no longer! Here is our guide to the differences between laminate and vinyl flooring:
 

What is Laminate Flooring?

 

What is Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a modern, affordable, and multi-layered fiberboard product that can simulate hardwood, stone, and other natural flooring materials. In other words, it allows you to get the appearance of a premium flooring material at a fraction of the price. Laminate flooring is a floating floor system that should never be glued or nailed to a subfloor. Laminate feels like soft wood underfoot.

Most laminate flooring is composed of four layers:

Backing Layer

The backing layer is made of plastic, melamine, or paper. This bottom layer stabilizes the floor and protects it from moisture.

Core Layer

The core layer is composed of medium or high-density fiberboard.

Pattern Layer

The pattern layer is a large paper photograph that gives laminate its appearance.

Wear Layer

The wear layer is made of an aluminum oxide. It acts as a sealant to protect your floor from scratches and moisture.
 

What is Vinyl Flooring?

 

What is Vinyl Flooring

Unlike laminate, vinyl is 100% plastic. You can get it in sheets, planks or tiles. Luxury vinyl tile allows you to mimic the appearance of natural flooring materials just like laminate. Vinyl used to be inferior to laminate in terms of imaging and textures, but vinyl flooring technology is catching up quickly. Most vinyl flooring is installed with an adhesive, but some vinyl plank floors are floating floor systems like laminate. Vinyl feels like plastic underfoot.
 

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

 

Cost

Laminate and vinyl are comparable in price. Vinyl tends to be less expensive, but the prices vary widely between product types. Sheet vinyl is usually much cheaper than laminate, but higher end vinyl products like luxury vinyl tile are in the same ballpark. One thing is for certain, though—both products are much cheaper than natural flooring materials like hardwood and stone.

The winner? It’s a draw.
 

Real Estate Value

Laminate typically has a higher resale value even though it costs roughly the same as vinyl. Homebuyers tend to view it as a more premium flooring type because it has more advanced features like better imaging, embossment, and better joinery systems. However—luxury vinyl tile continues to become more and more advanced, so it might close the gap in real estate value soon.

The winner? Laminate.
 

Durability

Laminate and vinyl flooring are both extremely durable, but they have their weaknesses. Laminate is prone to scratches and chipped corners over time, so vinyl is probably a better choice for your home if you have pets. Vinyl is scratch-resistant, but it’s more vulnerable to denting and tearing since it’s a softer material. If you decide to install vinyl, make sure to carefully shift your furniture around every once in a while.

The winner? Vinyl.
 

Water Resistance

The big difference between laminate and vinyl flooring is that laminate is water-resistant while vinyl is waterproof. Laminate’s wear layer protects it against minor spills, but it will warp and buckle if standing water seeps into its core layer. Vinyl, on the other hand, is completely waterproof. It isn’t layered, so you don’t have to worry about water damage. Vinyl is the clear winner when it comes to water resistance.

The Winner? Vinyl.
 

Cleaning

Laminate and vinyl are both pretty easy to clean. A weekly vacuum is all you need to make both flooring materials shine. However, we have to give this category to vinyl since it’s waterproof. Vinyl can be steam mopped or wet mopped, while laminate cannot. To achieve a deeper clean for laminate flooring, you’ll need to use a dry mop and a special laminate-specific cleaning product.

The winner? Vinyl.
 


As you can see, laminate and vinyl are both versatile flooring products with unique advantages and disadvantages. Vinyl is typically less expensive and more durable, while laminate has a slightly more premium feel and a higher resale value. Contact America’s Floor Source if you have more specific questions or visit one of our locations in Columbus, Indianapolis, or Louisville to check out our vast selection of laminate and vinyl products. Want to see how laminate or vinyl flooring would look in your home? Schedule a Mobile Floor Source Appointment, and we’ll bring samples right to your home!

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