Which Floor is Better - Laminate or Luxury Vinyl
Laminate and luxury vinyl are excellent hard surface flooring products. They are both easy to install and have an impactful visual appearance. There are a few key differences (core materials and wear layer) that set them apart. Picking the best options depends on your design preferences and priorities.
What is laminate?
Laminate is made from real hardwood byproducts, held together with resins. Laminate floors are made of 4 layers:
- Bottom backing layer - this layer stabilizes the floor and protects it from moisture
- Core Layer - composted for medium or high-density fiberboard
- Patter Layer - a photorealistic image to create the desired look
- Wear Layer - the top sealant layer, protecting against scratches and moisture
What is Luxury Vinyl?
Luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are synthetic or stone composite materials. This material is pressed into thin layers that are glued to form the core layer of the planks. Like laminate, luxury vinyl floors are also made of 4 layers. The other layers in the planks are very similar to laminate, with differences in materials and thicknesses making the biggest impact.
What is the difference between laminate and luxury vinyl?
The biggest difference is the core layer material. In many luxury vinyls, this material is a plastic or stone composite core, giving it a rigid core structure. The core material in laminate is wood byproducts. Another difference is the thickness of the wear layer. The thicker the wear layer, the more protection against scratches.
Some LVPs also come with an added layer of bottom padding to help with sound protection and give it a softer feel as you walk.
Are laminate and luxury vinyl floors water-resistant?
Water-resistant, yes. Waterproof, depends. The level of water resistance and waterproofing depends on the product and manufacturer. Most LVPs are waterproof from the top down, but be sure to check the manufacturer's information.
This also makes some products better for specific rooms in your home.
Both laminate and luxury vinyl planks are easy to install and are great for DIY projects. You will need a few tools to install these floors. A circular saw for installing laminate flooring, and a utility knife for LVP will help you cut the materials. Most of the styles can be installed as a floating floor, and have an easy click lock system.
There are other types of vinyl flooring that must be glued to the subfloor.
The overall look and feel of laminate vs luxury vinyl is almost indistinguishable. They both provide realistic visuals and an embossing texture that feels just that real wood. The character of real hardwood flooring can be found in many laminate and luxury vinyl plank flooring options.
Both flooring options are durable. The core materials for both make them internally strong, but the top wear layer is what sets them apart. The top wear layer on most luxury vinyl products ranges from 12 mils to 20 mils, making them extremely scratch-resistant.
Thus, they are excellent for pets, high-traffic areas, and active families. With either type of flooring, it is recommended that you be careful when moving furniture and appliances.
Do you have more questions? Or what to see the products in-person? Let us know and we’ll have one of our Personal Flooring Advisors meet you in our showroom, or they can bring our showroom to your living room with our Mobile Floor Source. Our Personal Flooring Advisors are highly trained and will be able to walk you through the best flooring choice for your home, lifestyle, and budget.