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Bright modern interior with laminate flooring

How to Choose Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

How to Choose Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

Bright modern interior with laminate flooring

Choosing a flooring option is just one of the many decisions you need to make when building or remodeling a home. The right flooring supplies the needed pop to your otherwise dull space. While there are many materials you can choose from, laminate and vinyl remain to be the most popular options for many homeowners. 

So which between laminate and vinyl is the better flooring material for a house? Laminate and vinyl flooring are both durable but affordable flooring types. For bathrooms and laundry rooms, vinyl is the better option because of its heat and moisture resistance. For living rooms, kit There’s actually no easy answer to which is the superior choice because there are factors to consider, but it’s all up to you at the end of the day.. 

Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: Which is Better?

Both laminate and vinyl are budget-friendly flooring options with a couple of similarities, which is why many people confuse them with each other. However, there are important differences between laminate and vinyl that make one better than the other in some situations. Here are some of the important features of vinyl and laminate that set them apart: 

Appearance and Material

The key difference between laminate and vinyl is the material used in making them. Different types of vinyl flooring are usually created with synthetic materials. Most manufacturers utilize fiberglass, plasticizer, and PVC vinyl to manufacture the base layer of the vinyl sheet. They also emboss the material with a specific design and finish it off with a protective layer like polyurethane.

On the other hand, laminate flooring has wood byproducts and resin for its core layer. The design layer is a printout of a natural material (like stone or wood) covered by a transparent and protective wear layer. Laminate is usually thicker than vinyl, which makes it more comfortable to walk on.

When it comes to style and appearance, laminate flooring is superior to vinyl because it comes in realistic embossing that makes it look similar to real wood. Vinyl may also look like natural wood or stone depending on the embossing technique used by the manufacturer, but homeowners need to look for vinyl flooring with a thicker core to achieve the style they want. 

Resistance to Heat and Moisture

Most vinyl flooring options are made of polymer materials, which make them moisture resistant. This means they may be submerged in water and dried out but still retain their form enough to be reused as normal. Vinyl sheets are also installed as a single sheet in a room, preventing water from seeping through the crevices and damaging the synthetic material.

Laminate flooring has less water resistance compared to vinyl flooring, but it’s still better than real hardwood. The tongue and groove connection of the planks makes it easier for laminate to expand or contract without snapping or buckling.

The high-density fiberboard core still swells or contracts, depending on the length of water exposure and the amount of moisture in the room. If the laminate floor’s waterlogged core stays wet for too long, the photographic image and its protective layer might eventually peel away. 

Care and Maintenance

Both vinyl and laminate floorings are low maintenance and easy to clean. Just use a broom, vacuum, or other dry methods to clean the dust. Damp mops are also fine, as long as they’re not too wet. The excess moisture might seep into the cracks between each laminate plank or vinyl tile and result in different damages. Meanwhile, spills and stains won’t easily leave marks, but make sure to mop them as soon as you spot them. 

Ease of Installation

Vinyl and laminate flooring installations are both DIY-friendly depending on what you’ve chosen. However, it might be better to hire a flooring professional because they have the right experience and tools to get the job done. It might incur additional costs, but you’ll have the peace of mind that the floors last longer.

Vinyl flooring offers a variety of installation methods, but the most common ones are the glue down, peel and stick, and click and lock planks. Sheet vinyl requires precise cuts to fit perfectly in a room, so it’s best r to have a professional install it especially if you don’t trust yourself enough to do it on your own. But if you’re looking for a DIY installation option, luxury vinyl planks are the better pick.

Laminate flooring comes in planks that have tongue and groove parts, allowing them to be fitted and locked to close the seams. This flooring option is also considered a “floating” floor because it may be placed over existing floors or stable subfloors without much problem. Use a table saw to trim down planks that are too long so they fit better on the floor. 

Cost

Laminate and vinyl floorings are around the same price range. They’re also both less expensive than other options like porcelain tiles or solid hardwood. Luxury vinyl plank flooring options might be slightly more expensive than other forms of vinyl flooring, but their quality is definitely worth spending a little more on.

Sheet vinyl is about $0.50 to $2 per square foot, but luxury vinyl tiles are at $5 to $12 per square foot. On the other hand, most quality laminates are around $2 to $6 per square foot. The exact price usually depends on the design style and thickness of the materials.

Having a professional flooring team to install the laminate or vinyl planks usually costs a little more because of the professional fee, but they’re only minimal compared to hardwood flooring installations. There’s always the option to do the flooring project by yourself – just make sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid accidents or incorrect installations. 

Durability and Lifespan

Laminate flooring is popular among homeowners because they’re durable and strong. But since it’s made of wood byproducts, laminate flooring may experience warpage due to water or heat damage. It can’t be refinished either so be careful about accidentally scratching the surface of the laminate floor. Laminate floors usually last for about 10 years, but if homeowners pay attention to proper care and maintenance, they can last for longer.

Vinyl flooring is also known for its resilience, but some people consider it a “low-quality” flooring because of its price. However, vinyl’s material is durable enough to withstand high traffic areas in the house. Vinyl can last anywhere between 5 to 20 years. But like laminate flooring, vinyl also needs proper care and maintenance to avoid delamination after a couple of years. 

Recommended Locations

Another important factor to consider when choosing a flooring option is the room where it’ll be installed. Laminate and vinyl are versatile options that may look great in most rooms, but one option is better than the other in some cases.

For instance, laminate is an excellent choice for a room without a lot of moisture and humidity, while vinyl works for rooms with frequent spills and splashes. Here are some of the recommended installation locations for either flooring material:

Laminate

  • Closet
  • Bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Home Office
  • Dining Room

Vinyl

  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry Room
  • Dining Room
  • Living Room
  • Bedroom
  • Home Office 

Choosing Between Laminate and Vinyl Floors

The worker installing new vinyl tile floor

There isn’t a definite answer to which between laminate and vinyl is the better flooring option. It all depends on certain factors like cost, design, location, durability, and more. Vinyl works better for laundry rooms, bathrooms, and other high-moisture areas, but laminate wood flooring gives homeowners more style options and realistic designs.

To help you decide which one is the best pick for you, we’ve highlighted the benefits and disadvantages of the 2 types of flooring:

  Pros Cons
Laminate
  • This flooring option has realistic wood or stone appearance despite being priced lower.
  • The thickness of the material is warm and comfortable to walk on.
  • Homeowners might need to replace some of the planks every 10 years, but proper maintenance should help prolong its lifespan.
  • Some types of laminate flooring products aren’t water resistant because of their medium density fiberboard core. It’s best to avoid installing them in areas with high moisture or humidity.
Vinyl
  • Premium quality vinyl flooring is mostly made of waterproof materials that last for up to a few decades with the right care and maintenance.
  • Homeowners often use vinyl planks for a DIY project because they’re easy to install even without professional help.
  • Sheet-type vinyl is best installed by a professional flooring team because it requires perfect cuts to fit the room.
  • Heavy appliances might dent the vinyl flooring, so make sure to put floor protectors underneath them.

Flooring Options Made with Quality Materials at Zothex Flooring

Can’t decide between laminate and vinyl flooring? At Zothex Flooring, our team of highly-skilled flooring experts can help you choose the best material and design for your home. We offer a wide range of vinyl and laminate flooring options from the best manufacturers in the industry. Think of us as your home project partner – share your flooring ideas and visions for your dream home with us.

Discover more flooring options for your home by consulting with our flooring experts today. Call us now at (916) 925 – 1958 to book an appointment.