Is vinyl flooring better than laminate?

If you are looking for durable, customizable, and affordable flooring for your home, vinyl or laminate flooring is the best guarantee for all three. They are both more economical options as compared to hardwood floors because they are synthetic. They both have styles that mimic wood, stone, and tile.

Though they look similar from a distance, they are not entirely interchangeable. Laminate flooring offers a selection of styles and has a higher resale value, while vinyl flooring is best for high-moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens as it is easier to clean.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has four or five material layers. These layers consist of

  • The inner core is made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or high-density fiberboard (HDF).
  • a decorative photographic image of wood.
  • a thin, third impact-resistant layer.
  • the top wear or overlay that protects the floor.

Laminate flooring has a thick composition that makes it comfortable to walk on, so it is best suited for hallways and living areas. The laminate flooring core consists of a tongue-and-groove mill that allows the installers to put the boards together. This enables the flooring to hang over the subfloor without being physically fastened, creating a floating floor.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring may look like a homogenous, solid product, but it has layers like laminate flooring. It consists of a vinyl solid core, a vinyl printed layer, and an overlay that is customizable to look like ceramic or hardwood. Vinyl flooring has a wide selection that includes WPC vinyl, rigid core vinyl flooring, and vinyl planks.

Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

In many aspects, vinyl plank flooring and laminate flooring match evenly. However, when deciding which flooring is best for you, you need to consider your home`s unique needs and the areas you are renovating.

Here is a comparison between the two flooring types to help you make a faster, clearer decision:

  • Design and Appearance

Laminate flooring is of a bit higher quality in terms of design and appearance because it comes with embossing that closely resembles hand-scraped hardwood. However, thicker-core vinyl flooring, with its embossing techniques, can look like wood floors.

  • Durability and Longevity

Laminate flooring is durable and resilient. However, it can succumb to water damage. Also, the top layer is irreparable when it gets scratched. Laminate flooring mostly lasts 10 to 25 years, depending on proper maintenance and care.

Vinyl flooring is also resilient and durable but is usually considered low quality due to its pricing. Vinyl floors can withstand high-traffic areas for up to 20 years. However, depending on its maintenance and care, some vinyl flooring can, over time, deteriorate.

  • Water Resistance

Vinyl flooring is the winner when it comes to water resistance. This is because modern vinyl floors have 100 percent polymer materials that can tolerate heavy amounts of water. This means vinyl flooring can be immersed in water, dried, and reused. Additionally, vinyl sheets can be installed as a single sheet with no seams that let water through.

Laminate flooring has a fiberboard core that can soften and swell if exposed to moisture for extended periods of time. This water-logged fiberboard center eventually causes the layer on top to peel away. Therefore, due to its limited moisture resistance, it would not be the right choice for the family laundry room and bathroom.

  • Heat and Stain Resistance

Regarding heat resistance, laminate flooring is the winner because it consists of wood by-products that fare better in direct sunlight than vinyl. Therefore, vinyl flooring is not suitable for outdoor purposes.

Both floors’ outer layers are designed to resist dirt accumulation and stains.

  • Comfort

The main advantage of a laminate floor is that it feels very comfortable underfoot. Vinyl flooring types are usually firm and cold underfoot and therefore not recommended for bedrooms and living rooms.

  • Cost

Laminate flooring and vinyl flooring cost similar amounts. They cost less than other flooring materials, such as porcelain tile and hardwood. Luxury vinyl planks are usually more expensive. High-end vinyl tiles come with a thicker wear layer and features such as a resilient waterproof core.

The price of laminate flooring depends on the design, style, and material thickness. The cost of both types of flooring is usually determined per square foot.

  • Installation Ease

Both vinyl and laminate flooring are easy to install, depending on the kind of flooring products you prefer. There are also good options for DIYers.

Laminate flooring types are installed using a click-and-lock method. This is where planks fit into the adjoining groove and are locked in to seal the seam. Lamination flooring can be installed over existing floors, commonly known as “floating floors.” If doing a DIY project, you can use a regular saw.

Vinyl flooring has more varieties of installation methods. They include peel-and-stick, click-and-lock, glue-down, and more. If you prefer foam underlayment or sheet vinyl flooring, it is best to have a professional install it. This is because such types of flooring are more difficult to install, with sheet vinyl being heavy and needing precise cutting around angles and shapes in the room.

The Verdict?

When deciding which flooring to choose between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring, it ultimately depends on the functionality, the flooring factors that matter to you, your preference, and your budget.

However, if you are installing a new floor in a moisture-prone area, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, or the basement, But for a whole-house installation, laminate floors make more sense.