Despite the fact that many manufacturers promote their vinyl flooring and laminate flooring options as similar products, there are key differences that will help you determine which is best for you. While it’s true that both vinyl and laminate offer affordable options for flooring, they differ considerably when it comes to their thickness, the materials they are made from, the level of comfort offered under foot, and how resistant they are to damage (particularly from moisture).
The core difference between vinyl and laminate
While it may be an over-simplification, the core difference between vinyl and laminate flooring is essential down to the materials from which each are made. Vinyl flooring is created using materials that are 100% plastic. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is constructed from materials that are 99% wood-based.
The upshot of this difference is that vinyl flooring has a higher resistance to water. It’s possible to completely submerge vinyl under water for several days without it experiencing any problems. The same cannot be said of laminate flooring, which is reasonably resistant to moisture when the planks are locked together strongly, but is vulnerable to water damage in the face of a flood. This can be problematic in bathrooms due to the likelihood that excess water will end up on the floor from baths and showers.
Why is laminate flooring so popular if it’s not as resilient?
Despite being more vulnerable to water damage, laminate flooring is still resilient. The ease with which it can be fitted and the final appearance of the floor is extremely pleasing, and in most situations makes up for the slightly less durable materials.
When should you use vinyl flooring and when should you use laminate?
Vinyl flooring is perfect for use in bathrooms, and any other room that is likely to see a lot of water, such as wet rooms, and rooms with dishwashers or washing machines. Laminate, on the other hand, is perfect for areas that have no immediate threat of water where the wooden effect is extremely pleasing, such as living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and hallways.
What’s the difference in price between vinyl and laminate flooring?
Pricewise, the two floor types are very similar. The cost of both is usually comparable, making it just as cost-effective to install one as the other. The point that makes the difference is whether or not a laminate floor is likely to need replacing (either in part or full) in the event of water damage. If you’re choosing the floor for a room you think could potentially have water on the floor, the more cost-effective choice is vinyl, as it’s far less likely to need replacing.
When it comes to the bathroom floor, vinyl is hands down the most cost-effective flooring choice over all others, including carpet, hardwood and laminate.
Which is more comfortable, vinyl or laminate flooring?
When it comes to comfort, laminate has the edge. This makes it the preferred choice for any room where water damage isn’t an issue. In particular, living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms will feel cosier and more homely with laminate than they will with vinyl, which can feel clinical and cold.
When vinyl flooring is installed on concrete or subfloors, it is frigid and hard, particularly if there is no underlay. Laminate, on the other hand, is thicker, making it more comfortable to walk on. The use of wood-based materials also makes it softer and warmer than vinyl. Adding a foam underlayer will improve the comfort of either type of floor, and with laminate will result in a particularly pleasant feel.
Which is easier to install, vinyl or laminate?
While the installation method for vinyl and laminate is different, they are equally as simple. Vinyl is available in large rolls which can be tricky to install, but the majority of people opt for vinyl planks. These are incredibly easy to install, even more so than the previously popular square tiles. Laminate floors need a foam moisture underlay; however this is very easy to install by rolling it out and taping it together, and inexpensive. The laminate itself comes in planks, which can be cut using various types of blade (handsaw, table saw, circular saw, etc.) and is even available with the foam underlay pre-attached to the planks for an extra-easy institution.
Both vinyl and laminate flooring are excellent options for flooring. Economically friendly and incredibly easy to install, the choice comes down to one of personal taste and practicality. If your room involves water, opt for vinyl, otherwise, choose the floor you think will look and feel the best in your room.