Vinyl and laminate flooring have risen in popularity over the years among people who like to do DIY home improvements. These two materials are knows the most durable, affordable, and easiest to install. They are similar in many ways but there are also distinct differences between laminate and vinyl flooring.
How can you tell the difference between vinyl and laminate flooring?
The difference between these two flooring materials mainly lies in their composition.
Vinyl flooring is compose of several layers that makes it durable and waterproof. Its core is solid and is covere with a wear layer and a printed vinyl layer on top. This layering is purposely to improve the floor’s resistance to moisture. It thus allows water to sit on its surface for several hours without damaging the floor. There are several types of vinyl flooring, which includes rigid core vinyl flooring, vinyl planks, and WPC vinyl.
In the past, there were only a few designs of vinyl. Nowadays there are literally hundreds of modern and attractive designs to choose from. In fact, compared to laminate flooring, vinyl flooring designs are more varied. Its designs range from resemblance to wood, ceramic floors, and stone floors.
Some of the advantages of vinyl flooring include:
- vinyl flooring is DIY-friendly and easy to install without needing professional help.
- this is durable and it can last for years and years.
- It is 100% compose of waterproof materials.
Among its disadvantages include:
- Although generally easy to install, there are certain types of vinyl that can be difficult to install without professional help.
- The weight of heavy furniture and appliances can cause dents on the floor.
Meanwhile, laminate flooring was manufactured as far back as the 1970s and was meant to be an alternative to hardwood floors. This is perfect for people who want their floors to resemble hardwood but do not have the budget to buy hardwood flooring. Laminate is thick materials that you can walk comfortably on making it perfect for areas such as the hallways or the living room.
laminate and vinyl both are synthetic materials, laminate is different in that it include an inner core board where a decorative photo image is layer on. This is cover with an overlay known as the wear layer, which protects the floor.
Another major difference of laminate from vinyl is that laminate is not as waterproof as vinyl. Although some laminates are water-resistant, long periods of water exposure can still cause damage to the floor.
Some advantages of using laminate flooring include:
- laminate flooring is affordable.
- this is comfortable to walk on.
- It closely resembles the appearance of wood and makes it look almost like the real thing.
Meanwhile, some disadvantages of laminate flooring include:
- There is a high chance that it may need replacing after a period of ten (10) years.
- There are types of laminate flooring that are not water-resistant.
Are vinyl floors better than laminate floors?
The question still remains, which is better between laminate vs. vinyl? So far, we know that both materials are affordable, easy to install, and aesthetically competitive. How else can we compare the two to find out which one is better?
It really all depends on what classification you are most interested in.
Which has better designs?
When it comes to appearance and design, laminate flooring takes the lead because of how realistic it appears with its embossing. It is very close in appearance to hand-scraped hardwood. vinyl is commendable embossing techniques, it looks more realistic when such technique is use on core vinyl floorings that are thicker.
Which is more water resistant?
As to water resistance, vinyl is the winner. Most of the vinyl floors manufactured today use 100% polymer materials that give vinyl its high water resistance property – it can withstand large amounts of water. This means that you can actually just dry out and reuse a vinyl flooring does soak in water. Moreover, a vinyl sheet can be install as a single sheet for the entire room so that there are no seams where water can seep through.
Laminate flooring has a moisture resistance limit. This is mostly due to the fiberboard core install in most laminate products that causes it to swell or even soft when it is expose to moisture for over long periods of time. When it soaks up too much water, it will cause the top layer to peel off.
Which is easier to install?
Both materials can actually be very easy to install and are ideal for people who prefer DIY installations.
Laminate flooring has a click-and-lock mechanism for installation. This mechanism allows the planks to be install by fitting it together through the grooves of the adjoining planks and then locking them in to close the seams. Anything that is ill-fitting can cut down using a regular table see. Most varieties of laminate floor is call“floating floors” as they can be install over an existing floor.
Vinyl flooring has a more varied mechanism for installation. While it also offers click-and-lock type of planks, it can also buy as a glue down, peel-and-stick, and other varieties. The most challenging to install is sheet vinyl. it is heavy and it cut precisely to fit the angles and shapes in a room and may, thus, require the assistance of a professional.
Which is easier to clean and maintain?
It is undoubtedly vinyl that is easier to clean and maintain. It only takes regular sweeping and mopping to maintain it in good condition. Stains and dirt that have become stubborn may clean using home-made or specially formulat cleaning materials. Vinyl is really low-maintenance and only requires regular cleaning.
Meanwhile, cleaning and taking care of laminate floors requires a lot more because of its limited resistance to moisture. Dry cleaning method, such as a dry mop and broom, is best for this flooring material. If it is absolutely necessary to mop, a damp rag or mop that is almost try to touch can use.
Which costs more?
Both materials are affordable compare to other flooring materials. However, some varieties of vinyl such as luxury vinyl flooring are more expensive.
Laminate flooring can usually buy at an average of $1 to $5 per square. The pricing varies depending on how thick the flooring material is and the design or style you want.
Vinyl floors also start at around $1 per square foot for the glue down vinyl sheet. However, it can reach up to $5 per square foot with the luxury plank variety. This is, however, can be more economical considering that high-end luxury vinyl is equipper with a special waterproof core feature as well as a wear layer that is thicker.
Which is better to use in certain areas of the house, vinyl or laminate?
Depending on which area of the house you plan to install flooring, vinyl may be more suitable than laminate and vice versa. If the area does not have a lot of moisture, laminate can be a good choice. If it is an area in the house where liquids usually spill, vinyl is the better option.
You can consider the following areas of the house and which material can use:
- The kitchen – both vinyl and laminate can use
- The bathroom, whether full or partial flooring – vinyl is the best option
- The bedrooms – both vinyl and laminate can use
- The dining room – both vinyl and laminate can use
- The living room – both vinyl and laminate are good options
- The laundry room – vinyl is the better option
Which is safer, vinyl or laminate?
When it comes to safety, consider the effects of using a specific flooring material. Vinyl flooring is know to give off toxic chemicals as it contains a range of harmful chemicals. Manufacturers tried to address this by producing vinyl flooring that is low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Nevertheless, this flooring material still contains chemicals that can be emitt into the air in your home. This can adversely affect your health and may cause skin irritation, respiratory disorders, and reproductive disorders.
On this score, laminate flooring is better since it does not contain these chemicals. The chemicals it has are contained in its core and will, thus, have no adverse impact in your home’s air quality. However, some studies found that some laminate flooring contains high concentrations of formaldehyde, which can likewise cause eyes, skin, throat, and nose irritation as well as cancer if the exposure is on very high levels.
The best way to avoid health complications is to read well on what variety of flooring material you want to use and purchase. It can also help talking to your local seller who can explain it better to you.