As they are more scratch-resistant and?cheaper alternatives?to traditional hardwood, both laminate and vinyl wood are worthy choices. But is one better than the other?
Read on to learn how these two options?stack up against each other on some key consideration points.
Laminate Flooring vs Vinyl Wood: What Are They Made Of?Laminate, which is a composite of high-density fiberboards pressed together, consists of?99% wood byproducts. Just above those fiberboards sits the part you actually see: a high-resolution image of the material being simulated?(eg. wood, marble) printed on paper. A?clear, UV-resistant layer?covers everything as a?sealant.
While laminate is almost all derived from wood, vinyl is 100% synthetic. Layers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plasticizers, and other additives come together to form vinyl. Vinyl is available in sheet form or as sturdier luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) or tile (LVT.)
The difference in composition gives laminate and vinyl different strengths and weaknesses that you'll want to?weigh.?Reflooring an entryway and bathroom? You might need to choose a different option for each space.
Laminate Holds a Slight Edge In DurabilityLaminate wins in the durability category, but not by much. With?vinyl, you?just need to pay for a better plank instead of vinyl sheet flooring to get higher quality.
Laminate will stand up to scratches better than vinyl, and its typical life expectancy is anywhere from?15 to 25 years. It can stand up to foot traffic, pets, and spills. As with any floor, though, you'll need to?mop it regularly?to ensure that it lasts ? but no floor wax required!
Vinyl wood is a very durable choice, too. It is better to upgrade to the LVP or LVT luxury options from standard sheet vinyl flooring if you're looking for added durability. Vinyl can stand up to pets and kids ? just be sure to avoid dragging anything heavy across it since vinyl is softer than laminate and hardwood.
With a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, vinyl may need to be replaced sooner. This is especially true if it's installed in areas exposed to a lot of light, which will cause colors?to fade. You might want to avoid?choosing vinyl for?a sun-drenched entryway.
Both Options Are AffordableWhile laminate might be slightly cheaper overall, both will save you money over hardwood. A baseline price for vinyl is?$2 per square foot, but laminate clocks in at just $1. Opting for the better luxury vinyl will notch up the price difference even more.
This price difference between vinyl and laminate seems pretty minor ? and both are a lot cheaper than wood, which is $5 per square foot on the low end.?Consider that the?average size of a kitchen?in a mid-sized home is 275 feet. If you go with either vinyl or laminate over hardwood, you could cut your costs in half!
For Water-Prone Areas, One Choice EmergesFor basements, bathrooms, or other areas exposed to water,?vinyl is the?more water-resistance choice. Because laminate has a wood-based core, the wood will expand if it comes into contact with water and it won't simply go back to its original shape.
Laminate can be a reliable option if?it is sealed properly?and?you have a base layer installed underneath it. It's also important to clean up any spills or leaks immediately?if you go this route.??
Installation Is Inexpensive for Either OneIt's one thing to choose a flooring, but can you?install?it yourself?? The answer is yes, and many homeowners choose to install vinyl or laminate because it is relatively easy and saves money.??
Both vinyl and laminate come in planks that can be interlocked easily (tongue and groove) to create a floating floor. Be sure that you know what you are doing, though. With?laminate, a poor DIY installation may also create a?hollow noise?as you walk from gaps between the interlocking points.
The great thing about vinyl is that you only need to score and snap it to create smaller pieces for installation. With laminate, you'll need to do some sawing.
Some vinyl planks also come in a peel-and-stick form. Installation really is as easy it sounds ? just pull off the adhesive backing, and stick the plank to the sub-flooring.
It may be tempting to take on installation yourself, but if you have any doubts it may be better to?hire a professional?for the best results. After all, the last thing you want is to walk across floors that look close to hardwoods but feel really spongey because you didn't install them properly.??
Who Wins on Looks?Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but there is a winner in this category. If you want to simulate the colors and textures of real hardwood floors, laminate has the slight edge. Thanks to advances in technology, vinyl?is?catching up, though.
With laminate, a high res image of wood or marble sits beneath the clear coat. The 3D printing process also allows for including striations, scrapes, and other textures to mimic the physical qualities of traditional hardwood flooring.?
Laminate wins in two more areas: fading and feeling. The beautiful woodgrains printed on laminate won't fade as quickly as ones printed on vinyl. Laminate also is harder, making it feel a little closer to stepping on hardwoods ? provided it was?installed well.
Which Flooring Should You Choose?When comparing laminate flooring vs?vinyl wood, they match up pretty evenly, but with a few notable differences.?Which floor covering you choose might just depend on your budget, the type of space, and styles available.
Whether you're unsure or ready to make the change,?contact us?and we are happy to help you choose the best flooring for your space!