Are you looking for stylish flooring that is also durable, economical, and customisable? In that case, you might have received recommendations to consider vinyl or laminate flooring. However, between the two choices, which is more suited for your home? If you remain undecided, fret not! Let us share the significant differences between the two options to help you make an informed decision.
1. Appearance and design
It is easy to confuse laminate and vinyl floors since they are comparably similar in appearance. However, laminate flooring has an uncanny resemblance to natural materials like hand-scraped hardwood, ceramic, and stone. Its thick top layer allows for deep, realistic three-dimensional embossing on its surfaces, replicating the look of the natural material being portrayed.
While vinyl floors can be designed to look like hardwood, stone, or tile, they are not renowned for their realistic looks. But thanks to the evolution of flooring technology, more varied and naturalistic visual designs are now possible for vinyl flooring, with luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) being the most realistic of the bunch.
Vinyl and laminate flooring usually feature similar price points and are less expensive than other materials like marble, porcelain, or hardwood. Nevertheless, the prices of these flooring solutions will differ according to the flooring consultants you visit. We recommend getting quotations from various flooring firms to make a price comparison.
3. Water resistance
It is a no-contest between vinyl or laminate flooring if you seek flooring for a dry toilet or damp location, such as the kitchen. Vinyl flooring is the standout option, as it is more water-resistant than laminate. In fact, newer iterations of vinyl flooring are made of 100% waterproof synthetic materials.
Conversely, laminate flooring usually uses a fibreboard core, which softens and swells when exposed to water. Even after the fibreboard core is dried, it will not revert back to its original dimensions. Additionally, the design layers may peel away when it becomes waterlogged.
Fortunately, such kinks have since been ironed out as technology has progressed. Now, our next generation of laminate flooring (Hybrid Wood from Quick-Step) boasts a 100% waterproof surface – the first of its kind in the market. As such, it is also an ideal choice for areas with a constant presence of moisture, like kitchens and powder rooms. With that said, we would still recommend going with vinyl for dry toilets instead of laminate.
4. Durability and longevity
Rest assured that vinyl and laminate flooring are durable and boast excellent longevity. Generally, the life expectancy of the flooring will depend on the traffic it receives over time, the quality of the material, and whether it was installed correctly. With that said, if you are looking for something more long-lasting, we recommend choosing vinyl flooring.
Most modern vinyl floors are resilient to everyday wear and tear. As such, they are more suitable for high-traffic areas and homes with kids or pets. And because vinyl flooring is waterproof, it can be exposed to water without any issues. But please note that lower-quality vinyl may peel or delaminate over time. Therefore, you should consider choosing high-quality vinyl with a strong protective layer, which will last longer.
In contrast, while laminate flooring is a robust and durable option, it can be damaged by prolonged exposure to moisture. Therefore, we always recommend homeowners clean any spills that occur as soon as possible. Moreover, most laminate floorings cannot be sanded or refinished when they succumb to water damage or become heavily scratched. Instead, they have to be replaced wholesale.
Fortunately, that is not the case with our laminate floorings. You only need to substitute the damaged planks rather than replace the entire flooring wholesale. Moreover, our laminate floors possess Scratch Guard and Stain Guard features, making them more resilient to scratches and stains.
5. Cleaning and maintenance
When deciding on your flooring, you will likely want one that is easy to clean and maintain, especially if you have pets or kids at home. In that case, both vinyl and laminate are excellent options. Both can be easily maintained with a regular vacuum and mopping routine. However, please avoid using a steam mop to clean vinyl floors, as the heat can damage the flooring.
Meanwhile, you can still mop laminate flooring regularly, but special care must be taken. Ensure you are using a damp mop that is almost dry to the touch so the moisture evaporates within a few minutes. If any spill occurs, clean it up immediately to prevent the liquid from seeping into the floor and damaging the flooring.
6. Ease of installation
Both laminate and vinyl floors are relatively straightforward to install and can be placed over existing flooring and most types of subfloors. However, when installing laminate flooring, you must ensure the subfloor is smooth and level before installation to properly support your flooring.
If you try to install laminate on a subfloor that is sloped or bumpy, the lock of the laminate could end up breaking or cracking due to the material’s hard and inflexible surface. Conversely, you can save significant time and cost during installation if your subfloor is even and secure.
As for vinyl floors, they have a broader range of installation methods available. In addition to the click-and-lock method, which is also used in laminate installations, there is also the glue-down method, loose-lay method, and peel-and-stick method. Each process varies in difficulty, so we recommend hiring a professional contractor to oversee your flooring installation.
We hope what we shared has allowed you to better understand which flooring option is most suitable for your home. If you have made up your mind or have further queries about the flooring options available, feel free to approach Floor Xperts. Our team will gladly offer their help whenever possible and answer your questions about our vinyl and laminate flooring prices. Contact us today to book an appointment with our experienced flooring consultants.