If you’re looking for an affordable yet tasteful option for flooring, you’re bound to come to a point where you’re pitting laminate and vinyl flooring against each other. Cheaper than options like marble or parquet, both laminate and vinyl are friendly on the wallet, but can still provide the same aesthetic look as the natural stone or wood finishes. While both these synthetic flooring options are great choices for any home, there are some subtle differences between the two that you should know before making a decision between the two. So which will you choose? Laminates or vinyl? Read before you make a choice!
So, before we compare the two materials, lets take a few moments to understand what they are and what makes them different.
Vinyl flooring is usually made of 100% synthetic materials. The top layer which you’d be in contact with is a durable and thick transparent wear layer which protects the decorative pattern below it. The lower sections of the planks are usually varied based on price and quality, but they are commonly made to be waterproof making it the perfect choice for areas which may get wet.
Laminate flooring however usually comes with a central core of wood, which may be in the form of plywood, fibreboard or other engineered wood combinations. The top layer still comes with a thick and strong transparent wear layer which helps protect against small spills from time to time.
The main difference between vinyl in terms of construction would be the material of core of each plank, with vinyl having a synthetic plastic core, while laminate has a wooden core.
Both vinyl and laminate are extremely easy to clean. With a waterproof and highly resistant top layer, you can easily sweep, mop and vacuum regularly to keep the surface clean.
While both are relatively durable, the point here goes to vinyl. With a central synthetic core, the floor is resistant to mould, rot and even termites. The fully synthetic composition also allows it to be used in more areas including the kitchen and even shower cabin without fear of water damage.
However, if you’re looking at long-term durability, laminate floorings would generally have to be changed every 10 years with regular wear and tear (since damage to the wear layer will affect the wood below), while vinyl can last almost a life time with regular usage.
Both laminate and vinyl come in all sorts of colours and patterns giving you lots of flexibility in styling options. However, vinyl slightly edges out laminate here due to availability of options. As you know by now, laminate is often a recombinant form of wooden flooring, so you’d be limited to wood like patterns, albeit usually with a wide range of colours and options.
Vinyl however will have more options and choices (which generally also includes those similar to laminate flooring). With choices from natural wood to stones, vinyl covers many more aesthetic options than laminate.
With a generally thicker plank with the natural pores in the wood, laminate floorings area generally more favourable in terms of comfort. This gives it a softer feel on the feet, pretty similar to parquet flooring, making it generally more favourable to homeowners.
It should also be noted that vinyl floors can also feel cooler than laminate floors, so you may get a little shock when you get up in the morning after a night of air-conditioning.
As the default economical options to choose from for flooring, both vinyl and laminate are known to be more affordable for homeowners. If you’re getting a contractor to help you with the installation, the main difference comes down to the cost per square foot of materials.
Vinyl also edges out laminate here with a cost range of $5 to $7 per square foot, while laminate comes in at $6 to $8 per square foot in general. While this may seem small, for a 1,000 square foot 4-room flat, the cost difference could come up to a few thousand for the first installation.
Taking into account the durability, you’d also have to fork out the same amount after 10 years to replace the previous laminate flooring.
So, Laminates or Vinyl?
While both vinyl and laminate have their own merits, the choice ultimately comes down to a mix of preference and cost between the two. Laminate floorings are usually more luxurious of the two, and like most things which are, would come with slightly more maintenance and a higher cost. Vinyl however is a great choice for a durable and economical option.
One way to get the best of both worlds would be to have a combination of flooring options within your home. Vinyl can be used in rooms and spaces which have a higher wear like bathrooms and the kitchen, while the more elegant and comfortable laminate flooring can the choice for the living and bedrooms.