Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which Is Best?
Aug 03, 2021
The Battle of Luxury Vinyl vs. Laminate
Luxury vinyl and laminate have a handful of similarities. They are both affordable, available in endless colors and styles, and are known for their durability. Despite these similarities, the two flooring options also have a lot of differences. Understanding what materials make up each of these flooring options and their benefits will help you decide which flooring is right for you and your home.
The Variables behind Vinyl
Vinyl is an entirely synthetic material made from melted down polyvinyl chloride resins (PVC). The PVC is combined with other elements such as stabilizers and fungicides, which create this durable and resilient material. These materials are combined to make luxury vinyl planks and tiles, which are composed of four layers. The first layer is the backing, which is waterproof, keeping the floor resistant to mold and mildew. The second layer is called the core, which is durable and flexible, making up most of the volume of the plank. The third layer is a high-resolution digital image that gives the flooring its look and texture, which often mimics wood or stone. Last, a wear layer is applied on top, a transparent layer that protects the vinyl flooring. The thickness of vinyl can range from 1.5 mm to 5 mm thick.
Learning about Laminate
Like vinyl, laminate is constructed in a series of layers. In contrast to vinyl, these layers are made from wood byproducts that are bonded together with resins. The bottom layer is responsible for protecting the plank against moisture and balances the floor. Next is the core layer, which accounts for most of the floor’s thickness. This layer is composed of compressed woodchips, making the floor durable and dense. Next up is the design layer that uses a high-resolution digital image to create the look and feel of the flooring, which is most commonly a wood look-alike. Finally, the wear layer is a transparent layer made of aluminum oxide that protects against fading, stains, and surface burns. Laminate ranges from 6 mm to 12 mm thick.
How to Choose
When it comes to choosing between luxury vinyl or laminate, it can be challenging. The best tactic is to determine what features are most important to you and see which flooring type performs better in that category. Luxury vinyl and laminate cost about the same—they are both easy to install and are equally stain resistant. Laminate takes the cake for best-looking flooring because it does a better job of mimicking other materials such as stone or wood, and it is softer underfoot. On the other hand, luxury vinyl performs better in durability, heat resistance, and water resistance. This is because luxury vinyl is not just water-resistant but waterproof. Plus, it can withstand all types of cleaning methods.
See for Yourself
If you still feel torn about what floors are best for your home, sometimes the best thing is to touch and feel flooring samples. Head on over to your local Flooring America to truly feel what these different flooring materials are all about. While you are there, ask one of our experts any questions you might have and let them guide you to your perfect floors.
Visualize Your Flooring Dreams
Want a preview of how new floors will look in your home? Try our room visualizer, My Floor Style. Upload a photo of your room, select your style preferences, and get a virtual look at each different flooring style. With My Floor Style, there are no surprises. Only beautiful new floors.