Vinyl Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring


Flooring plays a major role in your home’s décor, but it also can influence ambiance, noise, cleaning and maintenance needs, resale value and more. Now that the time has come to replace your home's floors, you may be carefully examining all of the options available, and you understandably want to make a thoughtful and informed decision when choosing a new type of floor to install in one or more rooms of the home. Both vinyl and laminate flooring are top contenders when durability, affordability and aesthetics are top concerns. These are two seemingly similar options on the surface, but there are key differences to consider. A closer look at key traits may help you to determine which option is more well-suited for use in your home.

The Aesthetics of the Two Flooring Options

Both of these materials are impeccably made and are available in quality formats that look amazing when professionally installed. Some may even be installed by the homeowner with beautiful results. However, the feel of the materials varies considerably, and this may be one of the factors that helps you to determine which a better option is. Laminate flooring is typically selected as a more affordable alternative than hardwood, and it is available in a textured or grained surface that gives the look and feel of real wood. It also has a layered composition that makes it thicker and comfortable to walk on. Vinyl plank flooring, on the other hand, is thinner and usually has a smoother surface. It also has a softer feel that has more give when you walk across it. Both are available in an extensive range of colors and styles, making it easy to find an option that looks great in your home.

A Comparison of the Installation Processes

The installation process for both of these materials is often simple and easy to complete. In fact, it is so easy that many homeowners are able to complete the installation through their own effort while generating professional-looking results. These options typically have an interlocking system so that the pieces simply snap into place. Vinyl flooring, however, is also available in adhesive styles. The very sticky nature of these pieces can make them a bit more challenging to install. With both options, you will need to install the material on a very smooth surface. However, the thicker nature of laminate often makes it more forgiving to variations in the subfloor surface.

A Word About Durability

There are many areas of the home that are high-traffic areas, and you understandably may be looking for a very durable material to install in these areas. Durability is also critical in homes with kids and pets or in homes commonly used for parties and entertaining. Some rooms, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, may also be prone to wetness or moisture from spills, leaks and more. You will be pleased to learn that both of these materials are very durable and are well-suited in high-traffic areas as well as in areas prone to water exposure. However, laminate is typically a more durable flooring option that has a longer life span in high-traffic areas. The alternative flooring material is softer, and it is more prone to getting damaged from dents, dings and scratches.

Cleaning and Maintenance Requirements

Cleaning and maintenance are regular aspects of care for any flooring surface. Depending on the color of the material you choose, the material may conceal or reveal dirt. However, they both can easily be cleaned with basic efforts, such as sweeping or vacuuming and mopping. They generally can be effectively cleaned with basic household cleaners. However, you should always read the cleaning product’s instructions and test a small area before cleaning the entire floor with a new product you are not familiar with.

The Cost to Purchase and Install the Materials

When you are debating between these two beautiful flooring materials, you may be taking a closer look at cost estimates. The good news is that both laminate flooring installation and vinyl flooring installation have similar costs. Laminate flooring is available in the range of one to three dollars per square foot and vinyl flooring from  two to five dollars, but there are higher-end options that greatly exceed this amount. While cost of installation is important for any homeowner, you should also keep in mind that vinyl has a somewhat negative connotation with some home buyers while laminate flooring is seen as a quality alternative to wood flooring. With this in mind, you may have an easier time selling a home with laminate on the floors.

How Long the Flooring Options Will Last

If you plan to remain in your home for several years or longer, you may want to review the longevity of the floor as well. After all, the last thing you may want is to install a new floor only to have to replace it within a few years. The style of the floor that you choose may play a large role in how long you want to keep your new vinyl or laminate flooring in place. Many will replace the flooring for aesthetics before it falls into poor condition. This is because both of these materials have a superior life span. In fact, both materials have manufacturers’ warranties that range from ten to 25 years. This is a testament to how long you can reasonably expect the floor to last in your home.

Choosing a type of floor to install in your home is not a matter to take lightly. You understandably want to choose a material that has the right overall look or style for your space. However, you want the material to be affordable for your budget, long-lasting in even high-traffic areas of the home and easy to keep clean. While there are many materials that you could choose from, vinyl plank flooring and laminate flooring are understandably at the top of your list. Now that you know more about key differences between these materials, you will be able to make a better buying decision for your home.