There are so many flooring options available these days that it often becomes overwhelming for homeowners to choose a material for their renovation projects. But when you narrow down your preferences, it becomes easier to make a selection. Laminate and vinyl flooring are two popular durable options that come in a wide variety of colours, patterns, and styles to complement almost every home decor.
If you’re looking for an affordable flooring option that resembles the appearance of hardwood, then these two materials make good choices. However, they’re often promoted as similar products by manufacturers but there are some critical differences between the two. Before you make a purchase decision, you should know about the different features of both laminate and vinyl flooring to ensure the right product selection for your home.
Laminate flooring is made of 99% wood by-products. It’s manufactured by bonding several layers of medium-density or high-density fibreboards together. The decorative layer under the top resin layer of the board consists of a photographic image of a natural material such as wood or stone.
Vinyl is composed of 100% plastic or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mixed with other compounds that provide various features such as colour, hardness, texture, finish, and flexibility. This flooring is available in sheets, planks, and tiles. It can also mimic the appearances of various natural materials. A thin vinyl coating over the core plastic layer consists of the printed decorative pattern.
Methods of Installation
Laminates can be installed over an existing floor through a snap-and-click (interlocking) floating method and can also be glued down directly to a subfloor. They require a foam moisture underlayment which can be easily taped together. The installation of laminate flooring isn’t time-consuming.
Vinyl, on the other hand, can also be installed by similar methods, including the peel-and-stick process. Homeowners prefer vinyl planks as they’re easy to install and can also be considered for a DIY project.
Moisture Resistance Properties
Laminates are moderately water-resistant. Since it’s made of wood by-products, a high exposure to moisture can damage the material which is why it’s not recommended for bathrooms and basements.
Vinyl flooring is, however, extremely moisture-resistant. It can even resist damages that can be caused by standing water, because it has very few seams or none at all. It can be installed in bathrooms and basements as a result.
Both materials are fairly durable. Depending on the manufacturing quality, installation and maintenance, laminates can last thirty years. This material is also moderately flame retardant and resistant to scratches and staining. Comparatively, vinyl has a longer lifespan. For example, glue down vinyl can have a lifetime of around 50 years when properly installed and maintained.
Ease of Maintenance
They’re easy to clean and maintain. Regular sweeping is enough for daily cleaning for both of these materials. Since laminate flooring is vulnerable to moisture damage and static electricity build-up, you should never wipe it with an excessively wet mop. But vinyl flooring can be steam or wet mopped as needed as it’s a water-proof material.
Laminate is thicker than vinyl and the wood composition make it more comfortable underfoot. It feels comparatively warmer and easier to walk on than vinyl which feels cold and hard when glued down directly on a concrete subfloor. Also, laminate feels more comfortable when installed above a foam underlayment. However, both materials can be installed over radiant heating system as they’re great at conducting heat.
The Final Verdict
Now that you know about the different features of laminate and vinyl flooring, you can judge their suitability in your residential space based on your needs. Although they’re both affordable and similar in appearance, installation, and radiant heating, vinyl has some advantages over laminates in certain areas such as durability, moisture resistance, and cleaning. If you’re looking for an environment-friendly option, then laminate is a better choice.
You can also consult one of our flooring experts at AA Floors, who can help you choose the right flooring for your home after evaluating various conditions. Visit our store for superior quality hardwood, engineered, bamboo, cork, vinyl or laminate floor in Toronto. Give us a call at (416) 201-9611 for a free assessment.