Vinyl vs. Laminate
Are you interested in all the benefits vinyl flooring has to offer? Then you might also be considering laminate flooring. Both options are durable, affordable, attractive, and easy to install. So how do you decide between them? The Gateway Design & Home is here to help! Read on for a breakdown of each flooring material’s benefits and how they compare.
The many strengths of vinyl and laminate flooring lie in their synthetic makeup. Both are made largely of artificial materials, but while vinyl flooring is completely synthetic, laminate is made with a core of wood products and resin. In the few categories in which the two flooring types differ, you can often credit this difference in materials.
The low cost of vinyl and laminate are a major reason they end up in so many Americans’ homes. Both are significantly less expensive than many other options, especially the materials they mimic: hardwood and stone. However, there isn’t a clear winner in this category, as vinyl and laminate are often priced very much the same.
Laminate and vinyl flooring both beat out many other flooring types in the category of durability. They can withstand a lot of punishment from high traffic, childhood accidents, and pet claws. However, because vinyl is completely synthetic, it is more water resistant and more heat resistant. If you need an especially tough material or you’re looking to redo the flooring in a splash zone like a bathroom or kitchen, then you’ll likely want to side with vinyl.
Another strength of these materials is their longevity. Both laminate and vinyl can last for decades if cared for properly. While low-quality vinyl can delaminate, and self-stick vinyl floor tiles can loosen, overall vinyl flooring is still likely to last longer. Laminate layers can also delaminate over time, but it is especially vulnerable to fading or damage if not kept properly dry.
These synthetic materials stand out for their ability to mimic virtually any color or pattern. Both are made with printed layers. Laminate, however, can typically be made with more realistic three-dimensional embossing for a better replication of whatever texture you’re looking for in a new floor. If you’re still leaning toward vinyl, and realistic appearance and texture is important to you, then make sure you invest in thicker luxury vinyl flooring.
Laminate and vinyl flooring are both easier to clean than many other materials. Carpet needs to be deep cleaned every once in a while and hardwood can’t be mopped in case it sustains water damage. Laminate and vinyl flooring, on the other hand, are easy to clean with most methods. Between the two, however, vinyl is easier to maintain because it can be both vacuumed and mopped, while laminate still has a slight vulnerability to water.
Vinyl and laminate flooring may not be as soft as carpet, but they offer an excellent option for the look of stone or ceramic tile without the hard, cold surface. The difference between them often comes down to installation. Vinyl flooring installed over concrete or ceramic is prone to being colder and harder, but this can be mitigated with a good subfloor. Looking at the materials alone, however, laminate is likely to be more comfortable with a good underlayment.
Many people choose these synthetic materials because they are relatively easy to install yourself. Both vinyl and laminate are available in easy-to-handle varieties like click-and-lock planks. The only major difference is if you are considering sheet vinyl flooring, which can be difficult for DIYers not only because it comes in large, unwieldy sheets, but also because installing over such large surface areas at once means you run the risk of accidentally leaving bumps or wrinkles in the material. Choose your material wisely, or take advantage of Gateway’s installation team and don’t worry about it at all!