Difference Between Laminate Flooring and Vinyl Flooring

August 17,2022

Both materials are known for their resilience and ability to mimic the look of more expensive surfaces such as hardwood, stone, or tile. Laminate flooring and vinyl laminate flooring are also easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain, DIY-friendly surfaces.


Despite their many advantages, vinyl and laminate do have certain distinct differences in their construction that determine the moisture resistance, comfort, and resilience that each surface provides.


Vinyl Flooring


Core layer differences


Vinyl uses plastic as its core layer, and some models use wood-plastic or stone-plastic composites. There is usually also a layer of vinyl sheet or fiberglass above or below the core.


Laminate floors use a core made almost entirely of compressed wood pulp with a moisture barrier underneath. Behind these differences are various advantages and disadvantages of each product.


Elasticity and comfort


Both vinyl and laminate floors are scratch and impact resistant. Vinyl can sometimes have problems with unusually heavy weights. If you use a model with a high enough AC rating, laminate can take it. In addition, the laminate surface will not fade from UV exposure, which may be related to room conditions.


Laminated tiles and planks are thicker than their vinyl counterparts due to the way the core is constructed. This thickness means greater comfort and better insulation. Since the laminate core is mostly wood, the surfaces are more like real hardwood to anyone walking over the top.


Vinyl floors are better at handling moisture


Vinyl floors are 100% waterproof and if installed as a sheet, there is very little water seepage through the seams. This makes vinyl an excellent choice for bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, or other areas where flooding or spills are a concern.


To be fair, laminate floors are not bad at moisture resistance, and laminate surfaces can be as waterproof as vinyl. The difference is that laminates can expand if moisture penetrates the sides or bottom layer. This can be avoided if the laminate is installed correctly according to the manufacturer's recommendations, but these precautions will not help in flood situations where the surface is submerged for four hours or more.


There is no absolute best choice


Both surfaces allow you to enjoy the look of hardwood or stone at a fraction of the cost and are easy to install and easy to maintain. In areas where moisture or flooding is a concern, the waterproofness of vinyl cannot be overlooked.


For a sunny room, the fade resistance of laminate is very attractive. The more realistic feel of laminate can be very valuable if you want to treat imitation wood floors as if they were the real thing. Take the time to evaluate the properties of the room in question, weighing the pros and cons of each material and which will provide the look that best matches your vision.


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