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What Is The Difference Between Vinyl And Laminate Flooring?

The age-old flooring debate – laminate vs vinyl flooring, which type should you choose?

Vinyl flooring has become very popular over the last decade or so. Its popularity is because it is durable, affordable, and comes in various styles and colors.

Laminate flooring is also an excellent choice for homeowners who want to add some style to their homes without spending too much money.

Both types of flooring are made from wood fiber, but they differ in manufacturing processes. Laminated floors are manufactured using heat and pressure, whereas vinyl flooring is created through chemical reactions.

Both types of flooring are highly durable and long-lasting but there are a few key differences that will help you make the choice. Read on!

Laminate Flooring

what is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring

Laminate flooring can be installed on most subfloors, including concrete, tile, hardwood, and carpeted surfaces. It’s easy to install and slots together for a tight and clean finish.

However, suppose you place any weight on the surface.

In that case, you may notice that it becomes less flexible than regular vinyl flooring. To avoid this problem, make sure not to walk on the floor straight after installing it and give it some time to settle in.

Laminate Flooring – Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Relatively durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in many different sizes, styles and designs

Cons

  • Not recommended for areas with high traffic

Vinyl Flooring

what is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring has been around since the mid-1940s. It was developed to mimic natural wood floors but with several advantages, including ease of installation and durability.

There are three main types of vinyl flooring: vinyl tile, vinyl plank flooring, and vinyl sheet flooring.

Each type comes in numerous styles, making it easy to find a solution that fits perfectly into your home.

Vinyl flooring can be used on almost all kinds of materials, including concrete, ceramic tiles, hardwood, linoleum, carpet, and even rubberized surfaces. This gives you more installation options when compared to laminate flooring.

However, it requires some prep work before installation.

For instance, you need to remove any loose materials such as dust and debris, which could otherwise scratch the surface of your new flooring.

You will also need to apply a sealer to prevent moisture from entering the material. After using the sealer, it must be allowed to dry completely.

Once these steps have been completed, you can start installing.

Vinyl Flooring – Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Long-Lasting
  • Resistant to Scratches, Stains, Mold & Mildew

Cons

  • Takes longer to install
  • More expensive than laminate

The main advantage of vinyl flooring in our opinion is its durability.

Compared to laminates, vinyl is much more resistant to scratches, stains, mold, mildew, and water damage.

So if your house gets flooded, you don’t need to worry about damaging the flooring since vinyl won’t get damaged by water. With proper care and maintenance, vinyl flooring can last for several decades.

This doesn’t mean it’s indestructible however, you should still take care in certain situations – it might crack under heavy loads like heavy furniture, appliances, or stairs.

So, to summarise the process when trying to decide between laminate and vinyl flooring:

Laminate flooring is stylish, elegant and modern and offers a beautiful look and feel that goes well with all types of interiors. It comes in many different shapes, sizes and styles, however, it shouldn’t be considered ‘hard-wearing’ and will likely pick up scratches over time and damage if you drop anything sharp.

Vinyl is notably harder wearing and longer-lasting than laminate, although, offers fewer options in terms of style and design. It’s generally a little more expensive and takes a bit more work to install but will last you many many years, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas.

If you still feel like you want to explore a few other flooring options, we’ve got a few more to check out below!

Wood Flooring

Wooden floors are considered one of the most popular choices among homeowners who wish to add warmth to their homes.

Wood floors come in various styles and colors, allowing them to fit into virtually every home design. As a result, they can easily enhance the overall appearance of the space quickly and effectively.

Moreover, they offer a warm aesthetic that gives off a natural appeal, making them perfect for those looking to decorate their interior spaces.

Wood floors are also quite durable as long as they are properly maintained – hardwood in particular is highly resistant to wear and tear.

Because of this, they are a great option for high-traffic areas without being scratched or worn out.

Wood Flooring – Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Natural and warm feel
  • Often offered in forestry certified sustainable options
  • Long Lifespan 

Cons 

  • Can be expensive depending on the timber selected

When sealed properly, wooden flooring is stain-resistant, meaning it won’t leave unsightly marks if you spill something on them and clean it up.

Additionally, they can usually be placed over existing floors reducing a bit of the workload – and they also have quite good sound-absorbing properties when compared to vinyl or laminate flooring, helping to acoustically treat your room too.

Hardwood Flooring

More and more homeowners have been choosing hardwood flooring for their homes.

These days, there are various options in terms of hardwood species and finishes.

Hardwood flooring provides many benefits, such as low-maintenance, easy to install, affordable, durable, and energy-efficient. 

Pros

  • Low Maintenance
  • Durable
  • Energy Efficient
  • Easy to Install

Cons

  • Expensive

Hardwood floors are highly durable.

They can last for many years and even generations with proper care and cleaning.

This makes them ideal for busy families and active lifestyles.

Plus, they provide a very comfortable surface.

The only downside is that they require regular maintenance.

Therefore, clean your hardwoods regularly using a soft brush and mop.

If possible, keep furniture away from your floor when cleaning.

Also, make sure your hardwoods are sealed periodically.

Finally, protect them from water damage by keeping children and pets away from them.

Differences Between Laminates And Hardwoods

The differences between laminates and hardwoods are pretty straightforward.

Laminates come in different types, such as engineered and direct glued.

Engineered laminate floors are made up of multiple layers of material bonded together.

On top of that, you will find a core layer that gives the laminate stability. 

Directly glued laminate flooring is just one solid piece of wood with no additional layers.

Both types are available at most major retailers.

They both offer similar performance characteristics and costs.

You might consider purchasing an engineered laminate floor if you want a slightly higher quality product for less money.

The best thing about laminate flooring is that it’s incredibly versatile.

If you’re considering replacing or adding new flooring, laminate is likely the first place you start looking.

It works well in almost any kind of space and in nearly every room in your house.

It also looks good throughout the year. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$60 per square foot.

That’s not too expensive compared to other kinds of flooring.

However, suppose you like having some color options on your laminate flooring.

In that case, you should probably go with a custom design.

Custom laminate designs can range from simple prints or photos to detailed scenes.

Laminate floors come in all different colors and patterns.

For example, you may have seen patterned laminate flooring.

These laminate floors are popular because they feature a realistic wood grain effect.

Unfortunately, there aren’t too many places where you can purchase laminate flooring in these specific patterns.

However, if you happen to live near a home improvement store, you may be able to locate a few examples.

Otherwise, you’ll need to make do with other products.

Laminate flooring is an excellent alternative to traditional hardwood floors.

Just think about how much easier installing an entire floor rather than individual boards would be.

Most people assume that laminate floors cost more than hardwood floors, but that isn’t always the case. 

When installing laminate floors, you don’t have to worry about the orientation of the boards.

All you have to know is whether the board goes upside down or right side out.

Since they are manufactured using thin sheets of plywood, each panel has two layers.

One of those layers is the decorative sheet, making the floor look nice. The second layer is meant to provide support.

In addition, the bottom layer doesn’t contain nails, screws, or staples. It simply sticks to the subfloor.

While laminate flooring does require a bit of maintenance, it’s worth investing in.

Even though you won’t need to stain your newly purchased laminate flooring, you might want to apply a sealant to protect it from getting scratches and scuffs.

Depending on the laminate flooring you choose, you may even need to sand it before using the sealer.

If you want to avoid the expense and hassle of refinishing your existing floors, consider purchasing a new one instead.

There are several reasons why this is a good idea. First, the installation procedure is very straightforward.

You just need to glue the boards together and nail them into place.

There are four main types of laminate floors:

  1. Engineered 
  2. Hardwood
  3. Textured 
  4. Plank. 

Each of these will affect the price you pay. If you’re looking for something cheap, go for engineered wood.

If you want to get something durable and classy, you should opt for textured laminate.

There are plenty of benefits associated with selecting laminate flooring.

For starters, it tends to be less expensive than solid hardwoods.

Another advantage is that laminate floors are easy to maintain.

The last advantage of going with laminate flooring is that the surface is highly resistant to moisture.

That means you can keep your house cleaner by avoiding mops and buckets of water.

A third benefit is that the laminate looks similar to hardwood floors, making it a perfect choice for anyone who wants a traditional style.

You may also find that laminate flooring lasts longer than hardwood flooring.

While both types of flooring should last at least 20 years – provided that you take care of them properly – studies show that laminate lasts longer.

Plus, since laminate usually costs less than hardwood, you can afford to replace it when the old stuff wears out.

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but they are difficult to install, especially for beginners.

They also tend to scratch easily, leading to costly repairs. 

Conclusion

To conclude, laminate and vinyl flooring is an affordable way to change the appearance of your home and make things more modern.

But, of course, there are many types of this flooring available, so it pays to shop around until you find one that fits your needs and budget.

Laminate flooring is excellent for homeowners with busy schedules or tight budgets.

It’s easy to clean, lightweight, and low-maintenance.

In fact, some people claim that laminate flooring doesn’t need much maintenance at all!

Also, unlike traditional hardwood flooring, it can withstand heavy foot traffic.

This makes it ideal for homes where children play, and pets roam freely.

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