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Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

Posted on: January 1, 2022
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By: Mike Abatiell

Laminate and vinyl flooring are both great choices with a ton of design options. They’re both durable, stylish, and affordable, making them suitable for a wide range of residential and commercial applications. With all of their similarities, you might be wondering about the differences between laminate and vinyl flooring. At Abatiello Design Center in Rutland, VT, we have experience installing both of these types of flooring. Although they have a lot in common, they have some key differences to keep in mind that will determine which one is best for you. 

Appearance

Laminate and vinyl flooring both look similar, especially from a distance. They both allow for a versatile range of patterns and designs, such as mimicking wood, tile, stone, and more.

One of the main differences in appearance is that laminate flooring allows for deeper, more realistic embossing on its surface. Vinyl flooring typically can’t be embossed very deeply, so it doesn’t mimic other materials as well as laminate flooring does. Although thicker luxury vinyl flooring allows for deeper embossing than standard vinyl flooring, laminate flooring still looks more detailed up close.

Structure

Laminate and vinyl flooring are constructed differently, which affects where they are best installed. Laminate consists of a core made of pressed wood particles. A high-quality image layer is then placed on top of that. The final layer is a durable, clear layer of plastic that helps reduce wear and tear. 

Vinyl flooring is made of several more layers than laminate flooring. It starts with a supportive base layer, then fiberglass is added on top to keep the sheet flat. Next, a layer of cushion is added for texture and bounce. After that, a decorative pattern is placed on top of the other layers, then a wear layer protects the pattern. Last but not least, a top coat adds shine and further protects the flooring. 

Water Resistance

Since laminate flooring is constructed with a wooden core, it isn’t very resistant to moisture. It can only tolerate water exposure for short periods of time until it softens, swells, and warps. If it gets badly damaged from water exposure, it can’t be fixed and will typically need to be replaced.

Vinyl flooring is completely waterproof, so it’s a great option for rooms that frequently get damp, such as bathrooms or entryways. This also makes it an ideal choice for homes and businesses located in exceptionally humid areas.

Durability

Laminate and vinyl flooring are both very durable, even in high traffic areas. As a whole, vinyl is considered the more durable choice, since it is waterproof.

Lifespan

Vinyl flooring typically lasts around 20 years, while laminate flooring usually lasts around 10-25 years. Wear and tear, maintenance, and care affect how long each type of flooring will last.

Care and Cleaning

Both laminate and vinyl flooring are easy to clean and care for. They can closely mimic the look of stone and tile flooring, minus the high-maintenance grout, which is difficult to clean.

Since laminate flooring is partially made of wood, it shouldn’t be wet mopped. Instead, it should be cleaned with a broom or dust mop along with a damp mop. Vinyl flooring is very low maintenance when it comes to cleaning. It can be swept, wet mopped, scrubbed, and subjected to many other cleaning methods. 

Comfort and Feel

Laminate flooring tends to feel warm compared to vinyl flooring. All types of vinyl flooring feel cold and hard to the touch.

The comfort and feel of both flooring types depends on the underlayment that they’re combined with. Certain underlayments, such as felt, can make the floor feel softer, warmer, and more comfortable. Other underlayments, such as concrete, can make the floor feel harder, colder, and less comfortable.

Installation Method

Laminate flooring and vinyl planks are both installed via a click-and-lock method. This makes them relatively easy for DIYers to install. Sheet vinyl is laid down, and then cutouts are made to the material so it fits the room, which can be quite challenging for the average DIYer.

For the best results with both laminate and vinyl flooring, it’s best to leave it to the pros. The experienced team at Abatiello Design Center can install your new flooring to ensure it turns out beautiful!

Cost

Laminate and vinyl are both affordable flooring options, especially compared to the materials that they mimic. Laminate and luxury vinyl floors are similar in pricing, while standard vinyl is an even more affordable choice.

Resale Value

If they’re in good condition, both high-quality laminate flooring and luxury vinyl flooring can add resale value to a house. Although neither option has the value of genuine hardwood floors, stone, or other premium flooring choices, laminate and vinyl flooring probably won’t deter prospective buyers. This makes them very similar in resale value.

We’re Experts at Installing Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

Do you want high-quality laminate or luxury vinyl flooring installed in your home? Abatiello Design Center has plenty of experience installing floors in Rutland, VT, and the surrounding areas. Our skilled team can help you choose the right flooring for your unique style and budget, then install your new flooring so that it functions well and looks beautiful. Contact our team to schedule a consultation today!

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