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Home / Buying Guide / Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which Is Best for You?

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which Is Best for You?

Brunswick by Palmetto Road,  FIRESIDE

Brunswick by Palmetto Road, Fireside

Laminate, luxury vinyl flooring and vinyl sheet flooring each offer many advantages for homeowners. They resemble hardwood flooring while being more affordable. Additionally, laminate and LVP have come so far that some homeowners prefer them over hardwood because of how easy they are to maintain as they are durable and don't scratch like hardwood. There are some homeowners who'd rather have a "higher end" luxury vinyl plank product over an affordable hardwood. It's all about the performance aspects that you need for your home. Plus, they’re also perfect for high-traffic homes and moisture-prone rooms, like your downstairs powder room. 

When it comes to choosing between laminate or vinyl flooring, which is best for you? To determine whether laminate vs. vinyl flooring is better for your family and lifestyle, let’s dive in and compare some of their main features and considerations.

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Construction and Materials

Hydrana Gyant Natural

Hydrana by Beauflor, Gyant Natural

Before we explore some of the features, it’s essential to understand the material differences in laminate and vinyl. 

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a composite of wood byproducts, composed of several layers of high-density fiberboard. Beneath a resin layer is a photographic image of woodgrain or stone. Today's laminate flooring clicks together with patented locking systems and does not need to be glued to the underlayment or subfloor. Depending on conditions, it can often be installed over existing flooring.

While not all laminate is water-resistant, there is the exception should you wish to protect moisture-prone areas like powder rooms, kitchens or mudrooms. Laminate is also a great choice for other rooms such as kids playrooms and family rooms. Check out Beauflor Hydrana, or for a more affordable option, Palmetto Road Brunswick

It’s important to note that due to its wood byproduct composition, laminate is considered a wonderful green, eco-friendly choice for homes.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring is a resilient flooring made of several layers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with a top layer coated in urethane. It also comes in both luxury vinyl planks (LVP) that resemble long planks of textured wood, and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) that come in a variety of shapes, such as rectangles that appear as natural stone and concrete. Both LVP and LVT are easily installed and installation varies with click or glue options, depending on existing conditions. Some LVT products offer a peel-and-stick backing for easy installation.

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Some vinyl sheet flooring offers superior noise reduction and even adds a warmth that’s perfect for installing over concrete. For instance, Beauflor’s BlackTex HD offers a black felt textile backing. The BlackTex HD is also waterproof and will not move, wrinkle or tear. Extremely durable, it also comes with a rip, tear and gouge warranty. Sheet vinyl installation is also budget-friendly and it can be very forgiving of subfloor or existing floor imperfections.

 

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Sizes 

Laminate and vinyl flooring both come in a variety of sizes to fit any number of room renovations and installations. However, there are some slight differences. 

Laminate Flooring

For instance, Twenty & Oak offers laminate planks in 6" and 7.5" widths that are a little over 4' long. Unlike vinyl, however, laminate is a wood composite, which is a bit harder to cut to size.  

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl is offered in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit any style home, from shabby chic whitewashed oaks to rich and timeless cherry and mahogany. There are even bright hues like reds, greens and indigo blues from the Metroflor’s Deja New collection. Furthermore, luxury vinyl tile can resemble stone, granite, and travertine.

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

When it comes to vinyl sheet, you will have a pattern repeat that resembles planks of wood, tiles or even hand-laid stone. However, the sheeting itself often comes in rolls that range from 12 feet to 13 feet, 2 inches, which can also be easily cut with a simple utility knife. This means it will take a professional flooring installer much less time to complete the job, saving you money on labor, as well as the initial material cost.

Deja New by Metroflor, Nordic Haze
Deja New by Metroflor, Nordic Haze

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Appearance

While laminate and vinyl flooring appear synthetic compared to genuine hardwoods, they’re still quite convincing and beautiful. Both laminate and vinyl planks mimic real wood from various species of wood (oak, hickory, etc) to the surface texture look (handscraped, wirebrushed, weathered, distressed, etc.). The visuals so closely resemble real hardwood that it can be very hard to tell the difference.

 Here are some defining differences between laminate and vinyl flooring.  

Laminate Flooring

Laminate offers a photographic layer that can resemble many materials. With advanced manufacturing techniques, laminate can have a textured feel, too, as opposed to just a smooth laminated top layer. 

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl  has come a long way, shedding that “plasticy” appearance through modern advances that allow more intricate textures outside of flat and shiny. Much like laminate, vinyl flooring can also resemble many materials. 

When looking at laminate or vinyl samples, decide if the appearance and texture are convincing enough to mimic wood. Some vinyls may seem subpar and have slight nuances that break the illusion. If you want flooring to resemble hardwoods, stick with a reputable laminate brand to be more convincing. Keep in mind, too, that laminate can also increase your home's resale value

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Vinyl sheet flooring is no longer like the vinyl sheet you recall from your grandmother’s home. Today, modern vinyl sheet flooring has come quite far from the mock pebble pattern and is simply not the same as it once was. The textures and visuals are so convincing, you can even feel a “grout” between the tiles. So don’t underestimate vinyl sheet; it can offer your home a stylish look for an affordable price. 

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Ease of Maintenance

Cleaning floor with a mop 

Compared to other flooring types, laminate and vinyl are fairly easy to clean and maintain. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons homeowners prefer them. Unlike hardwood, you don’t have to refinish them. Plus, laminate and vinyl flooring are pretty resilient, able to withstand heavy foot traffic. 

Always be sure to check the manufacturer’s care and maintenance guidelines to ensure proper care of your floors as they can differ from brand to brand. Also, be sure to choose a cleaner that is specifically made for vinyl and/or laminate floors.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is easy to maintain, with a few careful caveats. Daily maintenance requires sweeping with a dust mop or vacuuming. However, you should avoid leaving puddles of water, cleaning up spills immediately. 

When it comes to cleaning, avoid wet mops and only use soap-free cleaning products or sprays designed specifically for laminate flooring. Be sure to check with the laminate manufacturer for the best cleaning methods.

Laminate flooring is ideal for pet owners, offering a resilient flooring that resists scratches from dog claws and accidents. 

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring, in particular, is one of the easiest to maintain. Simply use a damp mop with a mild cleanser. The only issue you need to consider with vinyl flooring is to avoid standing puddles or using a steam mop that can seep beneath the planks and tiles, harming the adhesive and subfloor. Vinyl floors don’t require waxing, either! 

The single maintenance issue homeowners should consider is dents and scratches caused by moving heavy furniture, but that’s easily prevented with felt floor protectors.

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Much like luxury vinyl flooring, vinyl sheet rolls are very low maintenance and easy to clean. Some manufacturers, like Beauflor, even offer a protective polyurethane lacquer that also protects against daily wear and tear. 

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Comfort

If you’re remodeling, say, a kitchen, where you’ll be standing for many hours cooking, consider the comfort level of your floors. 

Laminate Flooring 

Laminate flooring is typically more comfortable, as it’s thicker than vinyl. Our Beauflor Hydrana collection comes with an underlayment pad attached, and many of our vinyl options at Twenty & Oak also come with an attached pad which helps with comfort and sound absorption.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring 

If you install vinyl flooring on a concrete subfloor without insulation, it can feel cold underfoot.

Keep in mind that both flooring types can become a bit chilly in colder months and depending on the temperature of the room. While rugs and an underfloor heating system can offer some warm underfooting, both laminate and vinyl comfort is improved with either an attached pad, or added underlayment.

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

As mentioned, vinyl sheet flooring offers a soft and warm underfooting, which is perfect for households who have kids or family members who enjoy walking around in bare feet. Vinyl sheet also conducts heat rather well, which creates even more enjoyment from underfloor heating. All Beauflor flooring products can be installed over radiant floor heat as long as the surface temperature does not exceed 80 degrees, there are no exposed wires and there are no hot spots.

Looking for the perfect laminate or vinyl to suit your home decor and tastes? Find your perfect floor or check out our virtual showroom to explore the various styles, sizes and finishes.  

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Twenty & Oak Experts 
Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast. 
 
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