Vinyl and laminate from National Floors Direct

What is the Difference Between Vinyl and Laminate Flooring?

Did you know that the world’s most expensive flooring costs a million dollars per square meter? Each square meter is encrusted with diamonds, pearl, black onyx, and abalone shell - if you have a few million dollars to spare.

Want the sparkle without robbing a bank? Luckily there’s vinyl and laminate flooring for the rest of us. But what is the difference between vinyl and laminate flooring?

Vinyl flooring might conjure up images of cheap sheets that were seen in homes throughout the 1950s. But over the years, it has morphed into one of the most popular and attractive flooring options for homeowners worldwide. Similar to laminate flooring, vinyl can also come in the form of tiles or planks mimicking many different types of materials.

Are you at a crossroads between laminate and vinyl flooring? Whether you have plans to refresh one room or the whole house, choosing the perfect flooring option is not easy. To help you avoid making an expensive mistake, here’s a guide to give you the low down on both types of flooring.

What is Vinyl Flooring?

Originally, vinyl flooring was a replacement for linoleum flooring. It’s made from plastic, making it waterproof, pliable, and excellent at retaining its shape.

Vinyl flooring still comes in sheet form, from the typical lower quality thin sheets to thicker and more durable choices. They are beneficial for covering large areas quickly and easily. Luxury vinyl is made from high-quality materials and often has an embossed design to make it look like certain materials i.e. real wood.

Vinyl tiles are also another form of vinyl flooring that is durable and attractive. Vinyl tile designs usually click or slot together, which makes installing it in your home a breeze. It’s more expensive than vinyl sheets but come in an array of different shapes, sizes, and colors.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is made up of multiple layers of different materials, including wood, plastic, and other composite materials. It can be used in both residential and commercial buildings, and it’s suitable for use throughout your home.

The top layer is usually made from wood or other materials to give the flooring a more realistic look, but underneath is usually a layer of plastic. Some laminate floors also have an underlayment that helps insulate the room from outside noise and heat.

It can be used in any room that needs to withstand general wear and tear but is not suitable for areas that get extremely wet. Although laminates are water-resistant, large amounts of water can penetrate the material causing it to swell and warp.

Laminates are also available in many different styles including some that look like real wood or stone. This makes it great for people who want something stylish but don’t want the upkeep that comes with real wood floors.

What Is the Difference Between Vinyl and Laminate Flooring?

In terms of appearance, quality vinyl flooring such as tiles can look exactly the same as wood flooring and other natural materials.

The ability to emboss into vinyl allows details, like the grain found in natural wood, to be applied to it. So not only does luxury vinyl flooring look like natural materials, but they also feel good to walk on. On the other hand, cheaper forms of vinyl flooring are only printed on the surface and will therefore not look as realistic.

Laminate flooring consists of a see-through top layer with a realistic photographic layer embedded underneath it. The photographic layer is created to look exactly like wood or stone, which gives homeowners a vast list of designs to choose from.

When it comes to maintenance, laminate flooring is water-resistant but not waterproof. Whereas vinyl flooring is completely waterproof making it the ideal option to use in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl is also best for areas that frequently get grimy because wet mops cannot be used on laminate floors.

Both types of flooring are extremely durable, so they are suitable for high-traffic areas like hallways and staircases.

How long do they last? This will depend on the quality and how it has been installed. High-quality laminate flooring that is professionally fitted will last between 20 - 30 years, and standard quality ones can last up to 15 years.

Luxury vinyl flooring is of higher quality and much thicker with a lifespan of up to 25 years, although it’s not unheard of to last longer depending on usage.

As to which is cheaper, you’ll find that they are both quite similar in pricing. Both flooring options are more friendly on the pocket in comparison to real wood flooring and tiling. However, once you start exploring the higher-end flooring options between the two, you'll notice that vinyl flooring is more expensive.

Flooring Tips for Interiors

Before choosing a type of flooring you’ll need to ask yourself what type of lifestyle you have. If you have pets and children running around or perhaps you live with elderly family members, then you’ll want to consider things such as ease of cleaning and safety.

What types of activities do you do around the house? Are there rooms that are multifunctional? Living in colder or warmer climates may also affect your choice of flooring options. If you suffer from high humidity you’ll want flooring that will last and not become moldy over time.

What Other Types of Flooring Are There?

We’ve discussed the differences between vinyl and laminate flooring, but it’s possible that neither is suitable for your home. Flooring such as carpeting can help insulate homes in colder regions and dampen noises. And due to technology and new materials emerging, there is a huge range of flooring options to suit any budget.

If you’re looking for more advice or simply a point in the right direction, then why not contact us here at National Floors Direct? Our friendly team of experts is always on hand to listen and help with all types of flooring queries.