Laminate VS Vinyl Flooring: What's The Difference?

By

Zia

| Last Updated: 09 Feb 2021

While laminate and vinyl remain a popular flooring choice, people are still keen to know what makes these two different.

Laminate and vinyl flooring products are undeniably a popular choice for most people. They are usually designed to look like natural hardwood or stone. They're often mistaken for the real deal and most people can't really tell the difference between the two so we want to break down the differences to help make your decision easier.

 

LAMINATE FLOORING

Laminate is a great choice for those who want to mimic real hardwood floors without sacrificing their bank accounts. It's solid without giving and movement., just like traditional hardwood.

 

Laminate is typically comprised of four layers:

  • Backing layer - the backbone of your plank and it's also  referred to as a "stabilizing layer"
  • Core layer - this is made with a high-density or medium-density fiberboard. Higher quality laminate comes with a higher density core. We love that it's more moisture-resistant than the medium density options.
  • Print layer - this is what makes laminate that looks like wood, stone, metal, and more. It can also include rougher, more natural-looking scrapes like hardwood floors.
  • Wear layer - this protects your floor, keeps it looking fantastic after 10+ years.

 

 

VINYL FLOORING

Now let's talk about vinyl flooring that is often mistaken as a laminate that's because it's quickly taken over the market with more realistic wood and stone looks than ever before. Vinyl is also less high maintenance than laminate.

 

Vinyl, like laminate, is typically comprised of four layers, just using different materials:

  • Backing layer - the backbone of the plank decor.
  • Core layer - this part is solid vinyl, these cores are high-density, moisture-resistant, and built to last.
  • Printed Vinyl layer - this is what your style and design come from. It can mimic wood, stone, and other natural materials.
  • Wear layer - the thicker the wear layer, the more protection you'll have for your floor. It's like your vinyl's personal bodyguard.

 

 

There isn't really much of a price difference between laminate and vinyl. The top-end luxury vinyl you may pay a little more for than a top-end of laminate. That is because the highest quality luxury vinyl often includes a waterproof core and ultra-thick wear layer. For the middle of the road, beautiful, and good quality options, they're honestly pretty comparable. It's also important to discuss the installation costs with your installer. Most laminate is installed as a floating floor—that means you don't need any glue tape, you just lay down right on top of your existing floor, making it super DIY-friendly. Vinyl, on other hand, ranges and has several installation types including interlocking, glue down, floating, and loose lay at varying difficulties. Laminate is awesome for places with little to no moisture. The floor is not nearly as resistant to moisture as vinyl. Vinyl can be installed anywhere—bathrooms, kitchens, basements, etc.

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