Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring: Their Pros and Cons

Looking for something like a hardwood floor but don’t have the budget for a hardwood floor? Then vinyl and laminate flooring are your best options.

They can mimic hardwood floors quite well and are much cheaper than hardwood. Although they are sometimes mistaken to be the same thing, they are actually are quite different. In this article, these two floorings will be compared and the differences will be highlighted.  The pros and cons will also be discussed so that it allows you to make a more informed decision when deciding which floor is best for you.

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Comparison Between Vinyl And Laminate Flooring

The following table will list some of the main attributes of vinyl and laminate flooring in comparison with each other.

Vinyl

Laminate

Vinyl has a photographic top layer which is available in a variety of designs, colors, and textures. Laminate is also available in different types of colors and designs with a smooth and shiny top layer.
Vinyl is relatively expensive with a per square foot cost of $1.50 to $6. Laminate is relatively cheaper and costs about $2.8 to $8 per square foot depending on the quality, finishing, and other qualities.
Vinyl is quite easy to clean by vacuuming or brooming followed by a damp cloth. It is easy to clean but you cannot constantly use a damp/ wet cloth as it is susceptible to water damage
Vinyl is prone to scratching by sharp objects (pets’ untrimmed nails, knife) and indenting by heavy furniture. Laminate is susceptible to indentation and scratching from heavy objects and pets.
Vinyl can easily be installed using adhesives or through the peel and stick tiles. Laminate is usually sold as a  floating floor with a tongue and groove locking mechanism
Vinyl is quite durable with a warranty of around 10-15 years. Laminate has a decent lifespan with a warranty of 15-20 years.
Vinyl is highly water-resistant since it is made of plastic. Laminate has a water-resistant top layer but its bottom layers can get damaged from water, moisture, and humidity.
Vinyl cannot be repaired in case of damage and will have to be replaced. Due to the susceptibility of it being damaged, it is important to note that the tiles and sheets need to be replaced if damaged.
Vinyl is fully synthetic and made from PVC, this makes it hard to recycle. Laminate is made predominantly from wood thus making it a naturally recyclable product.
Vinyl can radiate heat well making it a good choice for cooler climates. Laminate sheets are also good conductors of heat but a floating laminate floor installed over an underlayment will provide even better heat conduction.
Vinyl is not considered a very high-quality material for flooring, therefore it does affect the resale value of a house too much extent. Laminate is considered a good alternative for hardwood but still, it does not portray itself as a high-quality flooring material.

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Pros and Cons Of Vinyl Flooring

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Pros

  • Vinyl flooring is one of the lowest maintenance flooring options available. You can easily clean it daily with a broom or vacuum followed by a damp mop to prevent the accumulation of dirt or dust.
  • You can clean it with specially designed cleaners for vinyl after a few days to ensure even better cleaning.
  • This flooring is extremely water-resistant; vinyl can be soaked in water and nothing will happen to it because of its PVC material. This makes it a good choice to be used in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Due to it being a good conductor of heat, you need not worry about it being cold to the touch to walk on as compared to other materials such as marble.
  • Vinyl is quite an affordable flooring option when compared with hardwood, marble, or parquet flooring.
  • Vinyl is quite durable because of its water-resistant properties. If it is maintained and taken care of properly, it can last for years.
  • Vinyl is quite stain-resistant as well because of its wear layer that acts as a protective layer.
  • Vinyl tiles and planks are easy to install which you can do yourself without any professional help.

Cons

  • In some cases, vinyl flooring can emit volatile organic chemical gases after it is installed which can cause breathing issues and allergic reactions.
  • Vinyl is 100% is not biodegradable and has harmful effects on the environment after throwing it away
  • Prior to installation, the subfloor layer needs to be completely smooth otherwise even a small grain or lump can cause bumps in the vinyl which will eventually damage the vinyl sheet.
  • Vinyl is prone to get chemical stains especially with materials that contain rubber.
  • Vinyl can get easily scratched by pet claws and by dragging heavy items across it.
  • Vinyl, if damaged, cannot be repaired. All the damaged vinyl tiles or sheets will need to be replaced with new ones.
  • Direct sunlight can cause vinyl floors to be discolored or they may discolor with time.

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Pros and Cons Of Laminate Flooring

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Pros

  • Laminate flooring is made primarily from natural and wood material which allows it to be environmentally friendly and biodegradable. 85% of its parts can be recycled.
  • Laminate flooring can easily be installed as a DIY project. It is available in the peel and sticks tiles as well as the tongue and groove locking system to create a floating floor.
  • Since laminate flooring is made from natural materials, it is non-allergenic and will not cause VOC emissions.
  • Due to its top layer, it is fairly easy to take care of and keep clean, and sweeping and vacuuming will suffice.
  • It is a more economical option when compared to the other types of floors.
  • They have designs and colors that mimic hardwood floors.

Cons

  • Laminate floors are not 100% water-resistant. Therefore, you cannot use a damp mop for cleaning. You to clear up the water and other liquid spills immediately otherwise they can damage the floor.
  • Laminate may mimic hardwood floors to a certain degree but will not be as authentic and may even look plastic.
  • It is quite hard and therefore makes a lot of noise while walking which can be disturbing.
  • It can get easily scratched by pointed objects and heavy items.
  • Damaged laminate tiles or sheets will need to be replaced as there is no way to repair them.
  • Laminate cannot be sanded and refinished like a hardwood floor. Instead, if the wear layer wears out, it cannot be refinished and has to be replaced.

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The Verdict: Which One Is Better?

If you are in a dilemma about whether vinyl is better for you or laminate is, you have to consider what your preferences are. Both of them have almost similar kinds of appearance so you will have to weigh the other factors to reach a decision.

If you want an eco-friendly and non-allergenic floor, then laminate is the option to go with. However, if you want to choose a floor for your bathroom or kitchen, then vinyl is the better option since it is extremely water-resistant.

Although there is not much of a difference between vinyl and laminate when it comes to the price, vinyl is slightly more expensive than laminate. So if you have a tight budget, then laminate should be chosen, otherwise, you can go with vinyl.

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