Vinyl vs laminate flooring? What is better, which is easier to install, how much do they cost?

Vinyl and laminate flooring are both fantastic alternatives to traditional wooden floorboards or carpeting, but it can be tricky to know some of the key differences between the two to decide which is the better choice is for you. Here we will look at some of the pros and cons of each, which is cheaper and help you find the right match for your home.

Vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring is an entirely synthetic product made from materials like PVC, fibreglass, and plasticizer. It is known for being fantastic in the areas in your house that receive the most wear, easy to clean, and are long-lasting. It is built up using layers of varying thickness depending on what you are looking for and has a scratch-resistant top layer to keep it looking good for longer. In classic sheet or tile, form vinyl can come in many styles and patterns while vinyl plank floors interlock and, if you go for quality vinyl, can look remarkably like real wood. Here are a few pros and cons to vinyl.

Pros:

  • It is comfortable on your feet – With its layers and particularly a usually thick, padded core layer, vinyl flooring is softer and springier than laminate or other types. It has some give that makes it better for slips and falls and it tends to feel less chilly in the cold months than your other flooring options.
  • It is comfortable on your wallet – decorating and doing up your house can be a really pricey undertaking, and it is important to consider costs when choosing what kind of flooring you want. Vinyl is usually cheaper than wood, ceramics, and stone tiles and comparable with laminate.
  • It is well made – in the past it could be quite simple to tell vinyl flooring apart from its naturally made competition. These days, however, it is so well made that it can be difficult to tell apart from real wood and other floors.
  • It is easy to clean – Stain resistant, hardwearing, and with a protective layer on the top all you really need to do is give it a wipe to clean it. It is perfect if you have pets, kids, or tend to get a little messy, keeping your cleaning hassle-free every time.
  • It is durable – The most important pro really for vinyl flooring is its durability and therefore its versatility too. There are no rooms in which you wouldn’t want to have vinyl. It keeps moisture out, can take spills, wear, and anything that might come up in your daily life without any issues. Also if one bit does get damaged if you have vinyl planks you can simply replace one and not the whole floor. 

With these positives and more vinyl flooring definitely has a lot going for it, but we should mention some cons as well.

Cons:

  • It is important to properly prepare the floor surface before installing your vinyl flooring as any bumps or other obstructions can make your floor uneven or wear down in places.
  • Direct sunlight can sometimes cause your vinyl to fade or change colour, so make sure you use high-quality products and curtains or blinds to reduce this likelihood.

Laminate flooring

The key difference between vinyl and laminate is that while vinyl is synthetic laminate is made from wood. It also has layers with a top layer that is resistant to wear. Made of plastic and transparent to show the pattern underneath laminate also looks remarkably like real wood and is a cheaper option for your floors.

Pros:

  • Appearance – Vinyl and laminate both look realistic but laminate offers the depth for a proper 3D impression of the wood or other material it is mimicking giving it a fantastic appearance.
  • It is easy to clean – Laminate is easy to clean using dry methods or a damp mop, easier than many options out there. Vinyl does have it beat, however, for its ability to get wet and keep moisture out while laminate can’t take too much water.
  • It is easy on your wallet – Laminate is cheaper than wood, ceramics or stone and comparable in price to vinyl flooring. With its wonderful likeness to the real thing and its lower cost laminate is a great choice for anyone wanting to save a little cash.
  • It is durable – With its top resistant layer laminate flooring is a good and durable option for your floors, harder to scratch than real wood. It can also have one piece replaced without the whole floor in most cases if it does get scratched or water gets in which is great, but vinyl does tend to be more durable again because it is not bothered as much by water.
  • It is comfortable on your feet – Laminate is warmer and more comfortable than lots of flooring options and thin vinyl, especially when it has been installed over stone or other hard cold surfaces. With a good underlay, laminate can feel springy and nice underfoot.

Again Laminate is a fantastic option for your floors but does still have a con or two worth mentioning.

Cons:

  • It does not do well with water – Once too much moisture gets in your laminate flooring it can warp and generally be ruined so it is important to keep it dry.
  • It is not the best choice for every room – Laminate is not generally ideal for places like your bathroom, unlike vinyl which can go everywhere.

Installation and cost

Vinyl and laminate are both more affordable choices than real wood or stone and are generally similar in price. Vinyl can be as cheap as $1 per square foot making it slightly less, though for good quality vinyl you would pay around $5, similar to laminate. In installation as well these are both great choices for DIY floorboards or professional installation. They are really simple to place using click and lock installation to put them together, though sheet vinyl can be more unwieldy. 

 

Both vinyl and laminate floorings have many positives to recommend them, are similar in cost and in installation, so they both make excellent choices for your home. Vinyl does have an edge on laminate for being even more durable and suitable for every room in your home as long as it is a good quality product while laminate tends to look a tad more realistic. So have a look and get shopping for your ideal floors today.