Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Pros, Cons & Differences

If you’re looking for a hardwood alternative that’s easy on your budget but still looks good, then luxury vinyl or laminate are great choices. These two materials are often confused with one another. However, they have some important differences that you should know before making your decision.

ON THIS PAGE:

  1. WHAT IS LAMINATE

  2. WHAT IS LUXURY VINYL

    1. LVP

    2. LVT

  3. WHICH IS BEST?

    1. Comparing Appearance

    2. Cost

    3. Care

    4. Dogs, Cats, & Other Pets

    5. Installation

    6. Durability

    7. Waterproof

    8. Repair & Maintenance

    9. Environmentally Friendly

    10. Radiant Heating

    11. Resale Value

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAMINATE AND VINYL FLOORING?

Laminate is made of 99% wood byproducts. It’s also called composite, Pergo (which is a specific brand of flooring), or floating wood tile. It’s composed of several layers of rigid, high-density fiberboards that are laminated together into planks. The photographic image under the resin layer depicts the material you want, which is usually stone or wood. It often floats, which means it can snap and click over an existing floor without being nailed or glued down. It can also be glued to a subfloor.

Luxury vinyl, which isn’t to be confused with sheet vinyl, is a newer innovation that makes it a far cry from the plastic-like tiles you see in older homes. It’s made of several layers of resilient polyvinyl chloride (PVC) while the top layer is coated with urethane. Luxury vinyl comes in two forms:

  • Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)– These long planks can mimic the look of traditional hardwood floors. They can float, be glued down, or snap together. LVP can also be smooth or textured to mimic different types of materials.

  • Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)– These attractive tiles come in a greater variety of lengths and widths compared to LVP. Therefore, it’s better suited for imitating materials like stone, granite, and concrete. However, they can also be made into wood-like tiles and rectangles. LVT can float, peel-and-stick, be glued down, or snap together for easy installation.


WHICH FAUX WOOD IS BETTER?

Though they’re similar in appearance, radiant heating, and installation, Luxury Vinyl has a slight advantage in most of the other categories. However, both materials are excellent choices for any homeowner looking for an affordable floor that’s made to handle high traffic and the messes of life.

Laminate is Better For…

Luxury Vinyl is Better For…

Cost Cutters

Pets

The Environment

Repairs/Maintenance

Durability

Water/Moisture

Care

Resale Value

Appearance

When it comes to looks, which one will suit your needs?

Luxury Vinyl

 PROS

  • The photographic layer can depict many materials.

  • Advances in manufacturing allow more detailed textures besides just smooth and shiny, departing from its “plastic” look of yesteryear.

 CONS

  • It still looks a bit synthetic compared to natural materials.

Laminate

 PROS

  • The photographic layer can depict many materials to suit your room’s design.

  • Manufacturing techniques have advanced for this material as well, allowing more textures besides a smooth laminated top layer.

 CONS

  • Though it comes close to looking like wood, its synthetic nature makes it appear slightly artificial.

Care

Which material is easier to clean?

Luxury Vinyl

 PROS

  • This material is generally smooth and 100% waterproof, making spills easy to clean without giving dust a place to hide.

  • Cleaning them requires a light vacuum, consistent sweeping, and the occasional deep clean with cleaners that can cost around $20 per gallon.

 CONS

  • Homeowners who pick a textured style should expect to have a tougher time getting dust and food particles out of the grooves.

Laminate

 PROS

  • Since it’s smooth on the surface, spills are easy to clean.

  • It also won’t trap dust and dirt easily.

  • Cleanup is easy, requiring regular vacuuming, sweeping, and a little TLC with material-specific cleaners.

  • A typical cleaning product costs around $20 per gallon, or $8 for a 32-oz. spray bottle.

 CONS

  • Homeowners who pick textured styles should expect to put more effort into removing dust and food particles from the grooves.

 THE EASIEST TO CARE FOR: LAMINATE

Dogs, Cats & Other Pets

Which floors are good for our four-legged companions?

Luxury Vinyl

 PROS

  • Since LVP is 100% waterproof, house training puppies or kittens aren’t as stressful.

  • Scratch-resistant surfaces make pet nail damage nothing to worry about.

  • Pet hair and dander can easily be swept or vacuumed away.

 CONS

  • Though it stands up well against pets, urine should still be cleaned up quickly since it isn’t impervious to smells.

Laminate

 PROS

  • The top layer can be water and scratch-resistant when properly installed, making it tough against surface messes and nail scratches.

  • Pet hair and dander is easily cleaned off its smooth surface.

 CONS

  • Since it isn’t waterproof, homeowners should house train their puppies and kittens before installing it.

  • Pet urine can seep into any unsealed cracks and cause a lasting smell or even cause moisture damage to the fiberboard.

 THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOUR FURRY FRIENDS: LUXURY VINYL