When you try to find some alternatives for wood flooring, several options will come across your path. Different types of flooring are ruling the market. But vinyl and laminate plank flooring are the most famous ones out there.
Despite having some of the best qualities, there’re some significant differences between them: durability, longevity, stability, appearance, cleaning, maintenance, and comfortability. The environmental and health safety facts are in consideration too. Some features like stain, heat, and water resistance are also the key selling points alongside their prices.
Get to know the key points of luxury vinyl plank vs. laminate plank flooring in this post. Choose the one that creates a lovely floor and gives your home a pleasing appearance.
A Short Comparison Table Between Luxury Vinyl Plank and Laminate Plank
If you are in haste to make a decision right away, then look at our short table. We’ll make enough distinctions between vinyl plank and laminate flooring to make the contrasts clear.
|Topic||Luxury Vinyl Plank||Laminate Plank|
|Durability||More durable than laminate brand.||Comparatively less durable.|
|Stability||Better stability even in high-traffic areas.||Less stability in high traffic areas, otherwise tolerable.|
|Appearance||Fair looks and style.||More aesthetic designs than vinyl flooring.|
|Water resistance||Present in all brands of vinyl plank.||Absent in most of the laminate brands.|
|Heat resistance||Has much heat resistance and can be increased if necessary.||Not very effective against radiant heat.|
|Installation||Easy, but sometimes needs professional help.||Easy to install by yourself.|
|Cleaning efforts||Less effort in every condition.||Less effort only in dry conditions; otherwise, might have troubles.|
|Maintenance||Don’t need any special treatment.||Need some special products to polish and repair.|
|Longevity||Up to 20 years||Depending on the manufacturer, 10 to 25 years.|
|Environmental facts||Has several ecological impacts.||Environment friendly.|
|Cost||$2 to $5||$0.5 to $5|
|Scratch resistance||Superior ability than laminate flooring.||Don’t have much scratch resistance.|
|Comfortability||Don’t have such comfort as laminate.||More comfortable than vinyl flooring.|
|Raw materials||Polyvinyl chloride||Wood fiber (high density)|
|Pet friendliness||Yes, but things can go wrong with a misunderstanding of smells.||Not pet-friendly at all.|
|Moisture resistance||Has certified moisture resistance.||Don’t have any moisture resistance.|
|Volatile Organic compound||Emit some of them.||Doesn’t emit any VOCs.|
|Application||Can fit anywhere because of multi-faceted functionality.||Not suitable for the areas with high humidity and moisture.|
|Noise||Makes noticeable noises.||Doesn’t make much noise.|
What Does It Mean by Laminate Plank Flooring?
If we consider the history, the laminate plank was the first-ever alternative option for flooring instead of hardwood or real wood. The laminate plank comprises genuine hardwood with multi-layer core construction and has a resemblance to natural wood.
The core is a mixture of wood by-products with resins, and the surface is a plastic wear layer where any design can be printed. To provide durability like natural hardwood, the laminate core is made of a high-density fibreboard (HDF core) that creates a solid foundation for the floor.
The thickness of laminate floor planks is about 6 mm, and it can increase up to 12 mm depending on core materials.
What Does It Mean by Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Though luxury vinyl tile was introduced much later than laminate flooring boards, it gained more fame than laminate in no time. The primary reason is that luxury vinyl products use 100 percent synthetic material.
Unlike the laminate flooring products, the vinyl plank also has multi-layer or construction. The core is made of solid fiberglass, and the upper layer of the core is coated with polyvinyl chloride and plasticizers. Another thing to notice is that the vinyl plank’s most upper surface uses a coating of no-wax polyurethane after the design is printed.
The thickness of vinyl plank floors is about 1.5 mm to 5 mm despite having complex coatings in the different layers. This feature makes it quickly installable and easy to glue down.
Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring: Pros and Cons
Before jumping into buying one of these flooring products, you need to learn the pros and cons from both sides and decide.
Pros of Vinyl Plank:
- The luxury vinyl flooring is easy and quick to set in your house.
- Vinyl floor owners can do it like DIY installation (click and lock method).
- They are easy to clean and maintain.
- The vinyl flooring will cost you much less per square foot than real hardwood.
- Waterproof certification is one of the key features of vinyl flooring products.
- Variety in design will also attract you as a customer because most of them are similar to tiles, wood, and stone.
- The vinyl products are also famous for durability and longevity as they can last for more than a decade.
Cons of Vinyl Plank:
- You can face some difficulties during installation as they have various types of flooring products, and some are tough to work with.
- The thickness can be a problem and form dents when heavy furniture is placed.
- Some controversy reduces its resale value compared to hardwood flooring as it’s made from entirely synthetic materials.
- In some cases, the products are also questioned for their health safety issues and environmental impacts.
Pros of Laminate Plank:
- The luxury flooring can give you a look and style like real wood. They can mimic the appearance of burnished planks so that you can get something exactly like real wood floors.
- Their durability comes from high-density fiberboard.
- They are easy to clean and maintain.
- One of the primary disadvantages is that your feet will feel completely at ease whenever you step on the floor.
- You will also get an official water-resistant guarantee in most cases.
Cons of Laminate Plank:
- laminate products can’t be refurbished.
- Some brands don’t have laminate flooring warranties (waterproof certification). As a result, you won’t be able to use them in your kitchen or bathroom.
- Your only choice is to use dry cleaning with laminate floors, though it’s an easy job.
- They also make creaky noises after prolonged use.
- Less popularity discourages many people from investing in quality laminate wood flooring.
- Some laminate brands have controversy about environmental issues as well. As they are not made of entirely natural materials, they are not biodegradable either.
Vinyl Plank Vs Laminate Flooring: Which One Is More Suitable?
If you want to buy the most suitable one, you need to know the difference between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. For that, have a look at a key difference between them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of points or facts to differentiate vinyl plank and laminate flooring. Some include durability, stability, realistic appearance, waterproofing, cleaning, maintenance, installation, construction materials, environmental issues, and comfort.
So, let’s jump into a detailed discussion of the facts.
Which One Is More Durable: Vinyl Plank or Laminate?
In terms of durability, vinyl plank is in a leading position in the fake wood flooring industry. When you can’t afford solid hardwood, you can look up to these flooring products.
But laminate products can’t give you such service because once the protective layer of the surface is exposed, it can’t be fixed anymore. Also, it’s no longer resistant to water.
On the other hand, vinyl products have upper-level durability and fix-ability. That’s why vinyl flooring products are more suitable than the other ones.
Does Laminate Flooring Look More Aesthetic Than Vinyl Plank?
When it comes to appearance and style, laminate is the clear winner here. Although they both use deep realistic three-dimensional embossing, there are limits in vinyl surfaces as they are mainly plastic.
The appearance is more natural in laminate planks like the hand-scraped hardwood. Its base layer has resin, but the upper layer is perfect for embossing any design, photographic image, patterns, or color you wish to implant.
Vinyl products can also be printed and designed in several manners, but they can’t give the texture and realistic look of the laminate because of its thick core layer.
Stability depends on the thickness, shape, and size of the materials.
Laminate products have a fiberboard core that increases the thickness but makes them hollow from the inside. If the weight distribution is not even on the laminate surface, it may break or shatter.
But vinyl planks have hard and closed-cell that make them capable of handling high-pressure areas. The luxury vinyl can also expand in some cases. You can use them without concern about such matters.
Which One Is Waterproof: Laminate or Vinyl Plank?
Not all flooring types are waterproof, making it one of the key features to consider before installing one in your home.
As vinyl planks are made of polymer materials and have polyurethane coating, they can resist massive amounts of water. The water can be swept or dried away naturally.
But laminate floorings have a limitation of water resistance because fiber materials are in the core layer. If they get in touch with water for prolonged periods, they will be demolished. However, a few brands make waterproof laminate planks as well.
Laminate Vs Luxury Vinyl Plank: In-depth Comparison
- Easier Installation
The installation process is pretty easy for both of them, but luxury vinyl will provide you more options.
For example, both laminate and vinyl plank use the click-and-lock-installation method. However, if you want to install laminate flooring, you will require underlayment.
The vinyl flooring provides you peel and stick, glue down alongside click-lock methods. But sometimes, vinyl planks can lead you to troubles as they need precise cuttings. So, you may need professional installation, which is an additional cost.
- Cleaning Efforts
If you think vinyl plank flooring vs. laminate flooring in terms of cleaning, both of them are very easy to clean. But here’s the deal breaker – the incapability of laminate to be cleaned in wet conditions.
You can use a mop or broom to clean the laminate flooring but in dry condition. If you try to sweep with a wet rag, the floor may have water damage.
On the contrary, luxury vinyl planks have no such limitations. You can clean gently or vigorously, dry or wet. So, vinyl flooring causes less effort with daily cleaning methods.
- Maintenance Problems
Though neither needs any special treatment for maintenance, laminate flooring brands need wax or specified products to shine and repair. These laminate-certified products help to restore its glory or repair any scratches.
On the other hand, vinyl flooring doesn’t need any kind of product at all. Any type of wax is even forbidden to use on the vinyl surface, or else the surface will be slippery. So, you don’t have to worry a lot about maintenance if you get luxury vinyl for your house.
- Health Safety Concerns
In the laminate flooring vs. vinyl planks topic, both of them have health issues.
The vinyl planks consist of plasticizers, but their effects on humans are not apparent. However, volatile organic compounds like phthalate are harmful and can be produced by vinyl compounds.
So, it’s better to use the one which has fewer VOCs. The adhesives from laminate flooring don’t have life-threatening issues. But too much exposure can irritate the skin, throat, and nose.
Which One Is More Comfortable?
If we discuss between them terms of comfort, the laminate plank has the upper hand. It can give you a warm feeling like hardwood floors because of having 12 mm thickness of fiberboard.
But the vinyl flooring has a 1.5 mm thickness that can be extended up to 5 mm. Your barefoot will not be comfortable in such a thin layer above the concrete floor.
So, if you want comfort in your feet and feel like wood, you can get laminate plank flooring.
Construction Materials of Multi-Layers
In the debacle of vinyl plank versus laminate flooring, both of them have multi-layers but are different in the usage of raw materials.
In vinyl flooring, the base and design layer are made of vinyl (a polymeric compound). The wear or print layer has a coating of rigid transparent plastic.
In laminate plank, the core and photographic layer are made of fiber. The wear layer has plastic coatings. So, most of the materials in laminate are fiber and can be recycled. But in luxury vinyl planks, all of them are polymers.
Don’t Forget to Consider Environmental Impacts
No matter what we use, we should consider its impact on our environment. Between laminate vs vinyl planks, the laminate plank has more wood content than luxury vinyl.
Though the laminate flooring uses plastic coating at the upper layer, the rest of the raw materials is wood fiber. So, it can be recycled or reused at any time. The fibers are also biodegradable, so you don’t need to worry about their effect on climate.
The vinyl planks are fully synthetic and non-biodegradable. If you try to burn these, several toxic chemicals will be produced and affect the environment. You can’t even recycle or re-use these vinyl components.
As a result, laminate flooring is better for the environment.
Where Can You Install Vinyl and Laminate Flooring?
There are some specific places to install the new floorings. You can’t just install them willy-nilly in the house because of their limits.
Laminate flooring is suitable for the bedroom, living room, dining room, home office. You can’t use them in the kitchen or family bathroom.
But you can install the vinyl flooring anywhere in the house, even in the bathroom, mudroom and kitchen. That is because it has waterproof options.
After all, Cost Matters!
There is no massive difference in price if you consider vinyl versus laminate.
You can find the laminate plank flooring from $.50 to $5 per square foot. If you think about luxury vinyl, they come at $2 and extend to $5 per square foot.
This kind of similar pricing makes the customers confused, and as a result, they can’t make a definitive choice.
Other Minor Differences You Need To Be Aware Of
Besides the mentioned differences, there are some other factors that you should think about like resale values, longevity, pet friendliness, heat resistance, stain resistance, proneness to fade, moisture resistance, etcetera.
- Resale Values
You should consider it one of the critical facts before buying new flooring because you aren’t investing any small amount. Both of them have a good amount of resale value as long as they are usable or in proper condition.
But as you bought the vinyl flooring at a higher price, you can make a higher profit comparatively than laminate flooring. There is a higher possibility that the vinyl planks will be in good condition than laminate flooring. So, it will make a slight difference.
- Which One Lasts Longer?
On average, the luxury vinyl plank flooring can last for 20 years if taken care of nicely. But you need to change the laminate flooring after a decade or sooner if there are deep scratches or water damages.
Nowadays, several brands are making waterproof laminate flooring, and they can last up to 25 years if they are adequately treated.
- Reconsider If You Have Pets
Most of us have pets at home, such as cats or dogs. When you are about to install new flooring, you need to consider the fact that pets always scratch the floors and bring in mud.
The vinyl flooring is scratch-proof. So, you can use it easily without any hassle. You can even sweep pet hairs quickly. However, if the floor catches a smell, you will have some accidental bathroom situations.
On the other hand, the laminate planks are not much scratchproof without non-abrasive cleaning aids or microfiber mops. Pets can easily make deep scratches. That’s why luxury vinyl is pet-friendly.
- Stain Resistance
Both of them have a considerable amount of stain resistance. We call it a tie as they both have similar types of modern wear layers to resist pressure.
The laminate plank flooring has a multi-layer pressure-resistant capability. When the top layer is made of aluminum oxide instead of plastic, it will have more pressure resistance power and be superior to others. But if the upper layer is plastic, it will need an additional underlayment to balance the pressure.
The quality vinyl flooring has another technique to balance and resist pressure. We have already mentioned that the upper layer of luxury vinyl has a coating of transparent urethane layer. This layer can provide massive stain resistance.
- Radiant Heat Resistance
Wood fiber is not suitable as a heat conductor. So, the laminate flooring won’t be effective against radiant heat.
You will notice several gapping issues when the temperature fluctuates. These gaps are created inside fibers by expanding, and it occurs when laminate gets in contact with heat. But if you have customized heat-resistant laminate flooring, you can rest assured.
When it comes to luxury vinyl, they are also not compatible with heat. But most of them have the efficiency of conducting heat. If you want to increase the efficiency, you can use some underlayment.
- Fading Possibility
As you will use this new flooring, you won’t want one that will fade quickly. But eventually, both of them will disappear after a particular time.
The luxury vinyl planks have a greater possibility of fading sooner than laminate. On the other hand, the laminate flooring doesn’t fade so quickly.
- Moisture Resistance
In terms of moisture issues, luxury vinyl is the absolute winner. The reason is waterproof vinyl flooring. It can sustain any moisture damage even if it is submerged. That’s why they are perfect for high moisture areas.
As the laminate plank is not waterproof, you can’t use them in higher moisture areas. However, some specialized laminate flooring can be made that are waterproof and has limited moisture resistance. But you will need a vapor barrier as additional support.
- Do They Make Noise?
Earlier, we discussed that the high-density fiberboard makes the inside of the laminate planks. Another advantage of this structure is that laminate planks can absorb noise and remain quieter than vinyl.
The luxury vinyl has less thickness, so it can easily make noises. You may not consider it as a real deal. But when these small noises wake up the baby from sleep, you will know the importance of the laminate’s sound absorption. Just imagine the possibilities!
The Last Call: What is Better Laminate or Vinyl Plank Flooring?
So, the big question- which one is better in comparison to laminate flooring vesrsus vinyl. We will say that it’s entirely up to you in some conditions!
For example, you want to install new flooring all over the house instead of wet and high moisture places. Then you can pick any of them at random.
But if you consider comfort and appearances in these places, go for laminate flooring without a doubt.
There is no choice in bathrooms if you want new flooring. Your only option is luxury vinyl plank flooring.
If you have pets, then get the vinyl plank.
Thinking about the environment? Then install laminate plank flooring.
Both luxury vinyl and laminate plank are famous substitutes for real hardwood. They are affordable and easy to maintain. When it comes to purchasing them, though, you may find it difficult to choose between them. We hope our instruction guide of luxury vinyl plank vs laminate plank flooring has made enough clear distinctions for you.
Hopefully, you got the idea of where and which one to install as new flooring in your house. Be careful of environmental impacts and health safety issues no matter which one you use. Decorate your home and keep it stylish!