What’s the Difference Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring?
25 Apr 2014
What’s the difference Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring?
Looking for laminate flooring or vinyl flooring? Many people who are interested in installing flooring in their house are often confused between vinyl and laminate flooring….so they say laminate when they actually mean vinyl, or vinyl when they mean laminate. So let's have a close look at both these flooring options so that you have a better idea which flooring makes more sense for you.
Laminate flooring has a hard surface that looks like wood flooring (like tiles), and is made using recycled wood. It ay look like a picture of hardwood floors, but its upscale versions may look very real. On its top, there is melamine wear layer that protects it from scratches. This flooring is about 3/8 of an inch and can also be placed atop your existing flooring, whether it's tile, concrete or hardwood.
Actually, laminate flooring is a floating flooing that clicks together in place. As it is made from recycled hardwood, it is not resistant to water. It's not good to install laminate flooring at places where there is lots of moisture, or there is considerable fluctuation in humidity levels. Therefore, it's not best for basements or bathrooms.
As laminate flooring is a hard surface, it's important that floor beneath it is relatively smooth and in level, because otherwise laminate flooring will move a lot when you'll walk on it. So if it's too sloped or bumpy, it may even break or crack. As with hardwood flooring , laminate flooring should acclimate in the house before it is actually installed. It should be there for about 48 hours. This is important because it allows for sufficient expansion or contraction as per the conditions of the room.
Vinyl floors are made using synthetic material that looks exactly like hardwood or tile. Mostly, vinyl flooring is glued directly on the floor underneath. You can get vinyl flooring in several forms-there are sheets of vinyl (about 12' in width), and many luxury vinyl flooring looks very real and upscale.
Unlike laminate flooring, vinyl floors are water resistant or waterproof, but they won't survive major floods or strong cleaning. This is so because cheap adhesives won't be able to hold up the standing water, and sometimes vinyl flooring is installed on plywood, so if water is soaked through, the subfloor may warp. Cheaper versions of vinyl flooring may fade with time especially when it's exposed to sunlight for a long time.
While laminate flooring is inflexible and hard, most of the vinyl flooring is flexible and soft, so it can easily tolerate the flooring that has humps on it or is sloped. However, it is important that floor beneath vinyl flooring is smooth.
Which is less expensive - laminate or vinyl flooring?
Well, this depends on the condition of subfloor. However, when you compare vinyl flooring and laminate flooring, usually laminate is less expensive because floor preparation needed for vinyl flooring increases the overall cost. However, if floor is uneven, then laminate flooring may not be practical as flooring contractor may have to first level out the floor using self leveling mix. Therefore, best option for you is to involve a flooring professional to help you in giving an expert opinion depending upon your floor, needs and budget.