Laminate Flooring vs. Vinyl Planks

Based on appearance, it can be difficult to distinguish between laminate and vinyl planks – both are man-made, affordable alternatives to hardwood and come in a wide range of shades and styles. To breakdown each material:
 


Laminate flooring is a versatile product made to mimic the look of hardwood. It is highly scratch resistant and works well in areas of high footfall. It is a popular choice among homeowners as it is budget-friendly with an easy installation process and simple maintenance.

 

Vinyl planks are increasing in popularity as they evolve to resemble solid hardwood floors. They are easy to install with a simple DIY process and require minimal maintenance. The aesthetic appearance of vinyl planks can transform any room without the hefty price-tag associated with real wood floors.

 

With many similarities, there are also some qualities that differentiate laminate from vinyl planks and vice versa. Here are some of the main differences to help you make the best decision on which to choose to suit your space:

 

Durability

Both materials have a long floor-life when properly installed and maintained, with vinyl lasting a minimum of 20 years and laminate up to 25. The main difference lies in their water resistance. Where laminate planks can expand over time in wet areas, vinyl is much more waterproof and is, therefore, the recommended flooring option for liquid-prone areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

 

Comfort

Because laminate is a thicker material and made from a wood by-product, it is comfortable to walk on and the foam underlay makes it warm to touch. Vinyl, on the other hand, does not have the wood feel that laminate has and can be hard and cold underfoot, especially if installed on top of a subfloor or concrete. However, Vinyl has the advantage of being quieter underfoot, absorbing more noise compared to laminate.

 

Resale value

Although true wood flooring is the main material to boost resale value, laminate is gradually gaining approval from homeowners. This is mainly due to characteristics that are now available such as embossing, upgraded interlocking joinery and a closer appearance to real wood. While neither laminate nor vinyl will add much to the resale value, laminate is slightly ahead in personal preferences, if installed in the right areas.

 

Depending on your requirements and lifestyle, laminate and vinyl are both excellent choices of flooring for your home. For further advice, contact our knowledgeable staff at Floormania or pop into one of our stores.  

How Durable is your Hardwood?

When searching for a solid timber floor, one of the most important qualities homeowners look for is the hardness and endurance of the planks. A worthy investment, it is crucial that your hardwood can withstand years of wear. But, did you know there are other factors as well as hardness that can affect the overall durability of wood flooring? Let’s look at them in more detail:
 

Laying wood flooring. Newly laid flooring stretches in a diagonal line across left half of frame . Subfloor on right with a pair of work gloves, a rubber hammer and a black plastic tapping block spread before a green kneeing mat. A stack of wood to be laid in front and small scattering of individual pieces around it on subfloor which fills right of frame.

 

Hardness

The hardness of a specific species of timber is rated on the Janka Hardness Scale. This test gives wood a unique hardness ranking by measuring dent resistance. A higher rating indicates a higher durability; for example in Floormania’s collection, Grey Box has a high rating, Tasmanian Oak is low and Brushbox is in the middle.

Woods with a higher Janka rating are recommended for areas of high footfall such as the living area. Other rooms with less footfall such as the bedroom can be less selective and choose from a bigger range of wood floors.

 

Colour

Though the shade of wood flooring is often chosen for personal preference and to complement the interior of the room, colour can also assist with hiding any scratches. Where imperfections are likely to occur from typical daily usage, light-coloured floors are generally better at blending scratches in compared to darker woods. Choosing planks in more than one shade is another tip for helping to hide minor blemishes.

 

Finish

Choosing the right finish is possibly the most important element to protecting your floor and determining durability. A popular finish is Polyurethane with has a very resilient top layer and scratch-resistant characteristics. A water-based Polyurethane is especially good for commercial areas, as it hard-wearing, flame retardant and more water-resistant compared to oil-based finishes.

An oil finish seeps into the pores of the timber, hardening to protect the floor whilst still upholding the raw grains within the wood. Some natural oil finishes have been adapted so they are much more wear-resistant than their predecessors.

 

Sheen

Instead of opting for a high gloss, consider a modern matte finish which requires minimal maintenance and looks newer for longer. Containing a low percentage of gloss (around 10-25%), matte is better at disguising any small dents or scratches compared to a high gloss as less light is reflected from the surface. It is becoming a popular option and is ideal in high traffic areas.

 
Remember to consider these factors when choosing your next hardwood and you are well on your way to finding a durable floor with years of life to give.