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:
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.
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.
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.