Vinyl Plank Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring

One of the most common questions that come up regarding flooring is what is the difference between Vinyl Plank Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring and which one is right for my project. Although Laminate and Vinyl Plank share a lot of characteristics they have some key differences that might impact whether you choose one over the other.

What is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl Plank Flooring or Rigid Core is a synthetic material made up of polymers ( plastic ) and gives vinyl its water and moisture resistance. The top layer is a protective layer, followed by a high resolution image, the rigid core center and foam attached underlay. Vinyl Plank ranges from 4mm up to 10mm thick.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is similar to Vinyl Plank but the core is made of wood products and generally has a thicker layer of plastic on top, the protective layer, a high resolution image to give the design followed by the core. Thickness of laminate ranges from 8mm to 14mm.

Which flooring should I choose for my project?

Below is a look at both laminate and vinyl plank in each category to consider when choosing floors from appearance to durability see how these floors stack up.

Appearance

Both vinyl plank and laminate get their appearance from a high resolution picture which is laminated onto the core and backing. As vinyl plank has become more popular manufactures are making it thicker which allows for deeper embossing for more realistic textures.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference on colour and feel, both floors have fantastic realistic wood, stone, and pattern appearance. Pro Tip: Look for high counts on pattern repeats for more realistic wood looking floors.

Water Resistance

Vinyl Plank is made of waterproof material, if there is a leak or pool of water the flooring can be wiped clean and re-installed.

Laminate floors have become better resistant to water in recent years with some manufactures offering up to 72 hours of waterproof protection. This makes laminate not ideal for areas where water is common, bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms.

Heat Resistance

The core of laminate flooring is wood there for it can swell in high heat and high moisture environments. Vinyl Plank floors can also expand if temperatures rise and fall rapidly. Always temperature control your space with air conditioning and use proper window coverings.

Care and Cleaning

Laminate floors should be cleaned with dry mopping and spot cleaning spills. Wet mopping, steam mops and harsh chemicals are not recommended as they can cause delamination. Always follow manufacture cleaning guides to keep your warranty in good standing.

Vinyl Plank Floors can be cleaned many ways and wet mopping is generally used. Most cleaners are acceptable however it is best to check with the manufactures guide to keep warranties valid.

Durability

Both Laminate Flooring and Vinyl Plank flooring are very durable, however; both can delaminate or chip over time, the key difference is in the exposed layer underneath. With Laminate the core is made of wood products which allows water to enter lower layers eventually causing swelling, peaking and gapping. Vinyl Plank flooring if chipped or delaminating can be repaired and due to its plastic core will not absorb water causing further damage to the floor.

Maintenance

Vinyl Plank Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring in terms of maintenance are tied. Both floorings have reasonably low maintenance compared to other flooring types like Tile, Carpet and Hardwood. Keeping them clear of spills, debris, and dirt particles or sand will have your floors looking brand new for years.

Installation

Vinyl Plank and Laminate Floors both use a click locking system. Due to laminates thicker core a table saw is required for installation. Vinyl Plank can generally be cut with a utility knife using a scoring method. Both flooring command similar rates for installation depending on your area. Both require the subfloor to be level within manufactures tolerance, the thinner the product the more levelling required making Vinyl Plank installation sometimes slightly higher. Pro-Tip: Always keep a contingency fund for levelling costs, 10% of your total project for any unforeseen hiccups.

Costs

Laminate flooring has been around longer than vinyl plank therefor you can find some great deals occasionally. Newer laminates have longer water resistance but are more costly. Vinyl plank flooring is popular for home owners, commanding a slightly higher amount per square foot than laminate.

Lifespan

Both Laminates and Vinyl Plank Flooring offer lifetime residential warranties through reputable manufactures. Always check the warranty on sale items and purchase extra if the floors you are buying are being discontinued (as this is when it usually goes on sale.)

Environmental Impact

During the manufacturing process both laminate and vinyl plank produce significant amounts of off gasses, however; once cured both do not release any harmful off gasses. After its life laminate can be recycled where as the synthetic nature of vinyl makes recycling old product sometimes challenging. More manufactures are turning to recycled plastics to create sustainable vinyl plank flooring in the future.

Stain Resistance

Vinyl Plank Flooring has a protective layer like laminate that protects it from stains and spills. Laminate flooring stains generally only come from pooled water that was not cleaned up in time.

Comfort and Sound

Vinyl Floors can feel cold underfoot especially on lower levels of the home like basements. Most luxury brands are radiant heat approved. Laminate flooring can sometimes sound hollow compared to real wood, but trap in hear better for warmer feel.

Resale Value

Great looking quality Laminate or Vinyl Plank that is professionally installed will increase the value of you home. Choosing a cheaper brand of either will lead to prospective buyers having flooring on their list to replace.

Which is better Vinyl Plank flooring or Laminate Flooring?

When it comes to choosing between vinyl plank flooring vs. laminate flooring it does come down to personal preference and budget, however; bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms vinyl plank flooring is more suited for. As vinyl plank gains more popularity manufactures are coming up with more innovative technology to increase lifespan.

Check out these Vinyl Plank and Laminate Lines we love.

Vinyl PlankLaminate Flooring
FirmFitWood 2 Premium
Ultra MaxPortraits
OmegaFloorpan
VeniceDreamfloor
Curate

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Benefits of Carpet

With so many different types of flooring on the market it can quickly become overwhelming when it comes to choosing the perfect flooring for your space. Check out these seven benefits of carpet and why you should choose carpet for your flooring renovation.

Style

Carpet is unique because of the different style themes it can achieve. Luxurious & Elegant, Causal & Comfortable, Hip & Unique, Bold & Colourful,.. the list goes on. Texture options range from short to longer, frieze, looped or piled, there is also patterned texture for a unique look with no colour variation. Multi-coloured patterned carpet can add pops of accent colours to help tie in your design or visually lead the eye to a preferred statement piece. One of my favorite things about carpet is the ability to custom dye the colour of your carpet for a 100% unique look.

Benefits of carpet

Warmth

Carpet adds an extra layer of insulation to your home. Trapping in more heat when ultimately can save you money on your heating bills. The cozy nature of carpet visually adds warmth to a room naturally.

Comfort

Nothing beats the comfort of soft carpet under foot when first getting out of bed in the morning, or afternoon. As a mother of three little kids carpet was my ( and their ) saving grace during those learning to walk years. To maximize the comfort and life of your carpet choose a quality underpad like SmartCushion by Mohawk which doubles the warranty of any Mohawk carpet and gives you warranty on stairs. Quality underpad is important for those with back or mobility issues as the impact on the body is greatly reduced when walking on quality carpet and underpad.

Benefits of carpet

Safety

Falling down stairs or up them as I do more than the latter, can be painful and dangerous. Carpet is a great option to cushion those stairs to minimize damage done during a fall. Design Tip- Use a matching hard surface flooring as the riser to your stairs and choose a complimenting carpet colour for the tread, combining style and safety.

Health

Studies have found that carpet actually traps more dust and allergens than hard surface flooring making the air quality on carpet better than hard surface products. People who suffer from allergies can benefit from hypoallergenic carpet selections that most manufactures now offer. Pro Tip- Follow manufactures guidelines on how often and what to use while cleaning your carpets.

Cost

One of the best benefits of carpet is the overall cost is lower than hard surface flooring options. Carpet can go over any subfloor and requires minimal levelling and prep work. The long term maintenance costs are lower as generally a re-stretch is all that’s required. Purchasing quality carpet and following cleaning directions will have it lasting for decades.