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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Cleaning and Maintenance

cleaning vinyl plank

Cleaning and Maintenance

Hard Surface flooring Cleaning and maintenance for (Laminate, Vinyl Plank, Tile, Hardwoods) are relatively the same steps when doing general clean up. First dry sweep or microfiber the floor for any dust and loose debris. You can also use a vacuum for this if you have multi-functions like the Shark does. Spot clean with a warm rag and light soapy water, ring almost dry and scrub any stuck on dirty or grim.

Vileda or Swiffer style wet/dry machine washable microfiber mop with a built-in sprayer is my go-to cleaning tool. Use a light cleaner that is pet and child safe mixed with water to the cleaners diluting specifications. Lightly spray the floor and scrub all areas. Do not oversaturate the floors with water ever, be sparing, your floor may be water resistant, but your walls and baseboards are not. Cleaning and maintaining your floors often keeps them clear of debris and looking brand new longer. It is also important to maintain manufacture warranty guidelines on cleaning and maintenance of your particular floor type as to not void your warranty unintentionally.

Now that you know all you need to know about Vinyl Plank flooring visit our products page to start choosing your perfect flooring.

Extras to consider

Door mats – Keep door mats at every entrance to prevent dirt, sand and debris from settling into your flooring. Other substances such as organic material and oils can also be tracked inside, leave shoes at the door whenever possible.

Do not Drag Furniture – Heavy items such as furniture should never be dragged across any flooring surface. When moving heavy items use a dolly with wide air tires and protect the floor with plywood if necessary. Never slide or roll heavy objects across the floor. Some items are just too heavy to be moved on hard surface floors. 

Curtains & Blinds – Adequate window protection is important to prevent colour fading and high heat exposure which can lead to problems in some floors. Keeping your home at a consistent temperature is important for not just flooring but all electronics in your household. Considering purchasing a smart temperature monitor that will not allow your home to get too hot or too cold when you are away.

Furniture Feet – Use non-staining wide felt protectors on the bottom of all furniture to prevent scratches. You can even replace pointed or narrow furniture feet with wider ones if necessary. You can purchase these at any dollar store, home improvement or online.

Spill Response – Quick response on spills is your best defense. Thoroughly soak up all liquid. Start at the outer edge and work your way in to prevent any further spreading. Once dry, clean the area. 

architecture, blueprint, floor plan-1857175.jpg

Being prepared for your Flooring or Renovation Appointment

Being prepared for your flooring appointment can make your renovation process the best possible experience. You have been Pinteresting your heart out for the past two or three months and now your finally ready to jump in and start visiting your local flooring store, cabinet shop or hardware store. Being prepared for your flooring appointment will ensure your jobs success. Here are some basic tips to make the experience the best possible and to make sure you can properly convey your vision to your chosen contractors. 

Know your areas that need work

Clearly define what areas need to get done vs the ones you maybe just want to get done. If you are over budget which room might be left out this time? Have those tough conversations with yourself now so you are prepared for any hiccups if they do arise. Always have a back up plan just encase.

Know Your Budget

Knowing what your comfortable with spending on a project is something only you can answer. Knowing your budget or at least a rough idea can save yourself and others lots of time. Each trade can only give you pricing based on what it is you would like done. In most hired trades there will be areas to cut costs but that usually means doing the work yourself. Removing old flooring or taking care of garbage and recycling are two ways to reduce bill costs and perhaps get you that laundry room done as well! We always suggest having a small portion of your overall budget held for emergencies or hiccups. Whether it’s unexpected levelling or a surprise leak under the toilet, don’t get caught with a maxed budget and a necessary fix to continue your project. 

Tip – When renovating small spaces choose to do them in the off seasons when most trades are slower, you get the same quality of work but for 5-25% less in some cases. Always watch for specials and promos!

Bring All The Stuff

Have floor plans from your recent home purchase? Bring them! Use a cool app to design your dream living space? Definitely bring it! Paint Samples, Fabric Samples, Tile and Backsplash samples, counter tops and cabinets, if you have already fallen in love with it and it will be used in the space your new flooring will be bring a sample or photo. 

Shop Around

Go to a few different flooring stores, shop prices and speak with their representative. Keep in mind you will be dealing with this person throughout your entire renovation process, its probably best to at least like them. If in person isn’t an option try browsing through our online gallery.

Don’t jump on the cheapest deal, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Things to watch out for; Square Footage Amounts, Product Quality, Product thickness, Does it include Installation, are there any hidden fees. Ask these questions now and read through all estimates very carefully. If you are unsure if a service is provided ask before. 

Shop Local

When given the opportunity give your support to your local small business flooring store. It wont take long to find the hidden gem in your community. Start by asking your local Facebook community groups, search flooring in Google to get a list of local nearby stores and read through their reviews. Once you have a short list, make a quick phone call to get any quick answers you need before booking appointments. This will ensure your time is not wasted if the store can’t accommodate your requests.

What is Rigid Core Vinyl?

Rigid Core, SPC, WPC, Luxury Vinyl Plank. What do all these names really mean?

Rigid core refers to the rigid inner core of luxury vinyl plank which gives it strength and durability. There are three types of rigid core vinyl plank, SPC, WPC and Hybrid Mix. Stone Plastic (Polymer) Composite- SPC, is made of a mix of 60% calcium carbonate or Limestone, polyvinylchloride and plasticizers. Wood Plastic Composite – WPC, is made of a mix of polyvinylchloride, calcium carbonate, plasticizers, foaming agent and wood like or wood material such as wood flour. Hybrid mix is any combination of the above materials to make the core of the vinyl plank stronger and less plyable as traditional vinyls were. 

Which one is right for you?

Design​

Manufactures have the ability to design SPC and WPC in any shade, texture and pattern. From wood planks in various lengths and widths to Tile, Stone, and Marble designs. 

Strength

SPC’s limestone core gives it a higher density compared to a WPC, although usually thinner. SPC also offers better protection from scratches or indents from heavy items. It is also less susceptible to extreme temperature changes. 

Application 

Originally created for the commercial market, rigid core vinyl quickly became a home owner favorite because of its click lock system. Traditional vinyl plank from before had to be glued down which usually pushed DIY customers away and into Laminate. Another plus with rigid core vinyl plank is they do not require as extensive sub-floor preparation prior to installation as a glue down vinyl would require. 

WPC is generally more comfortable under foot and is less dense than an SPC due to the foaming agent. WPC is a great option for areas where patrons or employees are standing for long periods of time. Along with the comfort WPC’s foaming agent also absorbs more sound for a quieted environment. 

Cost

Both WPC and SPC come in at similar price points. Both can be purchased with attached pad making DIY installations less expensive and quicker to install. 

Which product comes out on top? SPC or WPC? It really depends on your intended application and what you want out of your flooring. If you are still unsure don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss your needs. 604-474-1722

Vinyl Plank

Vinyl Plank Information

Technical Information

There is so much out there when it comes to Vinyl Plank Information it can get overwhelming quickly. Here is a brief breakdown of most vinyl plank flooring composition. Vinyl flooring is made to resemble wood, stone, printed and porcelain flooring. It is made up of several layers of polymer materials which make it 100% waterproof. It has quickly become one of the most popular flooring types in the last few years.

Each layer of the vinyl flooring has a specific purpose. Starting with the top wear layer (A on diagram Below), this protective barrier gives the flooring its scratch resistance keeping the pattern layer protected and looking newer longer. Average thickness of the wear layer is 12mil – 20mil for commercial applications. Next is the print layer(B) which is the colour, texture and pattern of the vinyl you see. Next is a core layer(C) made up of either SPC or WPC materials which give it strength and durability. Lastly a backing or attached pad layer(D) for fast application and added resilience. Underlays also act as a cold and moisture barrier.

Vinyl Plank

There are different versions of vinyl flooring SPC and WPC. SPC Vinyl have a hard core made from stone and polymer blend while WPC is wood polymer blend. SPC is stiffer and sturdier and less resilient underfoot. WPC is more flexible and cushions the foot. SPC should be used in heavy traffic areas whereas WPC is perfect for residential applications.

Benefits of Vinyl Plank

Versatility- Perfect for any room in the house due to its waterproof ability. Other floor coverings may be damaged due to exposure to water for long periods of time. 

Design – Comes in different colours and patterns including wood, stone, marble and cement designs. Can be used in entire home creating a unique seamless flooring design throughout. Can also combine colours to create your own unique look.

Durability – One of the strongest floor covering options on the market, it will not fade, burn, or be damaged by water. It is also more slip resistant than its other hard surface flooring counterparts.

Easy Maintenance – Regular cleaning keep this flooring looking newer longer. Most floor cleaners are methods are safe to use, but make sure to check with the manufactures cleaning directions and suggestions to maintain your warranty. 

Easy to install – For even the most novice do it yourself-er this flooring has easy click locking system that is ideal for those looking to save on costs and install themselves. 

Affordability – At a fraction of the cost vinyl flooring can mimic hardwood, stone, or marble flooring types. Also, the easy click installation available can save time and money during installation 

It is no wonder vinyl flooring has quickly become one of the most popular floor covering options. Its perfect for residential and commercial spaces, no matter your style or budget there is a vinyl flooring out there for you.

For more information on Vinyl Plank Flooring and its specifications visit the BC Floor Covering Association website here.

Like this article? Find more flooring information on our Floor Facts Blog.