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Differences in Vinyl and Laminate Flooring

If you want to remodel a room in your home there is nothing more eye popping than replacing the flooring. The only issue you might run into is price. Replacing the flooring can be extremely expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you choose the right flooring. Vinyl and laminate can look stunning and at an affordable price. 

What is the difference between Vinyl and Laminate?

The main difference between these two floorings is their material components. Vinyl is several layers of synthetic materials. Laminate flooring is several layers of wood fiberboard laminated together.

Vinyl Flooring

The base layer of vinyl flooring is typically fiberglass coated in PVS and a plasticizer. The sheet is then printed and embossed with a surface print layer. Next, multiple wear layers are applied and then topped off with no wax polyurethane. However, vinyl plank flooring does not have the underlayment. Instead, it is thicker and multi layered with PVC. Luxury vinyl can come in either tiles or planks (LVP) that interlock to form a floating floor. 

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring comes only in planks. The core of laminate is made of resins and wood byproducts. The top layer is hard plastic with a printed overlay. Laminate flooring is very similar to luxury vinyl planks in that they are interlocking planks to be laid. You can purchase laminate flooring with built in underlayment if you want to skip the step of purchasing a separate underlayment.

Appearance and Texture

Though very similar in appearance, laminate is more visually appealing. Laminate can look more like real stone, tile, and wood flooring than vinyl. This is due to the fact that the dense top layer can provide a three dimensional surface. Vinyl does not look, nor feel like real wood, tile, or stone. It feels cold and hard as it is just a thin layer over subfloor or concrete. However, when walking on vinyl it is very quiet. Laminate has a more warm feeling, but when walking on it can sound loud and hollow.

Water Resistance

Vinyl is typically used in damp areas of your house because it is a synthetic material. It is not made from wood that would soak up water and become ruined. Laminate contains wood bonded with resin so damp areas of the house are not ideal. Pressed wood can become damaged easily if it becomes wet. Even extremely wet areas where water puddles can cause vinyl to begin to curl up from the floor.

You may think vinyl will look cheap because of the price tag, but it is made much better now and more realistic. If you lay down a high quality underlay, then your vinyl you will have depth and the etching will make it look like laminate. 

Maintenance and Lifespan

Though laminate does sound more appealing at this point, vinyl actually is more durable and has a longer lifespan of approximately 20 years. Laminate is good for about 10-25 years if taken care of. Laminate relatively low maintenance, but it’s may layers can eventually delaminate due to overexposure to water. Once chipped it cannot be repaired. Vinyl flooring is the most durable and even used for commercial purposes; however it can eventually begin to curl at the edges. Vinyl is easy to clean and can be wet mopped, whereas laminate flooring it is best to use dry methods. If a mop needs to be used it should be lightly damp. 

Need more woodworking ideas, tips, and news? Visit more of Byrd Tool’s blogs.

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