Laminate vs Vinyl Plank Flooring: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

Are you looking to change up the flooring in your home? If so, you may have your eye on hardwood. Wood floors add an appeal that quality carpets just don’t have. This type of flooring can be extremely expensive, though.

Luckily, there are cheaper wood-look-alike flooring options out there. Both laminate and vinyl flooring fit into this category.


What’s the difference between the two? Is there one that’s better than the other?

Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more. In this guide, we examine laminate vs. vinyl to help you find the right option for you.

Overview of Laminate Flooring

Out of the two options here, laminate flooring is the closest thing to actual hardwood flooring. This is because it’s 99% made of wood byproducts. These byproducts are brought together to look like the fancier, more expensive hardwood.

Where does the name come from? It refers to the makeup of the flooring itself.

Laminate flooring is made of multiple layers of fiberboards. These are laminated together, hence the name.

Installation

Laminate flooring is easy to install. No need to get a bunch of glue or nails. Instead, floor pieces snap together to create a seamless, beautiful floor.


This simple mode of installation means it’s easy to install by either a professional or a home DIY-er.

Overview of Vinyl Flooring

Unlike laminate flooring, vinyl flooring isn’t made of wood at all. Instead, it’s completely made of synthetic materials.

What materials go into making vinyl flooring? These include PVC, fiberglass, and urethane. Vinyl flooring made of several layers of material.

There are a few types of vinyl flooring. Here’s a quick overview of each of these types:

Sheet Flooring

Vinyl sheet flooring is just what it sounds like-sheets of vinyl flooring. THere come in large sheets, up to 12 feet wide. This type of vinyl flooring is better at resisting water than the other types but isn’t as versatile.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Vinyl tiles are the most versatile option you’ll find in vinyl flooring. These tiles can be made to look like various materials, but they’re still made of vinyl, which is cheaper.

If you want a granite, concrete, or wood flooring but don’t want to fork out the money required, vinyl tiles are a great option.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)

These are similar to vinyl tiles but are shaped to look like planks. This helps them mimic hardwood floors even better.

Installation

Installing vinyl flooring is simple, no matter which type you choose to use. They can snap together, float, or be glued down. LVT is also available in peel-and-stick.

Made to Look Like Wood

Both of these materials are made to look like real wood. How is it done? Through the use of a photographic or print layer.

This special layer in the flooring is what you see from up above. It’s designed to look like the material you want, which, in this case, is wood. They can also look like other materials, such as stone.

This special layer allows your flooring to look like any type of wood you want, so you have a much cheaper way of getting different types of wood.

Which Option is Best?

Both laminate and vinyl flooring work well in many situations. There are, however, situations where one flooring type may be better than the other. Let’s look at a few of these situations.

When You Need Waterproofing

Vinyl flooring is better in situations where the floor may get wet. This includes bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.

When Cost Matters

While both of these options are cheaper than hardwood flooring, there is a clear winner when it comes to the least inexpensive. Laminate is your most economical option.

When You Have Pets

Both options work alright with pets, though you’ll probably feel less stressed if you go with vinyl. It’s 100% moisture proof, while pet urine can damage laminate flooring. Vinyl can take on smells, though, so it’s best to clean up messes quickly.

When it comes to claws and nails, both materials can be resistant to scratching, though vinyl will always be scratch-resistant while laminate may not be in certain situations.

So, overall, the best option for pet owners? Vinyl.

When You Want it to Last

Both laminate and vinyl flooring can last you a good long time, as long as you care for it properly. And when the inevitable time comes when you do need to make some repairs, both types are equally convenient to repair.

What about Looks?

When you’re looking for something that truly looks like hardwood flooring, both laminate and vinyl can rise to the occasion. High-quality flooring of either type can look remarkably like the real thing.

Take some time to look at samples when making your decision. You’ll easily see which designs look more synthetic and which ones are convincing.

If you really want to make sure your floor looks like wood, you may want to choose laminate, since it is made of wood instead of synthetic materials.

Laminate vs. Vinyl: It’s a Tie!

No matter how you look at laminate vs. vinyl, the two are virtually equal when it comes to which one is best. Both are great options in different situations. You’ll need to determine which one fits your needs.

Consider where the flooring will be located, how dedicated you are to caring for it, and how you want it to look. The likelihood of the floor getting wet or being exposed to pets is important to consider too.

Once you’ve made your decision, getting the right flooring is easy. Check out all our laminate and vinyl flooring options to get started.