Vinyl vs. Laminate

Flooring options are endless, but you have probably heard of both vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. Vinyl is an inexpensive option that has been around for decades, while laminate is a more recent product on the market. Both types of flooring look quite similar at first glance, but the two materials are different in many ways.

Which type of floor you choose depends on your lifestyle and personal preferences. Learn why vinyl flooring may be better for your home by reading this guide on vinyl vs. laminate. Then check out our top picks of the best brands of each type to help you make your final decision about which one to buy!

Vinyl Flooring Pros & Cons

Vinyl is not only cost-effective, but it is also very durable. It’s made of polyvinyl chloride, which is the most common plastic in use today. Vinyl flooring can be installed without adhesive or glue, making it an easy DIY job. You can simply click each piece into place on top of your existing flooring!

 On the other hand, while laminate is just as simple to install, vinyl takes more time to keep looking good and performing well over its lifetime. Vinyl has a shorter lifespan than laminate, so you will need to replace sections of your flooring more often. This material might not be ideal if you want something that stays beautiful for decades with little maintenance required!

Laminate Flooring Pros & Cons

Laminate is made of layers of paper or wood, covered with a plastic top. It is water-resistant, so you can easily wipe spills off when they happen, without any worry about ruining the flooring. This material locks securely in place to cover your existing floors, but it has little adhesion on its own, which is why it uses adhesive or glue during installation.

Laminate’s biggest downside is that the flooring seems quite cheap at first glance because it mimics wood and stone at such an inexpensive price! However, these solid surfaces are actually mostly printed images that wear out over time. You may need to replace whole sections of your laminate flooring long before you would ever consider vinyl tiles.

Vinyl vs. Laminate: Price

Though both products are usually similar in price, laminate might actually be the cheaper option overall. That’s because vinyl has to be replaced more often than laminate flooring, which keeps it less expensive over time!

This is why laminate is a better choice if you want something that lasts for decades without needing much maintenance or repairs, while vinyl flooring may be ideal for homeowners who prefer a quick and easy installation process.

Vinyl vs. Laminate: Appearance

While both types of flooring look quite similar, there are some differences when you take a closer look! Each material has its own unique design elements in pattern and color that make it stand out from the other one.

Laminate patterns are typically printed onto the surface of the material, which changes appearance over time. Vinyl flooring looks like real wood or stone because it is made to mimic these textures exactly! Aside from different types of design styles, vinyl has an additional color option: white. Laminate does not come in this color, but you can always paint laminate floors to achieve the same effect.

Vinyl vs. Laminate: Maintenance

While both materials do not require much upkeep, vinyl floors are the clear winner here! All you need to keep your flooring looking good over time is a simple sweeping or vacuuming, and an occasional damp mopping/drying to remove any spills.

With laminate, on the other hand, light scratches will become visible after long-term use because they will show through the images printed onto the surface of this type of flooring. You can easily deal with these dings by rubbing some oil into them before they get worse; however, deep gouges in your laminate flooring may be irreparable!

Installing either kind of flooring takes little effort on your part, but vinyl usually requires a few more tools. You have to have the right adhesive on hand to get the job done, and of course, you will need a glue spreader to ensure an even surface!

With laminate floors, all you will need is a good mop or broom. Of course, vinyl flooring can be installed without adhesive so it has nearly the same fast installation process as laminates!

How to install vinyl flooring?

There are different types of vinyl flooring available on today’s market from sheet vinyl, raised-panel strips, and even peel & stick tiles! So regardless of whether you want the look and feel of real wood or stone, there is a design that will complement your home! Vinyl Floor Installation Process :  

1.    Preparing the area

The first step when installing vinyl flooring in any space is ensuring there are no cracks, holes, gaps around the walls or any other openings on the surface. You should also remove baseboards because they will not be reinstalled across the vinyl flooring after it is installed.

2.    Vinyl Floor Installation

The second step in installing your vinyl flooring is to make sure you have enough extra material to allow for expansion when there are changes in humidity. This way, when spring comes and the weather gets warm, your planks won’t buckle!

3.    Preparing a Walk-Through

Before applying adhesive, check if the room has a walk-through to ensure that all pieces of vinyl can be placed without any problems. Also, keep in mind that you always want to leave about a quarter-inch around the perimeter of the room so that you can trim any excess material after installing it.

4.    Applying pressure

Once all your flooring pieces have been cut and laid down, apply a bead of adhesive around the perimeter of the room and spread it across with a notched trowel. For a smooth look, roll vinyl floors with a J-roller; for increased adhesion to subfloor use an I-roller! Be careful not to overlap edges as you go along because this will create seams! Allow everything to dry overnight before attempting to walk on it or move any furniture back into place.

5.    Finishing Up

Vinyl is ready for finishing when there are no visible wet spots and wrinkles. Immediately after finishing the flooring, all seams should be taped with seam tape and allowed to dry completely. Once it is ready for use, you can reinstall any baseboards and fill the nail holes.

How to install Laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is a very popular choice these days because of its low price and high resistance to moisture. It may not be the best option for people who live in humid climates, but it can withstand high humidity if installed properly. Installing laminate flooring only takes a few hours because you will only need a hammer and utility knife to complete your project!

1.    Preparing the area

Laminate floors should never be nailed directly into concrete and they require increased support around wall openings (and beneath doors). Use shims to ensure proper spacing from one plank to another so that gaps do not appear between every piece of plank. Also, make sure there are good ventilation conditions when installing laminate flooring and that the floor is dry and clean before starting.

2.    Laminate Floor Installation

The first step in installing your laminate flooring is to begin aligning the first row of planks on the right side. Make sure they are locked into place and then use a rubber mallet or hammer to tap them together. Repeat this process for the rest of the room, making sure you create an even amount of gaps between every plank so that water does not get trapped. When cutting down planks always measure twice and cut once!

3.    Finishing Up

 After finishing up give your new laminate floor a nice once-over with a damp m or sponge! This will keep it from becoming damaged from dirt and debris. If you would like, you can even apply a coat of polyurethane to make it waterproof and resistant to stains! To ensure your floor is dry before doing this, however, simply leave the windows open for 12 hours or more.

FAQs

1. How do I keep my floor from staining?

Laminate floors can easily become stained! To prevent this, simply clean it with a damp mop and any type of soap you prefer. The best way to ensure your laminate floor is protected and nourished is by applying a coat of polyurethane every few months. This will protect against spills and other types of stains while also adding a nice shiny finish!

2. What are “floating” floors?    

Floating floors are made up of planks that have nothing underneath except for their top layer. They are not attached to one another and can easily be moved around to create any look you desire! If your planks become damaged, they can simply be taken out and replaced with a new sheet.

3. What is floating vinyl flooring?    

Floating vinyl flooring is made up of sections “floating” on top of one another. It cannot be walked on until it is laid down completely, but can easily be cut to fit around doors and inside closets.

4. Should I use vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathroom?

No, you should never place vinyl floors in a kitchen or bathroom! Vinyl is not water-resistant and will warp over time if it is constantly exposed to moisture. Laminate flooring is much better for this type of application because it can withstand high humidity and still look new after years of wear!

5. Should I lay my laminate flooring over plywood or concrete?  

No! You should never place your laminate flooring over plywood or concrete as it will warp. Make sure you install it over a subflooring made of hardwood or engineered wood so that it is installed correctly!

6. What if my floor gets dirty?  

To clean your vinyl planks, simply take out any loose dirt and debris you can with the help of a vacuum cleaner. Next, just use any type of soap or cleaner to wipe them down until they are completely clean! For more stubborn stains, you can even try using vinegar, warm water, and baking soda for an all-natural cleaning solution!

Vinyl vs. Laminate: Benefits & Drawbacks

In the end, both materials are quality choices for homeowners who want low-maintenance flooring that looks good in any room of their home! However, if you prefer high-end surfaces with super chic design elements to stand out from other pieces of flooring, vinyl is the way to go. On the other hand, if you need a material that lasts decades without showing its age or needing much maintenance, laminate flooring would be your best choice!

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