Many people often get confused between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring, thinking that these are the same thing. Though they appear similar, two types of flooring are actually very different from each other. If you’re planning to revamp your home, it would benefit you to know which one is which, particularly when discussing details with a decorator or supplier. You wouldn’t want to end up with vinyl flooring when what you really had in mind was laminate.
Vinyl flooring is a flexible material made of polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC. It’s available in thin, pliant sheets as well as tiles. It has a soft middle layer composed of vinyl foam, and a clear, smooth outer layer. The outer layer gives the material a glossy, easy-to-clean surface which helps to prevent the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
It’s an inexpensive and practical option – it costs less than half the price of other flooring materials. It’s also extremely easy to cut and install, even you aren’t an expert handyman.
Because it’s very low-maintenance, vinyl flooring is a common choice for many homes, offices, hospitals and schools. It’s also is quite durable, making it ideal for areas with a lot of foot traffic. Because it’s waterproof, it’s great for moisture-prone areas like kitchens or bathrooms.
Often mistaken for vinyl flooring, laminate flooring is a layered, synthetic material designed to look like hardwood floorboards or stone tiles. Unlike vinyl flooring, laminate flooring is hard and inflexible. It has a dense core made of melamine resin (a kind of plastic) and fiber board. This core is fused together with a graphic layer and a clear outer coating, forming a sturdy, moisture-resistant sheet.
Because it’s very easy to install and maintain, laminate flooring has become a popular alternative to hardwood floors. It gives your home the flair of traditional flooring, but with lower costs and less hassle. And unlike authentic wood floors, there’s no need for waxing or finishing. Because it’s moisture-resistant, it’s less prone to staining or warping. However, you have to remember that laminate flooring isn’t as long-lasting as traditional flooring; if it’s exposed to heavy wear, you’ll need to replace it every few years.
Which One Should You Use?
The right choice depends on your preferences. If you love the look of hardwood floors, go for high-quality laminate flooring. Some of the more upscale brands can look just like real wood, giving your home a warm, classy interior. Laminate may also be a better choice for rooms that are open to sunlight, since vinyl fades in time when constantly exposed to the sun.
Vinyl flooring is a good choice for high-traffic areas like hallways and entryways, since it’s more robust than laminate flooring. Since vinyl is flexible, it’s also suitable for sloping or curving floors.
Although laminate flooring is moisture-resistant, it isn’t waterproof like vinyl. Laminate flooring can typically withstand moisture-prone environments like bathrooms or kitchens, but it can get damaged when soaked. For rooms that will be submitted to a lot of wetness, choose high-end vinyl.
Although vinyl flooring is less expensive than laminate flooring, it doesn’t always guarantee less cost. For any type of flooring, the base floor has to be prepped and leveled before installation. Because vinyl is pliable, it the base floor has to meticulously smooth, so treating an excessively bumpy surface may result in more expenses.