Laminate Vs Vinyl Flooring — Which Should You Choose?

August 28th, 2021

When you’re planning to redo a room, you may well find yourself wondering about laminate vs vinyl flooring. They’re both attractive options, but they’re made from different materials and have different pros and cons, so you’ll have to consider your needs and preferences.

The most important distinction between the two is that laminate is sensitive to moisture because it is made partly from wood products. Sitting water can cause severe and unfixable damage to laminate, and even for cleaning you should use dry methods or at most a damp cloth or mop. Obviously this makes laminate a poor choice for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and other areas (such as mudrooms and basements) where exposure to moisture is likely. Vinyl, on the other hand, is made from synthetic materials and is completely waterproof; in fact it’s considered one of the most durable flooring options available. It’s also easy to clean and can stand up to both wet mopping and a good old-fashioned scrubbing session.

So given the moisture sensitivity, cleaning limitations, and lower durability of laminate as compared to vinyl, why might you consider laminate flooring anyway? There are several areas where laminate wins out over vinyl, though generally speaking the difference isn’t large. Both types are designed to imitate the appearance of more traditional flooring materials including hardwood, stone, and ceramic, but laminate has the edge in this category. Walking on laminate is also more similar to the feel and sound of walking on hardwood, and usually feels warmer as well. Finally, although neither type is particularly environmentally friendly, laminate uses natural wood products as well as synthetic materials while vinyl is completely synthetic. Some companies also offer laminate made partly with recycled content.

When it comes to price, installation, and stain resistance, the competition is more equal. Both vinyl and laminate cost roughly the same amount and both can be installed as a DIY project (though you may still want to leave this job to the professionals). Both also have excellent stain resistance.

So which should you choose? Vinyl is definitely the more durable and less sensitive of the two, but if you want the look and feel of hardwood without paying hefty prices for the real thing, laminate will get you closer than vinyl will. Either way, you’ll be making an excellent choice.

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