Choosing new flooring for your home is challenging and requires a lot of attention to detail. The decision can be especially tough when there are diverse flooring materials available in the market.
The quality of the material, traffic (high, medium or low) the area of your house would experience, cost, the difficulty of the installation process, maintenance and cleaning are some of the determinants that need to be considered while selecting the perfect material for your home floor.
Hardwood floors are widely popular and make for an exquisite home interior. However, they are expensive and not scratch resistant. Also, caring and maintaining hardwood floors is an overwhelming and expensive task.
So, many consumers prefer to install laminate or vinyl flooring instead of hardwood. Vinyl and laminate floors are fairly economical and are known for their great resilience.
Here, let us compare vinyl vs laminate flooring that will help decide which is ideal for your home.
Vinyl is made of completely synthetic material. Typical sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles usually comprise of fiberglass base layer over which Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and plasticizer layers are applied. Then, this vinyl sheet is printed and embossed using a surface print layer.
Another type of vinyl flooring, which is known as vinyl plank flooring or luxury vinyl flooring is also built with synthetic materials. However, for vinyl planks, the innermost layers contain multiple layers of thicker PVC vinyl, and in some cases limestone composite, such as in SPC, which stands for Stone Plastic Composite. Luxury vinyl is available both in the form of tiles or planks.
On the other hand, laminate flooring features a hard plastic laminate surface with a layer of the printed design. Otherwise, in terms of appearance and installation process, it is similar to the luxury vinyl planks. The core part of laminate floors is made up of rigid fiberboard, which is prepared from byproducts of wood attached together with melamine resins. Laminate planks are found in variable thicknesses ranging from 6 mm to 12 mm.
Modern luxury vinyl and laminate flooring bear a very close resemblance to wood, ceramic, stone or other materials. Both the materials also sport three-dimensional texture, that replicates the look and style of hard-scraped hardwood. Although laminate and vinyl are comparatively cheaper than solid hardwood, porcelain or ceramic tile, both the materials are versatile and durable. Their versatility, with multifarious customized options and designs, making them perfect for any home interior project.
When it comes to choosing the design of vinyl planks, there are numerous options available in the market. Coming in variable textures, like hand-scraped and knotted, vinyl surfaces can really provide a one-of-a-kind look to your home.
Laminate planks are designed by making use of embossing process and high-definition printing to resemble the ridges and patterns as in burnished brick and hand-scraped hardwood. There is also laminate flooring that replicates the look of polished or honed travertine and other stones.
The durability of a material refers to the hardness of its uppermost wear layer. The more durable a floor is, the more it can withstand extensive usage over time. A material’s stability is determined by its ability to retain its size and shape in the presence of moisture and climate changes.
Both laminate and vinyl floors are built with a wear sheet, a backing system, and a photographic image. However, their compositions are different. Hard and closed-cell vinyl is waterproof and is perfect for places that are exposed to high moisture. All the versions of vinyl flooring are suitable for bathrooms and other locations that are very much exposed to water, such as kitchens or laundry rooms.
Laminate, on the other hand, is not considered a fully waterproof material and is thus called water resistant. Being a product made of wood byproducts, laminate may soften and expand when exposed to moisture. Laminates are mainly water resistant and are not recommended to be used in highly humid and wet areas, like basements or in residential bathrooms, where there may be standing water. This type of flooring is best suited in climate-controlled places.
However, in places that experience water exposure, like kitchens, guest baths, powder rooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms, and entrance ways, moisture-resistant laminate floors can be utilized, provided that the occasional spills and splashes have to be wiped off immediately.
It is easy to install both laminate and vinyl floors. Vinyl tiles can be pasted with the help of adhesives. Moreover, most vinyl planks come pre-fitted with locking mechanisms that can be fixed in place just like a jigsaw puzzle.
It is possible to use the floating technique to place laminate tiles on the floor, provided that the sub-floor is in proper condition. Otherwise, it can also be glued down to the sub-floor, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
When considering vinyl vs laminate flooring for your household application, this article details all the factors that you need to consider to help you choose the right materials. Choose the material that suits your requirement the most and creates a convenient yet stylish floor for your home.
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