Many homeowners confuse vinyl and laminate flooring due to some similarities in appearance. Even if you aren't confused about the difference between the two, you might be unsure whether laminate or vinyl is the right choice for your space. Understanding how these two products stack up against one another is crucial to determining which is best for you.
What Are the Big Differences Between Vinyl and Laminate?
Vinyl and laminate flooring are both designed to provide for cost-effective, easy installation in a wide variety of environments. Vinyl first became popular in the 1940s. It boasts total water resistance and has long been considered a bargain choice for homeowners who want to remodel or update their spaces. While it's declined in popularity since laminate flooring was introduced a few decades ago, vinyl is still widely used.
Laminate flooring, which was introduced to the consumer market in 1989, is constructed from a base layer of plywood and a top layer of wood, printed paper or printed cardboard finished in a special melamine plastic. Laminate flooring planks are generally made to look like real hardwood. They can't be glued directly to a floor, so installers use a layer of foam or padding between the subfloor and the laminate.
When it comes to choosing between laminate and vinyl flooring, you'll need to weigh a number of factors. In addition to thinking about available flooring designs, you should also take the following into account:
- Use area. Because vinyl flooring is waterproof, it's ideal for use in damp basements and bathrooms. Laminate isn't 100-percent waterproof, so avoid using it in these areas. You can use laminate in the kitchen so long as you don't let spills stand on the floor.
- Appearance. If you want flooring that looks like real hardwood, laminate beats out vinyl. If you're looking for tiled designs, though, you might prefer to opt for vinyl.
- Installation. Both laminate and vinyl boast relatively simple installation, but you'll still need the right tools to do the job. With laminate, you may need to snap pieces together and cut each plank to fit your floor. With vinyl, you'll need to use a heavy-duty adhesive and special cutting tools. Having your flooring installed by a professional will eliminate these worries.
- Cost. Laminate and vinyl tend to be comparable in cost. Think of your flooring as a long-term investment and spend accordingly.
- Moisture resistance. If you need flooring that is resistant to moisture, opt for vinyl. Remember that laminate contains a base layer of wood and is susceptible to warping and rotting when exposed to too much moisture.
- Durability. Both laminate and vinyl boast excellent durability, but laminate tends to be more durable and offers better resale value.
Choosing between laminate and vinyl flooring can be tough. If you don't know which is best for your home, stop by a showroom with friendly, knowledgeable sales staff to help you pick the right flooring for your needs.
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