One of the most common debates in the flooring industry is, which is better: luxury vinyl vs. laminate? Both types of flooring offer distinct cost and maintenance advantages over expensive natural materials such hardwood and tile. Both laminate and vinyl also offer durability, health and aesthetic advantages over traditional carpet flooring.
They both share the benefit of being extremely versatile in color through 3-D printing that allows them to resemble hardwood or stone. Both flooring materials are also easily replaced when compared to natural material or carpet, since only plank or tile will need to be removed.
Despite their similarities, there are very distinct differences between the two types of flooring products, which you should consider when you are shopping for the perfect flooring for your home.
Laminate flooring is constructed in layers and stuck together through a lamination process. The main layer is made out of a high-density fiberboard, which makes the material much more rigid than luxury vinyl.
Laminate flooring is installed using click and lock assembly, also known as a “floating floor” system, meaning it does not need to be nailed or glued down to the subfloor. This makes for an easy installation process for DIYers, but also means that the flooring material should NEVER get wet. Moisture and humidity can severely damage laminate floors due to the sponge-like fiberboard layer and aerated gap underneath. Installation of laminate flooring in bathroom, kitchen or other high moisture areas is not recommended for this reason.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Don’t confuse luxury vinyl with traditional vinyl flooring. Luxury vinyl flooring is constructed using polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which gives the material a firm but elastic constitution. The material is considered “resilient” due to its ability to compress and expand with contact instead of cracking.
The biggest improvement over traditional vinyl flooring is that the flooring is moisture-resistant. Luxury vinyl flooring can handle full liquid submersion without warping or discoloration, which is an extremely rare characteristic when compared to other home flooring materials.
Luxury vinyl flooring is also protected by durable “wear layer” of urethane for maximum protection and orthopedic comfort. The thicker the wear layer is, the more durable the flooring to high foot traffic.
Which Flooring Material is Recommended?
The only advantage laminate flooring has over luxury vinyl comes down to cost. Laminate flooring has a slightly lower upfront cost, but most laminate floors need to be replaced within 10 years. When compared to the average 20 year lifespan of luxury vinyl flooring, the latter is the most cost-effective solution.
In recent studies, many laminate floors have been found to produce formaldehyde emissions, which is a hazardous carcinogen. Breathing in formaldehyde on a daily basis can be potentially very dangerous and should be a concern for families with small children. In contrast, vinyl flooring has very little impact on indoor air quality within the home. Also, keep in mind that luxury vinyl flooring is a relatively recent industry innovation, while laminate flooring has been around for decades. The biggest difference between the two products is their reaction to moisture. Laminate flooring is extremely susceptible to humidity and water damage, while LVT is 100% waterproof.
Due to the differences in durability, product warranties also vary depending on flooring type. Laminate flooring typically comes with a 5 to 10 year warranty, whereas luxury vinyl flooring is usually warrantied for 15 years or more.
Overall, luxury vinyl is the clear winner. While both flooring materials may be similar in cost, appearance and maintenance, luxury vinyl flooring is less hazardous, waterproof and has double the lifespan and warranty of most laminate floors.
Selling Your Home? Don’t forget that Flooring Matters!
Flooring is one of those things sellers overlook when bogged down with the intricacies of a home sale. But let’s just be clear from the get go — flooring matters. Buyers will walk away from homes with bad flooring the same way they’ll walk away from homes that smell bad, or have little to no curb appeal.
And while there are kinds of flooring that increase home value more than others (like hardwood versus carpeting), the real challenge in selling an imperfect home is knowing which remodeling projects will increase value, and which will decrease value.
Consider Flooring Alternatives
Synthetic home applications are getting better all the time, and flooring is no exception. According to a 2017 Annual Report from Floor Daily, last year roughly every category of flooring ceded its percentages of buyers to luxury vinyl— which means more people are buying vinyl over wood or carpet every single year.
“Some of the laminate floors that mimic hardwoods are really pretty, and those pop out to buyers,” says Cave. Faux-wood vinyl flooring is cost-effective, easy to install, offers a huge variety to choose from, and has even more perks besides. Not all vinyl is soft, and some offer extreme scratch-resistant and pet proofing qualities that will go a long way with buyers.
The Bottom Line: Flooring and Home Value
While it’s hard to say exactly what flooring (other than hardwood) will add the most value to a home, it’s clear that buyers prefer hard surfaces over carpeting. So, if you’re in the market for a budget-friendly carpet replacement, vinyl is a great choice.
Top Tips on Flooring:
1. Keep it consistent – no matter what it is.
2. Hard surfaces are better than carpeting.
3. If carpet must stay, keep it in the bedrooms.
4. Don’t let different floor types meet in high-traffic areas.
Hardwood Flooring Installation
The luxury of Vintage Elements Hardwood from Mohawk never goes out of style! Durable, beautiful, practical and affordable. And when it comes to ensuring your installation is of the highest quality, you can count on Florz Flooring’s Installation Technicians to do an awesome job! We DO NOT sub out crews! All our installers are associates of Florz Flooring. They are experienced, clean, polite, respectful of your property and of your time.
Florz Flooring also offers a wide selection of Hardwood, Vinyl, Carpet and Tile Flooring. Come visit our showroom and speak with one of our consultants. You will be glad you did. We are THE Preferred Mohawk Dealer in this area and that is a distinction we are extremely proud of. Our certified Mohawk Color Center ensures you select the best product, which will fit your needs, taste and budget. Mohawk’s SmartStrand technology is “Forever Clean” and our Customers rave about their carpets. Vinyl planking and floating floors are a durable solution and ideal in high traffic areas. Our Hardwood Flooring is beautiful and timeless. Out Technicians will ensure the installation is beautiful as well. And our Ceramic, Natural Stone, Manufactured Stone and Porcelain Tiling is a classic look and feel and lasts a very long time.
Whichever your need or wish, Florz Flooring will ensure you are thrilled with your choices and installation!