Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: What’s the Difference?

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
31 min read

When you want a durable, economical, attractive floor covering for your home that you can install by yourself, two floors usually rise to the top: vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. They are equally easy to install. They’re around the same price. Both of them have a good look about them. From a distance, they appear to be the same color.


What Is Vinyl Flooring?

In the search for a long-lasting, low-cost, and visually appealing floor covering for your home, vinyl flooring and laminate flooring are the two most popular options. Both are simple to install. They’re all roughly the same price. On the other hand, they’re both rather gorgeous as well. They appear to be similar from a distance and at first glance.

Laminate Vs Vinyl Flooring | Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring | Top 10 Differences Between Laminate And Vinyl Flooring

What Is Laminate Flooring?

This type of flooring is made from a synthetic substance rather than wood, cork or other natural materials. Wear, décor, core, and backer are all separate layers that are laminated together to form the final product. It’s built to last, but at a reasonable price. Decorated layers (printed images) allow this product to resemble premium flooring options such as wood or tile.

Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: Major Differences

Each style of flooring’s ability to withstand moisture depends on the components it is made of. Vinyl flooring is completely synthetic, which means it may be used in any room of the house. Laminate flooring can only be laid in certain regions due to its limited water resistance.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is made entirely of synthetic materials, and is therefore completely safe. Fiberglass is commonly used as a foundation layer in regular sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles, which are subsequently coated in PVC vinyl and a plasticizer.

The final product is a printed and embossed sheet. This is followed by a layer of no-wax polyurethane and several further wear layers.

Underlayment isn’t included in all plank vinyl flooring, but it’s becoming more common.

A thicker, multi-layer PVC vinyl is used as the core layer in vinyl plank flooring Interlocking luxury vinyl planks and tiles can be used to create a floating floor. Sheet vinyl has a thickness of 1.5 mm, while luxury vinyl planks have a 5 mm thickness.

Laminate Flooring

In appearance and installation, laminate flooring resembles luxury vinyl planks. Wood byproducts bonded with resins make up the core of the product. The printed pattern layer is shielded from exposure by a strong, transparent plastic wear layer on the top. Laminate flooring planks are available in thicknesses ranging from 6 mm to 12 mm.

Built-in underlayment is an option for plank vinyl as well. However, do-it-yourselfers are increasingly opting for this option in laminate flooring in order to skip the step of laying down separate underlayment.


Laminate Flooring

Three-dimensional embossing is possible with laminate flooring because of its ability to mimic the appearance of wood, ceramic, or stone.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring, especially luxury vinyl plank flooring, can appear to be real. Since deeper embossing is possible with thicker solid core vinyl flooring, it will look more like real wood.

Best for Appearance: Laminate Flooring

While the appearance of laminate and luxury vinyl flooring may be similar, the look of hand-scraped hardwood, stone, ceramics, and other natural materials may be more accurate with laminate.

Water and Heat Resistance

Laminate Flooring

A fiberboard core is used in nearly all laminate flooring. Water can cause this core to swell and become softer because it is made of wood. After drying, the fiberboard core will not return to its previous size. Aside from being waterlogged, the wear and design layers can peel away. Laminate flooring that has been severely damaged by water must usually be replaced because it can’t be repaired.

Pooled water can be tolerated by properly laid laminate flooring, but only for a brief amount of time. Laminate flooring is not recommended for bathrooms or other areas where water is prone to accumulate. Laminate flooring can be used in low-moisture regions if you dedicate yourself to clearing up spills and puddles as soon as they occur.

Vinyl Flooring

The backing of some older types of vinyl flooring, such as fabric or felt, may not be waterproof. Newer vinyl flooring, on the other hand, is constructed entirely of polymer ingredients. Long-term submersion, drying, and re-use are all possible with luxury vinyl flooring.

Best for Water and Heat Resistance: Vinyl Flooring

All vinyl flooring is not only water-resistant, but also completely waterproof in some instances. Waterproof materials are commonly used in the production of luxury vinyl, sheet vinyl, and vinyl tile. Vinyl flooring is superior to laminate in wet areas like bathrooms and basements. This type of luxury vinyl flooring is ideal for basement renovations since it can be installed without the use of seams thanks to its 12-foot wide rolls.

Care and Cleaning

Laminate Flooring

The first step in cleaning laminate flooring is to use a dry mop or broom. Only a damp mop that is almost dry should be used to wet-clean laminate flooring.

Vinyl Flooring

Because vinyl flooring is so easy to maintain and clean, it is one of its most popular options. Wet-mopping and aggressive scrubbing with safe cleaning chemicals are possible on vinyl flooring in good condition.

Best for Care and Cleaning: Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is the only type of flooring that can be cleaned using a variety of methods, including sweeping with a dry broom and wet mopping.

Durability and Maintenance

Laminate Flooring

Durable and low-maintenance, laminate flooring is a great option for any home. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, may eventually delaminate due to its multiple layers or prolonged exposure to water. Damage to the laminate’s wear layer is irreversible once it has been scratched.

As soon as the top layers begin to delaminate, water can seep into the lower layers.

Vinyl Flooring

Delamination is a possibility with some vinyl flooring. It’s cheaper and easier to clean than thicker, more expensive vinyl flooring that includes an underlayment. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a single cohesive layer that does not delaminate with thin flooring since there are no layers (PVC). The soft underlayment of thicker, more expensive plank vinyl flooring is the weak link in the system.

Vinyl floor tiles that are self-sticking, however, can come free with time. Despite this, vinyl is a durable flooring option that can withstand heavy foot traffic.

Best for Durability and Maintenance: Vinyl Flooring

Due to its long lifespan and low care requirements, vinyl floors are sometimes referred to as “resilient flooring” in the industry. Even in business settings, where durability and maintenance are critical, vinyl flooring is a popular choice.


Laminate Flooring

The tongue of one plank is inserted at an angle into the groove of the adjacent plank while installing laminate flooring using the click-and-lock method. A fold is made to bring the first plank level with the second plank. The boards are brought together and the seam is sealed by this process. Laminate boards can be cut with an ordinary circular saw or table saw with a fine-tooth blade, or even with a hand saw.

Vinyl Flooring

The click-and-lock method is also used to attach vinyl planks. A utility knife can also be used to cut vinyl flooring boards. When the plank is bent back on itself, a second cut is made from the back, making a score mark. Do-it-yourselfers may find sheet vinyl tough to work with. The material is heavy, cumbersome, and difficult to handle. With sheet goods, it can be difficult to cut out complex shapes. When it comes to applying sheet vinyl, hiring a professional is usually the best option.


Laminate Flooring

For 7 mm-thick boards, the price of laminate flooring is about $1.00 per square foot; for 12 mm-thick planks, the price is roughly $5.00 per square foot.

Vinyl Flooring

As low as $1.00 per square foot for thin, glue-down vinyl flooring. It will cost you roughly $5.00 per square foot for high-end luxury vinyl planks.

Best for Cost: Tied

Laminate flooring and luxury vinyl flooring are around the same price, but sheet vinyl has a little advantage. Laminate and vinyl flooring are typically less expensive than hardwood, engineered wood, and many varieties of ceramic or porcelain tile.

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which Is Better? - PureWow


Laminate Flooring

The guarantees on laminate floors normally vary from ten to twenty-five years, although this is based on a strict upkeep regimen.

Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring warranties can be as long as 20 years.

Best for Lifespan: Tied

Laminate flooring can be expected to last as long as vinyl if it is maintained dry and cleaned on a regular basis.

Environmental Impact

Laminate Flooring

LEED MR4 (Recycled Content) laminate flooring is available from some manufacturers. Even yet, the melamine resins that are utilized to make the core layer of laminate flooring aren’t exactly eco-friendly due to the possibility of off-gassing toxins.

Vinyl Flooring

In recent years, vinyl flooring has become more environmentally friendly. Low-Emitting Material LEED credit EQ4.3 is now available from some vinyl flooring producers. When vinyl is burned, hazardous substances are released into the air. In landfills, vinyl does not dissolve, and recycling it is usually not an option because it is not biodegradable.

Best for Environmental Impact: Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring provides a slight environmental advantage because of its fiberboard core’s natural wood content. In comparison to real wood, linoleum, or bamboo floor coverings, neither of these alternatives is particularly eco-friendly.

Stain Resistance

Laminate Flooring

An aluminum oxide coating on the top of laminate flooring makes it more resistant to stains and scratches than other types of flooring.

Vinyl Flooring

A translucent urethane coating covers the surface of high-quality vinyl flooring, making it extremely stain-resistant.

Best for Stain Resistance: Tied

Stain-resistant wear layers can be found on both vinyl and laminate flooring, which are both high-quality and modern.

Comfort and Sound

Laminate Flooring

Despite the fact that laminate flooring does not have the same tactile feel as real wood, it may nevertheless be made to feel cozy by using a high-quality underlayment.

Vinyl Flooring

When put over concrete or ceramic tile, vinyl floors of any kinds can be cold and uncomfortable to walk on.

Best for Comfort and Sound: Laminate Flooring

Because of the lack of resemblance to real wood, laminate flooring can be uncomfortable to walk on. Foam or felt underlayment, on the other hand, will make laminate flooring more comfortable to walk on, quieter, and more luxurious.

Resale Value

Laminate Flooring

If the laminate flooring is new and in good shape, it can increase a home’s market value.

Vinyl Flooring

An investment in high-end luxury vinyl plank flooring is likely to yield a healthy return on the home’s initial investment. Purchasing a home with low-quality vinyl flooring can be considered as a long-term investment by potential buyers.

Best for Resale Value: Tied

Laminate flooring and vinyl flooring both add value to a property, but the quality of each differs. Solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, or designer ceramic tile or natural stone floors do not have the high-value status of laminate flooring. Prospective homebuyers will not be put off by high-quality laminate or vinyl flooring.

Which Flooring Should You Buy?

There isn’t a single flooring that is better or worse than any other. Laundry rooms, baths, and mudrooms benefit most from vinyl flooring. As a result of its water-resistance, vinyl flooring is a good choice for these rooms. Laminate flooring is a good choice for places that are frequently wet. Laminate flooring typically has more stylistic possibilities than vinyl flooring for buyers.

Top Brands

Vinyl Flooring

  • Armstrong
  • Mannington
  • Shaw

Laminate Flooring

  • Wood Liquidators/LL Flooring Dream House
  • Pergo
  • QuickStep

Which Flooring Is Best?

Appearance and Comfort

• Vinyl Surfaces

Under the hard, transparent wear layer of higher-quality vinyl plank and tile flooring is an image or photo layer. Usually, this image depicts a type of wood (such as oak, maple, or hickory), although it can also depict a stone.

However, not all vinyl flooring has the same level of realism. A clear wear layer is applied to older and lower-priced vinyl sheet and tile flooring manufactured with a rotogravure process (similar to a cylindrical printing machine).

• Engineered Wood Floors.

Real wood or stone looks can be achieved on any laminate floors by placing a photographic image behind the wear layer.

The appearance of laminate flooring is one of its most notable features. From hand-scraped to reclaimed to multi-tonal to natural finish to whitewashed to multi-length laminate flooring is available in nearly every hue, species and type of natural wood and stone.

Maintenance and Care

Dry methods like vacuuming, brushing, sweeping, or dust mopping are ideal for cleaning vinyl and laminate floors. A damp mop with a neutral detergent is usually all that is required to remove entrenched grime.

Wet mopping is the only difference between vinyl and laminate floors. If your floors are particularly grimy, damp mopping may be your best option. Laminate flooring cannot be cleaned with a wet mop, while vinyl flooring can.


• Vinyl Surfaces

Thinner vinyl flooring has a lifespan of fewer than 10 years, however thicker vinyl flooring can last up to 25 years.

• Engineered Wood Floors.

If properly maintained, laminate flooring can last up to 25 years.


• Vinyl Surfaces

At cheap stores, vinyl flooring costs between $0.60 and $4.00 per square foot. A square foot of sheet vinyl might run you anything from $0.50 to $2.00. However, the low price of sheet vinyl is sometimes offset by the cost of installation. Do-it-yourselfers can install vinyl planks and tiles, but a professional will typically be needed to install sheet vinyl.

• Engineered Wood Floors.

Discount flooring stores sell laminate flooring for $0.50 to $3.00 per square foot. For textured 12-mm-thick boards, laminate flooring costs between $3.00 and $8.00 per square foot, depending on the brand.

Professionally installed laminate flooring from a well-known brand might cost upwards of $6 per square foot.


• Vinyl Surfaces

Installing vinyl flooring is a cinch. A glue-down or loose-laid option is available. Liquid adhesive or self-stick adhesive backing can be used to glue tiles or planks of glued vinyl flooring. A floating floor is a type of loose-lay vinyl flooring. Only the ends of the planks are attached to the subfloor.

• Engineered Wood Floors.

Laminate flooring is a floating floor, thus all of it is. There are no glue joints between the planks. The floor is held in place by its own weight and friction. Using a utility knife to score and break the laminate off is as simple as it is to cut vinyl.

Water, Heat and Environment

• Vinyl Surfaces

To put it simply, vinyl flooring is completely waterproof, from the top to the bottom and all of its edges. Vinyl flooring that has been submerged in water can be dried without losing its shape or look.

In the same way that any other plastic material can be damaged by heat, vinyl flooring is susceptible. Vinyl flooring’s heat standards, on the other hand, are typically much greater (158 degrees Fahrenheit) than what most people experience on a daily basis.

• Engineered Wood Floors.

In the presence of water, laminate flooring is particularly vulnerable due to its wood-based core. As long as there are open seams or edges, water will be able to penetrate the core of a building. Water will be absorbed by the core. The core’s proportions will not return to normal after drying.

Heat has little effect on the high-density fiberboard core of laminate flooring. However, in extremely hot conditions, additional layers, such as the top wear layer, may melt. These temperatures, on the other hand, are much higher than those typically encountered in most households.

Resale Value

• Vinyl Surfaces

As thicker and more realistic vinyl floor products have reached the market, vinyl floor’s reputation has risen in recent years. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, has a higher resale value than vinyl.

• Engineered Wood Floors.

In terms of resale value, a high-quality laminate floor falls short of hardwood and engineered wood. However, the resale value of laminate flooring is higher than that of most vinyl floors.

Top Brands

Installation of Vinyl Floors

• Armstrong

In addition to CoreTEC, there are a number of other

Her name is Cryntel

For example, Karndean

• Mannington is the name of the game.

Floating Laminate Floor

• Armstrong

AquaGuard is a water-based corrosion inhibitor.

Home of One’s Dreams

• The Mohawk

It goes without saying, but…

Bottom Line

When it comes to home flooring, vinyl and laminate can be used interchangeably. Most of the criteria that influence the decision are personal, such as style, texture, and price. Water is the exception to the rule that vinyl and laminate can be used interchangeably. Vinyl flooring is certainly a superior option for bathrooms than laminate flooring, making it a great choice. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is a popular choice for whole-house installations since it provides a wide range of options.

Laminate vs Hardwood vs Vinyl Flooring | 50 Floor


Which is more scratch-resistant: Laminate or vinyl?

Generally speaking, laminate is more scratch resistant than vinyl, but in the near term, both hold up well against wear and strain.

What is cheaper: Luxury vinyl or laminate?

When it comes to price, laminate and luxury vinyl flooring are almost equal on a national scale, but the level of quality material utilized can make vinyl more expensive.

What is more waterproof: Vinyl or laminate?

Vinyl, unlike laminate, is entirely watertight, therefore it’s the better choice for areas that see a lot of wetness and high traffic.

Why is vinyl better than laminate?

Premium vinyl, as opposed to laminate, is long-lasting and stable, and it can withstand changes in temperature and humidity. Because of its sensitivity to moisture, laminate can only be used in areas with low usage and infrequent cleaning. Premium vinyl may be used in almost any interior environment since it is so versatile.

What lasts longer vinyl or laminate?

Vinyl has a higher life expectancy and is more durable than laminate overall. However, don’t forget to account for your financial situation. For luxury vinyl flooring, the price may be more than that of laminate flooring.

Which is easier to install vinyl or laminate?

In terms of ease of installation, vinyl plank and laminate are neck-and-neck. This is because vinyl plank installation takes fewer tools and stages, making it the better option.

What is the lifespan of vinyl flooring?

With proper installation and maintenance, vinyl floors last anywhere from 5 to 25 years.

What is the lifespan of luxury vinyl plank flooring?

The lifespan of luxury vinyl is between 10 and 20 years. Even with such a wide range, it’s important to know how long each of your preferred vinyl options will last. Protecting the surface is essential. You can save money by using luxury vinyl tile, but that doesn’t mean you should compromise on safety.

Which costs more laminate or vinyl?

The cost of laminate flooring is a little more than that of vinyl flooring. However, the most common types cost between $2 and $4 per square foot in pricing. High-quality laminates might cost up to $7 per square foot on occasion. The cost of installation can range from $1 to $5 per square foot.

Is it OK to mop laminate floors?

Every two months, mop your laminate flooring to maintain them clean. Laminate flooring can be cleaned with damp mops (also known as microfiber mops). Wipe it out until it’s almost fully dry before you start mopping the floor.

Which is more waterproof vinyl or laminate?

Vinyl and laminate can both be utilized in dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and workplaces because of these properties. However, while certain laminate products are water-resistant, vinyl is entirely waterproof.

What is the difference between vinyl and laminate?

There is a plastic wear layer on laminate and vinyl planks. In contrast, vinyl planks have plastic cores, whilst laminate cores are built of wood composites. These two items are vastly different in this regard. The newer WPC and SPC vinyl products, in particular, are waterproof.

Can you put a refrigerator on vinyl plank flooring?

Up to 500 pounds can be supported by a single vinyl plank. Vinyl plank flooring is completely safe for heavy furniture and appliances like refrigerators because most furniture won’t fit under a single plank. Because vinyl plank flooring is extremely durable, it will not be harmed or broken by the weight of household equipment.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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