Comparison of Vinyl Plank & Laminate Plank Flooring

Anybody who is looking for economical home installations and easily installable ones will finally come down to two choices- Vinyl plank flooring or laminate plank flooring.  To someone who doesn't know much, they might seem the same. But that’s far from true. Vinyl flooring and Laminate flooring differ on everything else apart from what has already been mentioned.

Laminate flooring options were the first and the oldest ones that imitated the look of real wood or stone tile. Hence, it is a traditional choice. Vinyl wasn't popular earlier, but now with new embossing techniques and planks that are close to looking like wood boards, vinyl is back in the market racks.

The most important difference and one that you surely want to consider is the ‘where’. Where can you install these tiles? Which area is the best suited for? There is an undisputed answer to this. Vinyl tiles are the first choice for bathrooms or any other area of your home which is prone to moisture. Some varieties of vinyl planks if well installed are almost 100% water proof. Laminate on the other hand isn’t completely water proof.  Despite the protective layers, laminate floor will react to standing water just like solid wood flooring.  So even if a house is full of other expensive flooring, you will find that their bathrooms and some parts of their kitchen (near the sink) will be covered with vinyl.

Vinyl flooring is less susceptible to scratches than laminate floorings. It is a better option if you have pets and kids. Both high quality vinyl and high quality laminate are resistant to stains. If you’re worried about fading then good quality laminate is a choice. Or you could go for vinyl which doesn't discolour with sunlight.

Vinyl flooring is better for homes with light traffic. But some laminate floors are designed to endure high traffic in commercial spaces. Vinyl wins the longevity test with an average life span of 25 years as compared to laminate with 15-20 years.

Both require more or less the same efforts to maintain. Laminate planks are thicker by virtue of its strong wood core. Vinyl planks will always be thinner in comparison.  Laminate floors are more comfortable to walk on because they are thicker and usually have more wood content. Vinyl can be cold and hard to walk on, but this can be fixed by adding an underlayment.

Both laminate and vinyl flooring options have a wide range when it comes to price. They range from cheap to moderate. Both are considered gentle on your pockets if you make the right choice. Both can make good DIY projects and don’t always require professional assistance. This is however limited to planks and not sheet vinyl or sheet laminate.

When it comes to resale value, laminate is ahead in the race. Even though vinyl now has better features, laminate is still the better looking one amongst the two with a more real look. Laminate is used to be considered as the more eco-friendly one, but now even vinyl manufacturers have come up with good options.

Hence all-in-all, the major factor is the durability and resistance to moisture. That should be the one that makes you dump one choice or the other. Apart from that, just go with your gut!