Vinyl flooring and laminate are both stylish, realistic mimics of wood, stone, and tile. They’re also equally easy to install and cost about the same, but one of the significant differences lies in their cores.
Vinyl is an entirely synthetic material with a vinyl core. That means it's impervious to liquid and can be installed anywhere. Vinyl sheets and composite tiles (VCT) have a base layer, usually fiberglass, then coated with PVC vinyl and a plasticizer. Next is the printed design sheet and then the top wear layer.
Luxury vinyl flooring is advanced, utterly waterproof sheets cut into boards to mimic hardwood, called luxury vinyl plank (LVP). When cut into groutable squares, it's called Luxury vinyl tile (LVT). They both have thicker, multi-layer PVC vinyl cores that can be submerged for long periods, dried out, and reused.
Laminate's core is composed of wood byproducts combined with resins. It's almost always installed with a fiberboard core, a wood product that will soften, swell and sometimes peel if exposed to water. Because of the wood/water issue, it's usually avoided for installation in kitchens, baths, mudrooms, and any higher-than-normal moisture areas. That is changing, however, with the advent of waterproof laminate flooring.
Different surface feeling underfoot
Vinyl, technically a hard surface, is resilient, with a warmer, more relaxed feeling underfoot. Laminate is more rigid like that of a hard surface. While they have similar thickness ranges, laminate tends to be more robust because people seek that authentic feeling of a hard surface, especially when it's a hardwood mimic.
They’re both easy to care for but, while vinyl can be both swept and mopped, laminate is best done with completely dry methods, such as with a dry mop or broom.
Please help us celebrate our 40th year in business! Learn more about luxury vinyl flooring and get a free quote, The FloorMax Direct showroom is in Dalton, GA, and we serve Atlanta, Calhoun, Adairsville in GA, and Chattanooga, TN.