Homeowners in search of an affordable alternative to timber flooring often consider laminate or luxury vinyl planks as a possible option.
We’re here to answer all your questions about how laminate and luxury vinyl flooring compare to each other and how to decide between the two for your space.
1.) Which Is More Durable: Laminate or Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Laminate and vinyl plank floors appeal to consumers searching for the look of timber flooring without the risk of dings, scratches, or other damages. Both laminate and vinyl plank floors offer durability.
Vinyl plank flooring holds up well to heavy traffic, children running around, and claws from pets.
However, since luxury vinyl flooring is softer than solid timber, it is not completely protected against damage. For example, dragging furniture across vinyl flooring can tear planks. Luxury vinyl flooring may also dent over time if heavy furniture is placed over it.
Laminate flooring is also quite durable and holds up well in busy homes with pets and children. However, it is still possible to chip or scratch laminate flooring from heavy wear.
In terms of fading, laminate holds up better than vinyl when exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, an important factor to consider if you are installing the flooring in a room that receives excessive sunlight. Blinds, shades, or area rugs can be used to protect either type of flooring in rooms with ample sunlight.
2.) Is Laminate or Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Better for Pets?
While both laminate and luxury vinyl plank flooring can withstand heavy traffic, pets, and kids, laminate is the winner. Although it can get scratched and chipped, it boasts excellent resistance to damage and fading.
Laminate may even provide better traction for your dog or cat, especially if you opt for a laminate with a textured surface.
Regardless of the flooring material you choose, be sure to clean up any spills or pet accidents immediately to prevent damage.
3.) Water Resistance: Laminate vs Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Winner: Luxury Vinyl Flooring
One of hardwood’s biggest drawbacks is its susceptibility to water damage. Laminate flooring is also known for its lack of water resistance, making luxury vinyl plank flooring a clear winner if you are looking for a waterproof flooring option.
Luxury vinyl flooring allows homeowners to enjoy the look of hardwood in rooms such as laundries, bathrooms, and kitchens without the fear of buckling, gapping, separating, or warping from water damage.
While it is still important to wipe up any spills immediately, luxury vinyl planks offer outstanding resistance to water damage.
If laminate flooring is your preferred choice and you’d like a more water resistant option, check out the revolutionary AquaPlank range from Signature Floors.
4.) Which Is Easier To Install: Laminate or Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors?
Winner: Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Should I hire a professional or install my new flooring myself? We hear this question often. Although we always recommend utilising the services and expertise of professional installers, we also understand that many homeowners prefer to tackle the process on their own to save on installation costs.
With a tongue-and-groove design that clicks together easily, luxury vinyl planks offer one of the most DIY-friendly installation options. Being a softer material, luxury vinyl planks are also easy to cut and score with a utility knife.
While it is possible to tackle DIY laminate flooring installation, it requires more steps, tools (i.e a circular saw or hand saw), and expertise than luxury vinyl planks. Laminate floors also require a vapour barrier to provide moisture protection and appropriate underlay.
5.) Is Laminate or Luxury Vinyl Flooring Easier To Care For?
Winner: This one is close, but vinyl takes the win for ease of care
Laminate and vinyl floors appeal to many consumers because of their minimal maintenance requirements.
Vinyl plank flooring is straightforward and simple to care for. No harsh cleaners are required (a mild cleanser will do) and a wet mop (not a steam mop) can be used, although wet mopping isn’t recommended for peel-and-stick planks.
Regular cleaning and attending to any spills as quickly as possible will keep vinyl floors looking beautiful. The big mistake to avoid is using a wax on vinyl floors as this will result in a dulling buildup. Care must also be taken to prevent dents from heavy furniture. Use floor protectors and never drag appliances or furniture on vinyl flooring.
Laminate flooring is also easy to care for, although there are a few additional considerations to avoid damage.
A vacuum, dust mop, or broom can be used to handle everyday cleaning. Spills should always be wiped up immediately.
Wet mops and steam mops should be avoided on laminate flooring and only soap-free cleansers should be used. When choosing care products, opt for options that are specifically designed for laminate flooring.
In some cases, nail polish remover or acetone can be used on tough stains such as ink, marker, paint, or oil, but you should always consult the manufacturer before trying any products that are not specifically designated for laminate flooring.
Laminate floors do not require waxing. Generally, chips and scratches can be repaired with specialty products, putties, and markers designed for laminate flooring.
6.) Laminate and Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Sizes and Styles
Both laminate and luxury vinyl plank flooring offer a vast array of colours, styles, and sizes to fit your design preferences.
Vinyl plank flooring can be found in multiple widths and lengths, generally around 36 to 48 inches long and 4 to 8 inches wide. Whether you are looking for rich, almost black style for a stunning modern design or an off-white style or a classic tone, you’ll be amazed at the sheer amount of colours and styles available.
Laminate flooring comes in widths of anywhere from about 4 to 16 inches and lengths from 36 to over 48 inches. As with luxury vinyl flooring, the colour and style options are practically endless.
Whether you choose laminate or vinyl plank flooring, you are sure to find a colour and style that will fit beautifully with the vision for your home.
7.) Laminate vs Vinyl Plank Floors — Which Offers the Most Realistic Appearance?
Winner: Again, this is close, but laminate wins this one
When it comes to luxury vinyl planks or laminate floors, most consumers are interested in a finished result that mimics hardwood flooring as close as possible.
Although luxury vinyl planks are plastic and do not involve any actual wood, manufacturers have harnessed the latest technology to produce patterns, variations, and textures that replicate the appearance of real wood at a fraction of the cost. The latest luxury vinyl options also offer a realistic stone appearance.
However, some luxury vinyl planks lack the natural texture and variations offered by real wood. When choosing luxury vinyl planks, it is important to buy a high-quality product to avoid cheap imitations that will fall flat in terms of visual appeal.
Although laminate floors are made with wood, the wood is covered by a photographic design layer. Using modern, advanced printing techniques, many laminate products offer a realistic texture and appearance that mimics solid timber surprisingly well. Because it is a wood product and not soft vinyl, laminate also feels more like solid timber underfoot.
8.) Which Is More Comfortable Underfoot: Luxury Vinyl Planks or Laminate Flooring?
Have you ever stood on bare flooring and found your back, knees, and legs aching? If you have, you know how important it is to consider comfort when it comes to choosing flooring.
Although luxury vinyl planks are composed of a soft vinyl material, they can feel somewhat hard when installed directly over concrete subfloors. They can also feel cold with no insulation underneath.
Since it is thicker than luxury vinyl plank flooring, laminate flooring is known for being more comfortable underfoot, especially when installed with a foam underlayment.
All bare flooring can feel cold in cooler rooms, but a thick underlayment can help laminate flooring feel warmer than luxury vinyl flooring. Regardless of the flooring material you choose, there are tricks for making any flooring feel warmer.
Final Thoughts on Laminate vs Luxury Vinyl Planks
Laminate and vinyl plank flooring each have pros and cons. Both offer an affordable, durable alternative to solid timber floors and boast a vast array of colours and styles to choose from.
However, rooms prone to spills or high moisture may benefit from the waterproof traits of luxury vinyl tile. Homeowners set on DIY installation may also prefer the ease of working with vinyl planks.
Alternatively, homeowners seeking the most comfortable flooring underfoot or realistic alternative to hardwood may prefer laminate floors.
If you have more questions on laminate or luxury vinyl flooring and would like to chat about which option may be best for your space, feel free to contact us and we’d be glad to walk you through each type of flooring and why it may be a good fit for your home or business.