Luxury Vinyl Tile vs. Laminate Flooring
Can’t decide between luxury vinyl tile and laminate flooring? When it comes to the hard surface flooring industry, there’s a plethora of options. However, vinyl tile and laminate have a lot of similarities starting with cost. They’re both affordable and on a square foot by square foot basis, so price isn’t going to play a factor in which one you choose. They’re also both highly durable—much more so than ceramic tile, hardwood, or stone options. Their affordability and toughness factor is what make them so popular, but how can you narrow down the best option for you?
If you think you’ll decide based on which one looks “more real”, think again. After years of tech advances, both options are great at imitating natural surfaces. Of course, they’re also much easier to care for than truly natural surfaces—there’s no need to re-seal, re-grout or worry over easy scratches with vinyl tile or laminate.
It’s always best to rely on a professional to install flooring, especially when it comes to hard surfaces. There are some hard core DIY types who have achieved great results installing their own laminate or LVT, but these homeowners are usually experienced with flooring and have the time and tools to spare. If you want to guarantee the best results, let a pro handle it.
They’re both great for repairing or replacing areas of a floor that are damaged, and both options feature “wear layers.” For example, the top layer might feature aluminum-oxide that prevents scratches and helps with UV protection (so patches won’t fade if they’re exposed to the sun). This makes them sound like nearly the same thing, but the similarities end here.
Why They’re Different
The most obvious reason why laminate and LVT are different is because they’re created from totally different things. Laminate floors feature a number of layers with the “core” created from high-density fiberboard. Vinyl is also created in layers, but its core is PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Since they have different materials, they also install in different ways. For example, laminate shouldn’t be glued or nailed, but that’s the best installation approach for many vinyl products.
They also feel differently—since laminate is largely made from wood, it feels a lot like wood. Vinyl feels like plastic. They’ll also stand up against fires and stains in different manners. While laminate is more stain resistant, vinyl handles fires better.
Making the Call
Some people prefer laminate because it’s the greener option—after all, it’s largely made up of wooden byproducts. Some people think that vinyl holds up a little better in wet environments (perfect for bathrooms), but the reality is that both vinyl and laminate are solid choices for water resistance. However, laminate flooring is put down easier with uneven subfloors, which is a big concern for some homeowners.
It all comes down to personal preference, what you want to feel beneath your feet, and how important a sustainable floor is to you. Rely on a professional, local installation company. We’ll walk you through the process to narrow down the best choice for you.