Vinyl and laminate are popular flooring choices for homes and commercial buildings. They’re both great at withstanding pressure, can be easily cleaned, and don’t break the bank. For this reason, many people struggle to choose between them, and in this article, we’ll compare vinyl flooring vs laminate in detail, so that you can decide which is better for you.
Vinyl and laminate are both highly durable flooring materials. They’re capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic, whether from adults, kids, or a boisterous 50kg bull mastiff. But you’ll need to be cautious of dragging heavy furniture across them, as this can easily create scratches that are difficult (if not impossible) to fix.
Of the two materials, vinyl has the slight edge over laminate.
Many people love the look of hardwood flooring, but aren’t willing to put the time and money into caring for it. With laminate, you get the best of both worlds—a design that mimics natural timber, but without the same level of upkeep. Laminate also comes in a huge range of designs, so you can select the style that best suits your home.
You can also purchase vinyl flooring that looks similar to wood, with a wide range of available styles (though not quite as many as laminate).
Laminate flooring in Australia is roughly $25 per square meter. Vinyl flooring is a little more expensive, with an average cost of roughly $30 per square meter, or $55 to $90 per square meter for vinyl plank.
Vinyl is typically made of 100% polymer, which makes it completely waterproof, and a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, uses a wooden fiberboard core which softens and swells when wet. If this happens regularly, and water is allowed to pool on its surface, the flooring will become permanently damaged and will need to be replaced.1
Vinyl is one of the easiest flooring types to clean, with just a wet mop needed for the job. If there’s something particularly sticky and stubborn to clean, a mild cleaning product should do the trick. The only thing to be cautious about when cleaning vinyl is using too much water—if it gets drenched, and the water is allowed to sit for long periods of time, it can get underneath the seams and damage the flooring’s adhesive.
Laminate flooring is a little tougher to clean, but still easy. You’ll just need to use a soap-free cleanser, and wipe them off with the dry mop. Under no circumstances should you use a wet mop on laminate.
Laminate and vinyl are both coated with stain resistant layers, which make them both excellent choices for resisting stains. And because vinyl is easier to clean, it has a slight upper hand over laminate.
Laminate is a harder material than vinyl, and can be a little noisy underfoot, especially in certain types of shoes. Vinyl is definitely the quieter option between the two, and if you have a house full of children and pets, the more peaceful option.
Vinyl flooring vs laminate flooring—summary
So, which is better—vinyl plank or laminate flooring?
Vinyl flooring is ideal for rooms that use a lot of water—the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry, but it can also work well for other rooms throughout the house, due to its durability, and quietness. Laminate offers beautiful styles that can mimic wood, but can be a little noisy and more difficult to clean.
Ultimately, the two flooring types have similar pros and cons, with either being a great choice for your home or business.
Lee Wallender, 2020, Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring Comparison Guide: What’s the Difference?, The Spruce