Laminate and vinyl are both affordable and durable flooring options that can mimic the look of wood, tile and stone. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.
The key is deciding which one fits your needs and style better. Things like appearance, water resistance, durability and lifespan are all important factors to consider.
If you’re looking for a flooring option that will handle a lot of wear and tear while also looking great, vinyl or laminate are two options to consider. Each type offers a different range of looks that can suit your kitchen design preferences, but both are durable and low maintenance.
Laminate flooring consists of four layers: a backing, a base made from a wood-like fiberboard core, a print layer that mimics the look of real wood, and a durable clear wear layer that protects it from scratches and color fading. The laminate board is milled with a tongue and groove, which makes it snap together to form floating floors that don’t require any physical connection with your sub floor.
Laminated floors are easy to clean and maintain with a broom or dry mop. Be sure to only use cleaning products that are safe for laminate flooring, as harsh cleaners can strip the protective coating and damage the floor.
One of the major advantages that vinyl and laminate flooring have over wood is water resistance. These durable floors are perfect for kitchens that see lots of spills from cooking, leaks from the dishwasher and pets.
Laminate is a synthetic material that mimics the look of natural wood and stone floors. It features a rigid fiberboard core topped with an image layer (a photo of a real wooden floor) and a scratch-resistant wear layer.
Both luxury vinyl tile and vinyl plank are 100% waterproof, but seams between planks can still allow moisture to penetrate through them if water is present. These products are also more prone to dents and scratches than other materials.
Laminate can be a good choice for areas that don’t typically see a lot of moisture, such as basements and full bathrooms. However, it’s not recommended in areas that are frequently flooded. The fiberboard core reacts poorly to water, so it will soften and swell, which is a big reason why it’s not recommended in these places.
Easy to Clean
Vinyl or laminate flooring is a popular choice for kitchens because it’s easy to clean and resistant to scratches. It’s also a good choice for high-traffic areas.
To keep your vinyl floors looking their best, wipe up spills immediately and mop thoroughly with a solution of warm water and a bit of detergent (for kitchens) or the manufacturers’ recommended cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners that could scratch your floors or leave them greasy.
The acidity of vinegar can break down dirt and grime on your vinyl without leaving behind a soapy film. To create this cleaning solution, mix one cup of cider vinegar with a gallon of warm water.
Mop your floor with the solution, then a second time with just plain water. Add a few drops of baby oil to give your vinyl a shine.
Easy to Install
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly flooring option that can stand up to years of foot traffic, vinyl and laminate are two of the most popular choices. Both products offer a wide range of colors and styles to match any design theme.
Both are relatively easy to install. Vinyl is usually available in sheets and tiles, making it easier to cover a room with a single installation.
Laminate is also a relatively simple flooring material to install. It has a core made of wood byproducts that are then sealed with a resin.
Both materials can be installed over a plywood subfloor, but laminate is more resistant to moisture than sheet vinyl. However, it’s not an ideal option for rooms that get a lot of water like family bathrooms and laundry rooms because the fiberboard core can swell and soften, eventually peeling away.