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Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Better Than Laminate? Everything You Need To Know

Jul 11, 2023

Your floors are one of the most important parts of any home or commercial space. Not only do your floors provide a solid foundation to walk on, but they also add a beautiful visual appeal to your space.

As a consumer you have many flooring options available to you on the market, with two of the more popular choices being vinyl planks flooring and laminate flooring.

While both come with their advantages and disadvantages, it has brought forth a question many of our customers have had: is vinyl plank flooring better than laminate? Or vice versa?

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each flooring option to help you determine which is the best option for your home or commercial space!

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a synthetic material that is manufactured in a way to closely resemble the look of natural hardwood, stone, or tile.

It is made from PVC resin and is available in a wide range of styles, colors, patterns, and builds. For example, if you require a more rigid floor that’s going to be in a high traffic area, you can consider a plank made from Stone Polymer Composite (SPC) with a thicker wear layer.

If you require something with more flexibility and anticipate less foot traffic, a Wood Polymer Composite (WPC) core layer may suit your needs.

Ultimately, vinyl plank flooring is an excellent option for those who want options to choose from with an affordable price tag! Vinyl plank flooring is also a great choice for buyers who want the look of a hardwood floor, without the maintenance and cost, and pricey installation that comes with it!

Advantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Durability – Vinyl plank flooring is resistant to scratches, dents, stains, and more. This makes it a great option for high traffic areas. For ultimate durability, you would want to consider planks composed of SPC with a higher wear layer.
  • Water-Resistant – Unlike hardwood or laminate flooring, vinyl plank flooring is water-resistant. This makes it a great option for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms where moisture is prevalent.
  • Easy to Maintain – Vinyl plank flooring is extremely easy to clean and maintain. A simple sweep, vacuum, and mop will have your floors looking brand new! Though there are considerations depending if you’ve chosen smooth or textured vinyl plank flooring.
  • Affordable – Vinyl plank flooring is one of the most economical flooring choices on the market.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Repairs are Difficult (Sometimes not Possible) – Possibly vinyl plank floorings biggest downside is its inability to be repaired. If a really bad dent or blemish occurs, you will need to disassemble your entire floor from to the wall right  up to the damaged plank, replace it, then put your flooring all back together. This is also nearly impossible if you opted for glued down floors in your initial installation.
  • Non-Biodegradable – If you are in the market for an environmentally friendly flooring option, vinyl plank flooring does not pass this test. This is because vinyl flooring planks are not biodegradable and are extremely difficult to recycle.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a synthetic material composed of melamine resin, paper, and high-density fiberboard. Like vinyl plank flooring, it is designed to resemble natural hardwood, stone, or tile, and is also available in a wide range of styles.

The top layer of laminate flooring is a high-resolution photograph of the desired flooring material that is protected by a clear, wear-resistant layer. While the layers underneath provide stability and support for the flooring.

Laminate is easy to install as it can be cut and fitted to nearly any room, and offers similar ease of cleaning and maintenance that vinyl plank flooring does.

If you are in the market for an eco-friendly flooring option, laminate flooring outshines vinyl planks. This is because laminate is made from renewable materials and can easily be recycled.

Another key differentiator between laminate and vinyl is that laminate flooring is not water-resistant like vinyl plank flooring is. Unattended spills, or rooms with lots of moisture will cause the edges of the laminate to cup or buckle, ruining the floor.

Advantages of Laminate Flooring

  • Cost-Effective – Like vinyl planks, laminate flooring is a cost-effective alternative to natural hardwood flooring that offers a similar look at a fraction of the cost. Laminate will be slightly more expensive than vinyl plank flooring in most cases though.
  • Easy to Install – Laminate flooring is very easy to install as it makes use of a tongue and groove snap on system. This makes it a great choice for buyers who either want to install flooring themselves, or save costs when hiring a professional.
  • Available in a variety of styles – Most consumers choose laminate for how closely it can resemble hardwood or stone. However, there are a wide range of design possibilities available when shopping for laminate flooring!
  • Environmentally Friendly – Since laminate flooring is made from renewable materials and is easily recycled, it makes it a great choice for buyers wanting to make an environmentally friendly flooring choice.

Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring

  • Water-Resistance – Spills that lingers or rooms with a lot of moisture can severely warp or damage laminate flooring. Unlike vinyl plank flooring, laminate should generally not be installed in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms. However, there have been advancements made in laminate flooring, manufacturers have come out with water resistant laminate options that offer 72-100 hour water resistance. 
  • Due to the way laminate is installed (floating floor) – depending on your selection there is a maximum linear foot you can go between transitions which can be a design aesthetic that some people want to avoid.

So Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Better Than Laminate?

Both are great flooring choices that will suit different needs for prospective buyers.

Vinyl plank flooring is generally cheaper than laminate, and is water-resistant meaning it can be used in pretty much any room of your house including bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.

Both share similar qualities in that the design possibilities are nearly endless, and they are both very easy to install in a home. This makes both a great choice for DIYers or renovation projects that would like to save costs when hiring a professional flooring installer.

Vinyl plank flooring however is not as environmentally friendly as laminate flooring. The manufacturing process, components of the floor itself, and the ability to be recycled make laminate flooring a better choice for environment conscious buyers!

Questions like “is vinyl plank flooring better than laminate” often can’t be so easily answered in a blog post like this! Unique factors to your wants, project needs, and more all play a role. If you’d like some expert opinions, come see us at our Edmonton flooring store conveniently located in South Edmonton! We’ll help you choose the perfect floor for your next project.

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