In terms of Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring there is no one size fits all answer. The “better” option is mostly a matter of opinion. However, we can totally break things down on a point by point basis, so you can decide what is best for you.
Well, there is a wide range for both laminate and vinyl products. However, I will say that for the top end luxury vinyl, you may pay a little more than for the top end of laminate. That is because the highest quality luxury vinyl often includes a waterproof core** and ultra thick wear layer.
For the middle of the road, beautiful and good quality options, they are honestly pretty comparable, and I would say that vinyl has a wider range on both ends of the spectrum. It is also important to discuss installation costs with your installer. One may cost more for the install and that could alter which flooring is less expensive in the long run.
Look / Feel
As far as looks go, you can find ultra realistic wood looks in both laminate and vinyl. The feel? That is a different story. Laminate, when installed poorly, can also create a hollow, empty sound which can be a deal breaker for many homeowners.
Most laminate is installed as a “floating floor” which means you don’t need any glue, tape, etc. – you just lay it right on top of your existing floor, making it super DIY friendly.
Vinyl, on the other hand, ranges and has several installation types including peel & stick, glue down, floating and loose lay, at varying difficulties. If you are gluing down, it will definitely be more challenging than laminate.
Laminate is great for places that won’t see a lot of moisture. Full bathrooms and basements prone to leaks and flooding are not recommended. Kitchens are okay, but the floor will need to be treated more carefully when it comes to spills. It is not nearly as resistant to moisture as vinyl. You can install vinyl literally anywhere! Bathrooms, kitchens, basements, you name it! Vinyl definitely wins points in the versatility department, particularly where moisture is concerned.
Vinyl can be installed literally anywhere! Bathrooms, kitchens, basements, you name it! Vinyl definitely wins points in the versatility department, particularly where moisture is concerned.
Like all things, not all laminates and not all vinyls are created equal. However, high end for high end, laminate and vinyl are both very durable floors with a long shelf life.
For a long time, laminate was thought to be much more durable but, if you ask me, vinyl can now do everything laminate can do and handle water!
Effect on Environment
Nowadays, vinyl and laminate are actually equally eco-friendly, so you don’t need to feel guilty about choosing one over the other! Some products are even Floor Score certified for indoor air quality.