Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

In case you confuse vinyl flooring, particularly vinyl plank, with laminate flooring, you may need to choose which one to buy to install.

Materials, thickness, comfort level, and resistance to moisture are the differences between the products. Base materials are at the core of the differences.

Vinyl Flooring is 100% Plastic

This means that it is resistant to moisture. Besides the plank shapes that are long and narrow “click” joinery, allowing adjoining boards to snap together, and improved embossing techniques, vinyl flooring is gaining in popularity once again.

Laminate Flooring is 99% Wood Product

Laminate flooring is reasonably moisture resistant if planks remain firmly locked together. Will not be resistant to water in the event of flooding. In addition, laminate flooring was the first truly wood-look flooring that homeowners could install by themselves.

Ease of Installation

Sheet vinyl comes in large rolls and is difficult for homeowners to install. It is also difficult to shape around obstructions. Instead, most homeowners are now buying and installing vinyl plank flooring – easier to install even than square tile-sized vinyl because you have fewer pieces to lay.

Laminate requires foam moisture underlayment, however this is inexpensive and can roll out and tap together rapidly. You should cut laminate with a hand saw, circular saw or table saw fitted with a ultra-fine cutting edge or a regular blade.


Ranging from 1.5 mm to 5 mm, vinyl flooring is decidedly thinner than laminate’s 6 mm to 12 mm. Laminate flooring will always be thicker by virtue of its pressed-board wood core.

Looks and Resale Value

Vinyl flooring stature has been creeping upward lately, particularly with the introduction of luxury vinyl flooring. Buyers may expect vinyl flooring in the bathroom but will cast a more critical eye on a living room floored with vinyl, even nice vinyl plank.

While not having the resale value approaching strong or engineered wood flooring, laminate has reasonably good value and generally will not put off home-buyers. Laminate flooring has had a couple of years’ head-start over vinyl as far as presenting features that consumers like, such as deeper embossing, better imaging, and improved click-joinery.

Moisture Resistance

Beating vinyl flooring in the area of moisture resistance is impossible. Sheet vinyl flooring is 100% impervious to moisture. Thus, vinyl can be installed in any room of the house. Vinyl is one of the few types of flooring that you can call truly water-proof, not just water-resistant. Moisture can become real deciding factor for buying the product.

Vinyl flooring decidedly beats laminate in its performance in wet places. Even in better homes where you would not expect to find vinyl flooring, exceptions are made for bathrooms.

Laminate, in contrary, is not recommended for bathrooms or basements that experience even the slightest moisture infiltration.


Vinyl flooring, if installed directly on a subfloor or concrete, is hard and cold. Because laminate is thicker than vinyl and incorporates wood content, it is easier to walk on and warmer to the touch than vinyl.