Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which is Better?

Vinyl and laminate are increasingly popular, mainly because you can get the look of hardwood without the cost or hassle. Both options have definitely come a long way and are great to consider when picking out your flooring with our DF Hughes design and building contractors in Birmingham, AL. So let’s do a laminate v. vinyl breakdown comparison. 


Why not hardwoods?

We love hardwoods and we’re not saying you shouldn’t go with that option! Hardwood floors are classic and beautiful, but it may not be the right option for you. They can be prone to scratches, dings, and fading, so they may not be your best option if you have lots of fur babies or children running around all the time. The upkeep and care can be difficult and costly, therefore, many homeowners have opted for laminate or vinyl flooring. 


Both vinyl plank and laminate flooring have evolved and improved in recent years, so let’s see how the two stack up against each other. Let’s compare and contrast the following: looks, water tolerance, durability, upkeep, and pricing. 



With a wide variety of finishes, colors, and textures, both vinyl plank and laminate flooring types can perfectly match your renovation style. Thanks to modern technology and machinery, it’s easier than ever to create beautiful flooring materials that resemble real wood, stone, and other materials. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell them apart from the real thing (to the everyday person at least)!


Water Tolerance

When installed correctly, vinyl plank flooring is waterproof, since it is made of 100% synthetic material. Laminate, however, is a hard plastic with a core layer of wood byproducts, so the core can soften and swell, which will mess up your floor and will need to be replaced. Thankfully, manufacturers have made water-resistant versions. Vinyl is a much better choice in bathrooms and other high-moisture areas. 



Children and/or pets, play an important factor when choosing your flooring since you want to avoid scratches and dents. Both flooring types are very durable with only slight differences. Vinyl expands and contracts ever so slightly, which makes it the ideal flooring choice for the high-traffic areas in your home. You won’t have to worry about your pets’ nails or your childrens’ toys scratching it up. However, it can be damaged when moving heavy furniture improperly. 

Laminate flooring can be scratched or chipped over years of heavy use, but  is also very durable overall. Do they fade? Laminate can fade over time, but is more resistant to it than vinyl.



Which is easier to clean? Do they have to be cleaned a certain way? 

Both are easy to clean and don’t require special buffing or sealing. For vinyl plank flooring, use a steam mop or wet mop. No harsh chemicals necessary. For laminate flooring, only use steam mops and laminate-specific products. NEVER use a wet mop on laminate flooring as the water could damage it. 



These two are surprisingly similar when it comes to cost, so it will most likely not be the biggest factor of your decision. According to most home improvement retailers, the pricing is $1-3 per square foot for vinyl and $.50-3 per square foot for laminate.  

While the standard pricing is practically the same, there are factors that go into the individual pricing, including brand names, style, and type. For example, vinyl planks come in many varieties such as nail down, click, and adhesive. That decision will be based on your project and budget. 

Laminate and vinyl plank flooring are very similar options with similar pricing. The decision between the two will come down to which pattern or style you like more and which one works for your space. At the end of the day, these are not your only 2 options for flooring and we can discuss so much more with you during the planning process. There are many different styles and compositions for whatever room(s) you are remodeling. 

When you’re ready to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or whole home, contact your design build contractors at DF Hughes in Birmingham, AL.

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