Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring
Choosing new flooring can be challenging as you want to get the right type for the room you are installing it in and it needs to be something you can live with and enjoy for some time.
Whichever flooring type you choose make sure that the area it is to be laid on is sound and clean. Otherwise, any dust and dirt will stop the flooring adhering properly if it is stuck down, or you may still have squeaky floorboards underneath the flooring.
Deciding whether to choose laminate flooring or vinyl flooring will depend a lot on which room it is to be used in and what that room is used for.
Both types of flooring are suitable for almost every room and environment in the house. This is because:
- They are available in water-resistant types that can be used in bathrooms and kitchens, that will withstand moisture and steam and be easily kept hygienic.
- They are an easy to clean surface - making them ideal for hallways and conservatories
- Both types of flooring are hardwearing and retain their good looks well, making them ideal for high traffic areas and reception rooms.
- They are also both low maintenance - only require mopping when dirty and should be vacuumed to remove surface dust and dirt as otherwise, this can cause scratches on the surface.
- Hard flooring is great for allergy sufferers as there is nothing to attract allergens like dust mites.
Advantages of Vinyl Flooring
There are differences between the two types as well, mainly the type of material they are made from. Vinyl is flexible and can either be one large sheet of vinyl that is cut to fit the floor space or the more modern type is a luxury vinyl tile that really looks like wood flooring at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
Vinyl is lighter and easier to cut to shape as it is of thinner construction, so is much easier to transport and move around where it is to be laid. The large sheets of vinyl are more tricky due to their size and are really only suitable for a small room.
The advantage with large sheets of vinyl is that there are no joins in the flooring so apart from the edges which can be sealed, the floor is completely waterproof which is brilliant for bathrooms and kitchens.
For floors that are likely to get wet or splashed it is a good thing to look out for flooring with a texture as this gives more grip and is safer underfoot.
Vinyl flooring is usually fixed with adhesives and requires no edging strips. You may need a layer of plywood over your existing floorboards to bring the floor level before applying the vinyl.
The great advantage with vinyl tile is that you can replace just the damaged part, keeping your flooring looking good. Vinyl tile is warm and comfortable to walk on and helps with soundproofing your rooms.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Flooring
A disadvantage with sheet vinyl is that any damage to the large sheet over time will mean that the whole sheet will need replacing, and the vinyl material can sometimes be accidentally pierced if a knife or similar is dropped.
Equally bad for sheet vinyl is anything hot, so care must be taken not to drop hot objects onto it, ie hot oven trays or the electric iron. Vinyl tile is less susceptible to these types of damage and is harder wearing as it is stronger.
This kind of flooring is much firmer in construction than vinyl products and is, therefore, a little bit heavier to move around but this adds to its strength and hardwearing properties. Laminate is made in strips that look like floorboards, and it can be as good looking as a natural wood product. They are also simple to fit as most have a click to fit system. As laminate is made of single boards they can be changed singly if they were damaged just like vinyl tiles.
With laminate flooring, you will also need to purchase finishing strips, threshold bars and underlay. Good underlay can make a huge difference to the comfort and soundproofing of a floor. This kind of flooring is robust but is easier to damage with sharp, hard objects like stiletto heels, so care should be taken.
Water resistant types of laminate flooring are suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. This type of flooring tends not to have texture, could be more slippery and may not be so suitable especially for older persons or anyone with mobility issues.
Laminate flooring is ideal to be used with underfloor heating and before you install your new floor this is a good time to add this heating for cosy warm floors. They also tend to be very comfortable to walk on as the laminate boards are naturally springy and they feel warm to the touch.
To help you decide which is best for you and your home, it is fair to say that vinyl tile is the longer lasting of the two and it is usually more economical. However, laminate flooring is the more environmentally friendly option as the wood is from well-managed woodlands and vinyl is made from plastic.