There seems to be a lot of confusion between laminate flooring and vinyl flooring. Laminate flooring in many customers gets these terms mixed up…they say vinyl when they mean laminate or laminate when they mean vinyl. So, part of any flooring company is to help clarify which type of flooring they mean as well as which type of flooring makes the most sense for them. At Phoenix Vinyl Plank Flooring Company, they have the best professional installation of vinyl sheets.
If you’re seeking a hardwood look at a price that’s a little easier on your wallet, look no further than laminate and vinyl. Both are budget-friendly, synthetic flooring options that offer a lot of customization at a much lower price point than hardwood. The major difference between the two is that laminate lacks water resistance while vinyl is virtually waterproof.
Definition of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is a hard surface that usually looks like hardwood (occasionally looks like tile) and is made with recycled hardwood. It has a picture of hardwood floors (it isn’t real), but some of the more upscale versions do look very real. On top, it has a melamine wear layer which gives it strong scratch protection, and underneath, there is a high density core board. Laminate flooring is usually around 3/8 of an inch and can often be placed on top of existing flooring – whether it’s concrete, tile or even hardwood (assuming the floor underneath is stable and even).
Laminate flooring is a floating floor that clicks together into place. Because it is made of recycled hardwood, it is NOT waterproof. It is generally not a good idea to install laminate flooring in any place where you tend to get a lot of water or that is humid (or that has high fluctuations in humidity level throughout the seasons) – this would mean that it is generally not good for most basements or bathrooms.
Like hardwood flooring, laminate floors should acclimate in the home before it’s installed. It should be in there for at least 24 hrs, but ideally 48 or more hours. This allows it to properly expand/contract for the conditions in that room. During this time, the room should be set to normal temperature/humidity conditions for that time of year (so if you are moving into a new home and don’t live there yet, it’s important to put the heat or AC on (pending time of year) during the acclimation and installation process.
Definition of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring is synthetic material that looks like tile or hardwood. Most vinyls are glued down directly to the floor underneath. Vinyl comes in many forms – there is sheet vinyl (usually 12 feet in width), luxury vinyl tile and plank (which is upscale and looks very real), there is vinyl composite tile and there is cheap peel & stick tile that you can often find in any Home Depot.
Unlike laminate flooring, most vinyl is waterproof or water-resistant (this depends on the exact type of vinyl). While the cheaper types of vinyl can easily withstand spills and strong cleaning, they will usually not survive major floods – most of these use cheap adhesives that will not hold up to standing water and some are applied directly onto plywood and if the water has soaked through, the subfloor may warp. Cheaper types of vinyl have a tendency to fade if exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time.
Whereas laminates are hard and inflexible, most vinyls are soft and flexible. So, vinyl flooring can tolerate floors that are sloped or have humps in it. The vinyl will just go right on top of it. Because vinyl is flexible, it is critical that the floor underneath is smooth (not level, but smooth), so you often need to do a couple of layers of skim coats to smooth out the floor underneath.