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The Differences Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

If you’re in the market for affordable flooring options, two materials are at the forefront of the discussion laminate and vinyl. In many minds, laminate and vinyl flooring are pretty much the same and are often confused with one another, so it is understandable why some people have trouble deciding between the two. The confusion between the two normally happens because both floorings are more durable, cost-effective, and lower maintenance than traditional hardwood flooring. Today we are going to discuss how these flooring materials are different from one another despite sharing many of the same virtues.

Laminate and Vinyl Flooring: The Differences

Let’s compare laminate and vinyl flooring planks so you can decide which material is right for you.

Cost of Material

First and foremost, let’s talk cost. As we mentioned before, when deciding between laminate flooring and vinyl flooring, you’re instantly saving money by choosing not to go with hardwood, so that’s the good news. Laminate and vinyl flooring are comparable in price (though vinyl does hold a slight edge over laminate).

Most vinyl flooring can range anywhere from $.40 per square foot for thin sheet vinyl, to $3.00 per square foot for luxury vinyl plank flooring while laminate flooring tends to range from about $1.00 per square foot for 7 mm-thick planks, to about $3.00 per square foot for 12 mm-thick planks.

While vinyl flooring tends to have more flexibility when it comes to design and application, laminate flooring is more available in the cheaper than average price range so if you’re on a very tight budget, laminate flooring may be the option for you.

Appearance and Aesthetics


Not long ago, it was easy to tell the differences between laminate and vinyl flooring, but, over the years, the vinyl and laminate comparison has become relatively even.

Nowadays, modern laminate and luxury vinyl flooring can look almost identical to wood; some even have three-dimensional texture to the surfaces to resemble hand-scraped hardwood. However, while vinyl and laminate flooring allow for endless versatility thanks to their limitless customization and design integrity, most laminate flooring utilizes modern printing techniques to provide a more realistic look and texture.

So, even though both flooring options are manufactured products, laminate comes closer to the feel of a hardwood floor and will also contribute to the resale value of the home, whereas vinyl likely will not.

Care and Maintenance

Another reason why many consumers choose vinyl or laminate flooring is the simplicity of care and maintenance for each. While both laminate and vinyl flooring can be swept or vacuumed on a regular basis and both are easy to care for overall, vinyl has the edge when it comes to care and maintenance.

Laminate flooring is susceptible to excessive moisture damage, so you should never use a wet mop on laminate, only soap-free cleaners or products designed specifically for laminate flooring. With vinyl flooring, on the other hand, it is not affected by moisture, so you don’t need specialty cleaners, and you can use a mop or a steam cleaner to clean the floor without any worry, making it the easier to care for.


Lastly, one of the primary benefits touted by both vinyl plank and laminate wood flooring is durability. Both vinyl and laminate flooring have expected lifespans of 5-20 years, depending on what type of environment it is installed in.

On the high end, laminate and vinyl floors can last about 15-20 years. Part of the reason they can last so long is that they have great scratch and dent resistance, unlike hardwood.

Both types of flooring come with things to consider before installation. As we mentioned above, laminate flooring isn’t as moisture resistant, so it shouldn’t be installed in bathrooms or kitchens, although the material is constantly improving and vinyl flooring can dent over time, particularly in areas under heavy furniture.

If you are interested in installing vinyl, laminate, hardwood, or carpet in your home, click here to contact Carpet Direct Kansas City for a free quote today!

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