Comparing Vinyl vs Laminate

Two of the most confused types of flooring are laminate and vinyl. When comparing laminate flooring vs. vinyl flooring, many homeowners think they are the same because they are affordable, durable, and easy-to-install. However, the differences between these two types of floors might surprise you. Let’s take a closer look.


Both laminate and vinyl flooring are available in a variety of price structures from bargain prices to luxury styles. No matter what type of floor you choose, you’re sure to get a good price.

If price plays a role in your decision, keep reading because both laminate flooring and vinyl flooring are too similar to compare on this one area.


In the past, vinyl flooring has been thought to decrease the value of a home. The old types of vinyl cheapened the looks of the floors. Laminate flooring was once thought of in the same way. However, both floors have made significant advances in both look and feel. Now, both types of floors offer luxury options that have textures, authentic variations and a high-quality appearance.

If looks are important to you, laminate flooring will look more realistic to a hardwood, but both have luxury options that can make your space look stylish.


Again, both laminate and vinyl are comparable when it comes to durability. Both floors are crafted from strong materials using a solid manufacturing process, however, vinyl is a synthetic material and laminate is a wood-based product. This is a key difference in how they stand up to moisture.

Vinyl is a plastic, resilient flooring material that withstands water, moisture and humidity. It is a perfect flooring material to use in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. While laminate is water resistant to an extent, it can be damaged with excess temperature changes and moisture.

When comparing these floors in terms of durability, vinyl is the slightly better choice for rooms where moisture is a concern.

Water Resistance

As mentioned in durability, vinyl is a water proof material. This is one of the biggest points of differentiation between the two materials. When comparing a laminate and vinyl, a vinyl will always win in a case of installing in an area that sees frequent moisture, such as a foyer, bathroom or kitchen.

Laminate is water resistant, meaning that it resists normal spills and minor moisture exposure, but it is not water proof. Water and moisture can cause damage to your floors in several ways.

  • Buckling: this damage occurs when water leaks into the locking system and the wood core expands after absorbing the moisture. This can happen with spills, or excessive humidity changes.
  • Cupping: as with buckling, cupping occurs with water damage, more commonly excess mopping or steam cleaning, and excess humidity. You will notice plank edges are higher than the middle of the boards, causing an uneven surface.
  • Gaps: this damage is the opposite of excess water, and occurs when there is a rapid fluctuation in decreased humidity. This usually occurs in rooms that are not temperature controlled. Boards will shrink after moisture is depleted in wood core and can cause gaps between the boards.

If you’re planning on putting a laminate in a kitchen or moisture prone room, follow these installation tips to prevent common damage.

With a vinyl floor, you will not need to worry about spills or damage. Vinyl is completely water proof and stain proof. Being a synthetic material, it will also not expand or contract with humidity or moisture. Pet accidents, wine spills, appliance leaks and other common factors should not effect a vinyl floor. It is perfect for cafes, restaurants and any other commercial space.


A big difference between laminate and vinyl is the thickness of planks. Laminates can be as thick as 12mm, where as vinyls are usually 5mm or below. Depending on the home, a laminate can sometimes be too thick to fit under doors, cabinets or other built-ins. If you have limited space between surfaces, a vinyl may be the best way to go.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Both vinyl and laminate flooring are cleaned using the same process – water and a damp mop. Regular sweeping and spot treatments can be a part of daily maintenance. Neither floor requires extra chemicals or oils to look great.

If cleanup is a concern in your home, either laminate flooring or vinyl flooring will be easy for you to maintain.


Choosing between vinyl and laminate flooring is not easy. One is better known for its stylish looks while the other is known for being more moisture resistant. Depending on your needs, either type of flooring will work well in your home. Order some free samples and compare!

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