Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: A Detailed Comparison

September 24, 2020by LV Flooring0

There is often a hot debate as to which is best between vinyl vs. laminate flooring in homes. Both types of flooring have their respective pros and cons. They both offer great value to your home through their practical and aesthetic uses.

In this article, we will highlight the differences between vinyl vs. laminate flooring. You will know which type of flooring is ideal for your home. Furthermore, you will learn how to pick between them.

Compared to solid hardwood, both vinyl and laminate flooring are budget-friendly options. But which one is best for your kitchen? Which one is easier to install? You will get your answers to these questions and more in this article.

Why Your Choice of Flooring Matters

You may be stuck on how to choose between vinyl vs. laminate flooring. Regardless, both options offer a plethora of basic functions that will benefit your home. However, picking the wrong or inappropriate flooring may hamper the value of your home.

We live in an age of simple sophistication where we deal with smaller but efficient items. Therefore, wherever you stand on the vinyl vs. laminate flooring debate, you need something easy yet durable.

You don’t want to constantly spend money changing or refurbishing your flooring frequently. Hence, you need the right knowledge to determine which to pick between vinyl and laminate flooring. This will save you a great amount of money and stress in the long run.

What is Vinyl Flooring?

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a type of flooring made from purely synthetic materials. It has a base made of fibreglass with a PVC coating. It is primarily known for its strong resistance to moisture

It consists of four main layers which all work together to keep the material strong. Firstly, it has a backing layer that serves as its foundation and a major benefit of vinyl flooring.

It also possesses a solid vinyl core which is highly dense and rigid. This makes up the majority of the vinyl flooring. This is a major reason for its high water resistance often noted in the vinyl vs. laminate flooring debate.

Next, it has a print layer that carries the required image of the material you want to mimic. This layer can resemble materials from wood, stone, leather, and more. This serves as the beautifier of the flooring.

Lastly, you have the wear layer which is the shield of the flooring. It protects against scratches and dents and helps to preserve the integrity of the floor. The thicker the wear layer, the more long-lasting the flooring will be.

Related article: Buying Guide to Vinyl Flooring

Features of Vinyl Flooring

Features of Vinyl Flooring

This section is a determining factor on where you stand on the vinyl vs. laminate flooring debacle. We will note the pros and cons of vinyl flooring.

Vinyl flooring is very advantageous when installed in rooms that are usually more exposed to water. It lasts long in kitchens and bathrooms. This feature is one of the lingering benefits of vinyl flooring.

Due to its synthetic nature, you can easily clean vinyl flooring with wet mops and damp rags. Pieces of the flooring are easily replaceable in the advent of damages. You can purchase new segments to patch old ones without replacing the entire section.

The wear protection offers strong stain resistance. Pet accidents and food spillages don’t stay long even after they dry up. You can use water or other home cleaning agents to get rid of stains.

However, vinyl flooring isn’t perfect as it has its fair share of weaknesses. Despite its wear protection, heavy furniture can severely scrape the vinyl flooring. It is prone to fading over time due to overexposure to sunlight. Also, you need to install area rugs and curtains at places more susceptible to excess sunlight.

Vinyl flooring goes over concrete, so this can make it cold and hard to walk on. There is very little insulation underneath its padding. Hence, you may need to purchase extra insulating materials to provide warmth to the flooring.


  • Highly resistant to moisture
  • Ideal for wet areas like the bathroom
  • It is easy to replace parts
  • Cleaning and stain removal is undemanding
  • Great resistance to stain


  • Heavy furniture can easily dent the flooring
  • Prone to fading over time due to sunlight
  • Weak insulation
  • Requires extra padding for warmth

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate Flooring

This is a more natural option in the vinyl vs. laminate flooring community. Laminate flooring is made from mostly natural wood. It has a very realistic natural look compared to solid hardwood but with less weight.

It has a four-layer structure that contributes to its function. Furthermore, it has a stabilizing layer which is its base. This layer serves as the foundation and backbone.

Next, it possesses a core layer which consists of its natural wood. The core layer is rigid and tough against deformities. It makes up most of the laminate flooring.

It has a print layer that carries the high definition imagery of the item to mimic. This serves as a major decider on which to pick between vinyl and laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is known to provide a more realistic replication of wood which enhances resale value.

The last layer is the wear layer or overlay which offers protection from scratches. The lamination offers great resistance to scrapes and dents. Additionally, due to the high resemblance to natural wood, it hides scratches well.

Features of Laminate Flooring

Features of Laminate Flooring

It is well regarded in the vinyl vs. laminate flooring debate for its more realistic look. Laminate flooring perfectly replicates the imperfections of real wood. It features the natural imperfections like the knots and coloration of the wood.

We will be looking at the pros and cons of laminate flooring in this section. Apart from the more natural look of laminate flooring, it is also very comfortable. There is flexibility in its core layer that makes it easy on the feet.

Most laminate flooring comes with underlayment in the core layer. This helps to trap heat more and provide warmth to the wood. This will favour both homeowners and pets.

Laminate flooring typically provides more aesthetic beauty. Its appearance is more lifelike and this contributes immensely to the value of a home.

However, not all that glitters is gold, or in this case, not all that shines. Laminate flooring is notoriously weak to moisture. Water can severely damage the wood inlay and cause it to warp.

Additionally, any damage to the flooring requires a total replacement. It does not have easily substitutable parts.

Installation can be tedious as wood is hard and needs to be cut with a circular saw. Professional help is often needed to complete the setup. It requires more demanding maintenance.


  • Natural and realistic look
  • Comfortable to walk on
  • It preserves heat and offers insulation
  • It has a high resale value for your home
  • It is more environmentally friendly
  • It is less prone to fading


  • Moisture damages it easily
  • Requires high maintenance
  • It is more demanding to install
  • Needs replacement of entire sections in case of damages

The Differences between Vinyl and Laminate Flooring

Both floorings are exceptionally durable and efficient. However, there is a clear difference between vinyl and laminate flooring.  Either one of the floorings has a clear advantage over the other.

It is important to note that both floorings can be used interchangeably across the entire house. You can get the best of both worlds from the vinyl vs. laminate flooring world. Here are the key differences that will determine which to pick between vinyl and laminate flooring.

Vinyl Flooring Laminate Flooring
It is 100% artificial It is mostly natural
Highly resistant against moisture Susceptible to moisture damage
Easy to maintain and clean High cleaning and maintenance cost
Longer lifespan due to synthetic nature Long lifespan dependent on constant care
It is mostly cold and hard It is warm and insulating
Good for wet areas like bathrooms Good for visible entry rooms like the parlor
Prone to fading Less prone to fading
Can be dented by heavy furniture More resistant to heavy furniture drag
More costly to install Less costly to install
More aesthetically pleasing Less aesthetically pleasing


Which to Pick Between Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring

At the end of the day, vinyl vs. laminate flooring will always be contested. Regardless, you can always decide which flooring is best suited for you.

Aside from the key differences, personal choices and taste also factor in making your decision. Either one will work for your home. You must take note of which to pick between vinyl and laminate flooring to favour you.

Vinyl flooring is the best choice for your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen. It’s extremely water-resistant properties will ensure that standing water doesn’t damage it. It also has easily repairable parts that may deform from dampness.

Laminate flooring is great for more public sections of the house. It works for the living room and bedrooms. It’s more natural outlook makes it exceedingly appealing to the eyes.

The best form of action is to use both floorings to maximize the best value. By combining the properties of both vinyl vs. laminate flooring, you increase your home’s worth.

Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring

Vinyl and Laminate Flooring: Cost in Canada

Are you looking to buy laminate floors or to buy vinyl floors in Canada? Here are the approximate prices for purchasing either flooring.

Vinyl flooring costs about $2 to $5 per foot and about $130 per 100 square foot. There is an extended cost of $380 when professional installation is involved.

Laminate flooring costs between $2 to $8 per square foot and about $150 per 100 square foot. Additional installation can cost up to $380 when done professionally.

Related article: What is the Cost of Laminate Flooring?


Now that you understand the major differences in vinyl vs. laminate flooring, it’s time to make your choice. Make sure to do an overview of your home beforehand.

Determine the wet areas that vinyl flooring will be best for. Note the more open and obvious spots that will make the laminate flooring thrive. This will make it easy to decide how to choose between vinyl vs. laminate flooring.

Once you have made your observations, head down to our online store at LV Flooring. We offer a wide range of top-quality vinyl and laminate flooring options. We also have consultants to advise you on the best choice for you. Start shopping today! 

Related article: How to Install Laminate Flooring

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