Carpet Roll

March 18, 2020

Vinyl Vs Linoleum Flooring — What’s The Difference?

If flooring could look like wood, but wasn’t real wood, which wood-look would you prefer?

When it comes to finding an attractive, durable and economical flooring for your home that’s highly versatile with unlimited design options, most Aussie homeowners will find themselves torn between Luxury Vinyl and Laminate flooring.

Some would argue the authenticity of luxury vinyl far exceeds the likes of laminate flooring, despite laminate flooring being made from actual wood byproducts.

Apart from boasting glorious and genuine good looks, luxury vinyl is made from 100% synthetic materials. 

Here’s a quick overview of the two types of flooring. (side by side comparison or table would be nice)

Quick Overview: Luxury Vinyl Vs Laminate Flooring

Quick look: Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring

 

Luxury Vinyl Flooring pros and cons

PROS

  • Much cheaper
  • Easier to install
  • Easy to clean and low maintenance
  • Soft underfoot
  • Noise absorption
  • Impervious to moisture
  • Can withstand radiant heat

CONS

  • Does not impact resale value
  • Cannot be repaired
  • May emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Shorter lifespan

 

Luxury Vinyl Flooring Layers

Vinyl is 100% plastic, made predominantly from fibreglass and PVC. It’s highly resistant to water and can be used in moist areas of the house such as laundries, bathrooms and kitchens. Luxury Vinyl is typically made up from the following layers, top to bottom:

  • Polyurethane coating (UV protection)
  • Wear layer
  • Design layer
  • Print layer
  • Fiberglass layer
  • Middle layer
  • Fibreglass layer
  • Back layer

 

Quick Look: Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring

Laminate Flooring pros and cons

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Beautiful and authentic appearance
  • Easy installation
  • Durable
  • Resilient, fade resistant
  • Can add to resale value

CONS

  • Highly susceptible to water and moisture damage
  • Hard underfoot
  • Chemicals used in adhesives
  • Harder to clean compared to vinyl

 

Laminate Flooring Layers

Unlike vinyl flooring, laminate at the core is made from 99% wood byproducts fused with resins. In terms of layers, it has a similar construct to vinyl where there is a base underlay, core layer, design and wear layer, as well as a polyurethane coating to seal it off.

  • Polyurethane coating (uv protection)
  • Wear layer
  • Design layer
  • Substrate/core layer (99% wooden core)
  • Base layer

 

Let’s compare the two using 5 characteristics

To help differentiate between the two floor types, we discuss the characteristics of each floor based on 5 qualities:

  • Visual Appeal
  • Durability (water and heat resistance)
  • Ease of Installation
  • Care, Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Cost

 

Visual Appeal

Most people in the market for wood-look flooring that’s comparable to genuine hardwood tend to steer towards luxury vinyl planks (LVP) or laminate flooring. 

Apart from costing a lot less than hardwood, and being far easier to maintain and clean, the most important factor is how well does it mimic the beautifully good looks for hardwood flooring. Or is it a cheap imitation?

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury Vinyl Planks has become increasingly popular amongst Aussie homeowners for a number of reasons, including a wide selection of designs, styles, colour variations, textures and patterns to replicate the appearance of wood flooring. 

Thanks to advancements in technology, deeper embossing means you can now achieve genuine hardwood looks for a fraction of the cost.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate on the other hand, is made from real wood with a real wooden core, except the design on top, is made from a 3-dimensional photographic layer. 

However, it’s with this accurate representation of the material — be it wood, ceramic or stone — that makes laminate’s visual  appeal far superior to vinyl. 

Best looking floor verdict: Laminate.

While both floor types come with their own set of pros and cons in other departments, when it comes to visual appeal laminate flooring is the clear winner. With modern printing techniques injecting a sense of realism, laminate now comes in a wide range of colour variations, wood species and textures, and of course it’s hardened top surface gives it a more realistic feel underfoot.

 

Durability, Water and Heat Resistance

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring is generally quite durable and holds up well under pressure, even in areas with heavy foot traffic. 

It’s highly resistant to water and is virtually waterproof, providing it has been installed correctly. This means it can be used in wet/moist environments such as the bathroom, kitchen or laundry.

However, because vinyl is soft underfoot it’s not completely immune to damage. There’s a risk of the vinyl tearing or ripping from dragging heavy furniture or sharp claws from pets, or active children running a muck through homes.

 

Laminate Flooring

Like vinyl plank flooring, laminate is also highly durable and is ideal for homes with pets and children. It’s extremely resistant to damages and does not need to be regularly refinished like genuine hardwood. 

Laminate is also highly resistant to fading and can withstand exposure to sunlight over long periods of time, more so than vinyl.

However, laminate is subjected to scratches, chipping, as well as delamination if exposed to water for too long. Laminate is not 100% waterproof. Long exposure to standing water or moisture will result in the laminate warping, buckling and separating.

Most durable floor verdict: Luxury vinyl

While both floor types are UV resistant and work well exposed in direct sunlight, able to withstand heavy foot traffic, and are somewhat water resistant, with vinyl more so than laminate. It’s because of this one key factor, luxury vinyl is 100% waterproof, that it is our clear winner for most durable floor type. 

 

Ease of Installation

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl planks use a click-and-lock system where planks simply click together for an easier install and can be done DIY. Because vinyl is a softer material, you can cut and score pieces to suit your space using a utility knife. 

Sheet vinyl on the other hand, can be quite difficult to DIY install. Sheets come in large, heavy sizes and will need to be cut to size to fit your space. It can be quite complicated to make accurate measurements and cuts from sheet goods. 

If you’re installing vinyl sheet, it’s in your best interest to seek professional installation.

 

Laminate Flooring

Similar to luxury vinyl planks, laminate also uses a click-and-lock installation method, referred to as ‘tongue and groove’. The tongue of one plank is fitted into the groove of an adjoining plank at an angle and is pressed down until it is level with the other plank.

This click and lock system draws other boards together and closes up the seams. However, laminate is not so easy to cut and will require either circular saw or table saw. 

Laminate also needs an underlayment installed above the subfloor to remove any minor deviations and improve acoustics.

Easiest floor to install verdict: Vinyl Planks 

The race for easiest floor to install is somewhat of a draw. Both types of flooring utilise a click-and-lock system which allows for an easy DIY installation. That said, installing vinyl planks require less tools and steps making it easier to install than laminate.

 

Care, Cleaning and Maintenance

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

One of vinyls strongest features is that it is extremely easy to maintain and clean. Being able to use a wet mop if necessary means it’s far easier to clean and remove dirt, grime and stains, as well as use safe cleaning products.

Daily cleaning methods involve a simple sweep, mop or vacuum to remove dirt and dust. It does not require any waxing as its shine is easily retained with regular care and maintenance. Mild cleansers are more than enough to remove tough stains. 

Although you can easily restore the floors dull appearance using polish or a product designed for no-wax flooring.

Laminate Flooring

Similar to LVP, laminate is just as easy to clean and maintain, although a few precautions should be taken to avoid damaging the floor. 

Daily cleaning methods involve a simple sweep, dust mop or vacuum, making sure your vacuum does not have a beater bar as this can scratch, dent and do irreversible damage. 

Water and spills should be cleaned up immediately to prevent any warping, separation or buckling of the laminate, as you would have already read under the Durability section.

Avoid using a wet mop at all costs on laminate. If you do need to remove a stain or sticky substance, use a soap-free cleaning solution mixed into a spray bottle. Spray the affected area and then wipe it off using a cloth or dry mop.

Easiest floor to clean and maintain verdict: Luxury Vinyl

Both types of flooring are fairly easy to clean and maintain, however, vinyl plank flooring has an advantage when it comes to care and maintenance. Having the freedom to wet-mop the floor without the use of speciality cleaners makes it easier to care and maintain regularly.

 

Cost

How much does Luxury Vinyl Plank cost?

For supply and installation you can expect to pay the following prices listed below. However, if you choose to DIY, expect to pay a little less.

  • $30 per square metre for budget vinyl flooring
  • $35 – $45 per square metre for standard quality
  • $55 – $90 per square metre for luxury vinyl plank flooring

 

How much does Luxury Vinyl Tile cost?

For supply and installation you can expect to pay the following prices listed below. However, if you choose to DIY, expect to pay a little less.

  • $55 – $65+ per square metre for high quality vinyl tiles 
  • $55 – $60+ per square metre for high vinyl tile 

 

How much does Laminate Flooring cost?

The cost of laminate flooring is influenced by a number of factors including the type of material, texture, design and ease of installation. Expect to pay — 

  • $18 to $25 per square metre for lower quality laminate wood flooring. Plus an additional $42 to $45 per square metre for installation, including underlay.
  • $40 to $100 per square metre for good to high quality laminate wood flooring, plus an additional $30 to $40 per square metre for installation.

Better quality underlay adds between $5 to $10 per square metre to the overall cost.

 

What’s the best choice out of Luxury Vinyl and Laminate flooring?

Overall, each type of flooring has its own set of pros and cons. They are both cost-effective alternatives to traditional hardwood, and more recently natural stone tiles.

Laminate produces a more genuine look and realistic feel, and comes in a wide selection of textures, styles, colours and design which can complement any home. If carefully maintained and cleaned, laminate has the potential to retain its beauty for years to come.

On the other hand, luxury vinyl planks might just be the better option. Luxury vinyl is extremely durable and versatile, and is 100% waterproof, making it an ideal choice for bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms where moisture accumulates. It’s also easier to install for those who are looking for an easy DIY home project.

 

Still can’t decide? Speak to one of our friendly experts here at Jupps Floor Coverings Perth for some advice on choosing the best floor type suited to the demands of your home and lifestyle.