What Is the Difference Between Laminate and Vinyl Plank Flooring?


Quick Answer

Vinyl plank flooring is completely moisture resistant, making it the preferred flooring for bathrooms. Laminate flooring is sturdier than vinyl, and it incorporates actual wood content, which makes it comfortable to walk on and warm to the touch.

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Full Answer

Vinyl plank flooring is printed and cut to look like wooden boards, with a thickness that ranges from 2 to 5 millimeters. Laminate boards are thicker, ranging from 6 to 12 millimeters, with a pressed-wood core. Vinyl flooring can be completely waterproof when it is installed without seams. Laminate flooring has only a mild resistance to water, and it swells and warps over time when exposed to moisture. Moisture damage on laminate can occur in areas where water tends to pool, such as next to sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers and dishwashers.

Laminate boards allow for floating installation, which places the locked tiles together over a subfloor and cork pad without the use of glue. Vinyl plank pieces are typically glued onto a clean subfloor or the existing flooring. The easiest-to-install vinyl planks have self-stick backings. While vinyl plank flooring can come in already cut, tile-sized squares, laminate flooring requires a hand saw, circular saw or fine-bladed table saw to make adjustments.

Homebuyers tend to be critical of vinyl flooring used outside of the bathroom, and it can negatively affect a home’s value. Laminate flooring is more favorably looked upon and improves the selling price of a home.

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