Vinyl vs laminate

Vinyl vs laminate

Home decoration and renovation can be exciting, but with so many big decisions involved it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – and concerned about the impact on your wallet! Choosing flooring for your home can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to decide between similar types like vinyl and laminate. 

These two flooring types share a lot of similar properties, but there are differences too. We wanted to help make one decision a little easier by giving you all the information you could need on vinyl and laminate flooring.

This guide to vinyl and laminate will explain their practical and aesthetic qualities. We’ll also be taking a look at which is cheaper, and which rooms are best suited to laminate or vinyl. Finally, we’ll summarise the differences that can help you decide whether you should choose laminate or vinyl.

Vinyl vs laminate: everything you need to know

Whether you want to completely overhaul the kitchen or spruce up the bathroom, these two common flooring options sometimes get confused with one another – but we’re here to give you the full breakdown and show you there are some distinct differences between the two!

Durability

Vinyl flooring is a practical, durable, and stylish addition to any room in your house, Vinyl is made from different layers of synthetic materials including a protective sealed topcoat, making it extremely sturdy, with great water-resistant and scuff-proof qualities. There are two types of vinyl – sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tiles. Both types are made similarly, they’re just laid differently.

You can find out more about how vinyl flooring is made and the breakdown of its composition in our guide to ‘What is vinyl flooring?’. 

Laminate flooring is also made of multiple layers, including a thick wood-based core of high-density fibreboard, which helps to give the individual planks their impressive strength. Laminate can last as long as 30+ years! Our guide to ‘What is laminate flooring?’ can help you can find out more about how laminate is made and its different benefits. 

Maintenance

Both styles of flooring are very easy to maintain, with just a simple dust, vacuum, and a damp mop (with as little water as possible in the case of laminate flooring). However, it is worth noting that vinyl flooring has stronger water-resistant properties thanks to its tough top layer – you can find out more about how to take care of vinyl flooring in our vinyl care guide. Vinyl can withstand more moisture-prone areas and maintenance than laminate can. If water penetrates laminate flooring’s clear protective top layer, it could damage the imprinted textured image beneath and ruin the aesthetic of your room. 

  • Tapi Top Tip - Avoid using steam cleaners on both flooring types! 

Installation
 

Laminate and vinyl are fitted in different ways. Laminate works in the click-and-lock system – separate boards with unique grooves slot together and click in place, locking the entire flooring piece together as one. 

Vinyl tends to come in either flexible sheets or tiles. Rigid-click luxury vinyl tiles work similarly to laminate in that they click and lock together, while sheet vinyl comes in a large roll that you lay in large sheets. Both can be tricky to fit, so we’d always recommend you let our expert flooring fitters take care of it for you. You can arrange a fitting to get it sorted quickly and efficiently. 

Style

When it comes to the visual aesthetic of these two flooring types, they can look surprisingly similar, and both have the option of embossing for more realistic effects. They are both cheaper alternatives than real wood or tiles. Vinyl is great for recreating the visual effect of tiles, while laminate is best for mimicking real wood. 

Which is cheaper: laminate or vinyl?

If cost is the deciding factor for you when it comes to choosing between laminate or vinyl, then you’ll want the nitty-gritty facts. All in all, both laminate and vinyl are great cost-effective methods of getting the aesthetic of stone or wood in your home without having to break the bank on the real deal. The main advantage of vinyl over laminate is vinyl doesn’t need an underlay, as it already has a built-in spongy soft layer that makes it soft to walk on. 

The cheapest laminate currently on offer at Tapi is £14.99 per sq. meter, and the cheapest vinyl is £16.99. There will also be additional accessories needed, such as edging strips, threshold transition strips and scotia when fitting most flooring types, so it’s worth bearing in mind that these are not the final costs. 

Based on a 4x4 room, and excluding fitting and accessory costs, our cheapest vinyl flooring would cost roughly £272 while the cheapest laminate option would cost approximately £240. There's a handy flooring cost calculator on all of our product pages that can estimate how much your floor will cost (excluding fitting). 

When to choose vinyl flooring

Choose vinyl flooring if:
  • You’re concerned about water or humidity in the room you’re decorating (vinyl is always a wise choice for bathrooms!) 
  • You like a softer, slightly cushioned feeling underfoot, or want to reduce the sound of your footfalls without opting for carpet.
  • You want flooring without underlay.
  • You want to imitate stone or tile flooring without the expense.
  • You’d like to explore a wide range of bright colours and patterns.

When to choose laminate flooring

Choose laminate flooring if:
  • You want a sustainable option for eco-friendly flooring. The wood used for our laminate floors is responsibly sourced by our manufacturers and can be recycled.
  • You like the smooth, sturdy look and feel of hardwood floors – but not the cost of the real thing.
  • You want low maintenance flooring that’s easy to clean with just the swipe of a slightly damp mop.
  • You want flooring that is much cheaper to buy and fit (and easier to fit too!) than real wood.
  • You want the reassurance of flooring with a hygienic anti-bacterial topcoat.
 
Still unsure whether laminate or vinyl is right for you? We’re happy to book a free home visit for you today to talk it through. Or if you’ve made up your mind and are ready to choose either vinyl or laminate flooring, visit your local Tapi store for a look at all the incredible samples that we have.
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