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What’s the Difference Between Luxury Vinyl and Laminate Flooring?

canoe bay laminate flooring tacoma AcaciaWhen considering a new floor installation and researching popular flooring products and properties, you might be wondering what the difference is between luxury vinyl  and laminate flooring products.  It can be difficult to know which flooring is the best choice for your installation that will provide all the characteristics you desire and result in the best value for your investment.  There are many things to consider when deciding on the best flooring product for your room, knowing the difference between materials and their properties will help guide you in the right direction.

It can be difficult to know the difference between luxury vinyl and laminate flooring as advancements in manufacturing technology have closed the gap with significant improvements in both materials.  Both laminate and luxury vinyl are promoted as DIY friendly, budget friendly and durable with similarities in appearance with both materials coming in convincing replicas of natural wood planks or stone tiles.  While both materials have many similarities, they are quite different in composition and provide varying levels of protection against moisture.

Composition of Luxury Vinyl and Laminate Flooring 

There are significant differences in the composition of the luxury vinyl compared to laminate flooring, with vinyl flooring made with 100% synthetic material.  Sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles may have a fiberglass base coated with PVC vinyl and a plasticizer, a printed surface layer on top covered with a protective polyurethane for a no-wax coating.  A closed foam lower layer provides some cushion for resilience.

Luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile is also manufactured with synthetic material although the core is a multi-layer PVC vinyl in thicker LVP planks or LVT tiles.  These luxury vinyl flooring products can be thinner than laminates with sheet vinyl as thin as 1.5 mm and LVP or LVT close to 5 mm.  Laminate flooring ranges in thickness from 6mm to 12mm, providing added durability in high traffic areas. 

Laminate flooring is similar to luxury vinyl with simple installation and appearance, although the difference in core composition is a critical consideration.  Laminate contains a core layer composed of rigid fiberboard made with wood byproducts and resins, and a hard plastic surface layer with the printed design.

Water Resistance of Luxury Vinyl and Laminate Flooring

Due to the fiberboard core of laminate flooring, nearly all laminate products are not waterproof therefore are not recommended for rooms exposed to moisture such as damp basements or bathrooms.  Flooring manufacturers offer some laminate products with a water resistance feature, although no laminate should be installed in rooms with exposure to standing water such as family bathrooms or basements.  Luxury vinyl may be the best choice for these flooring installations.

In addition to water resistance properties, other characteristics worth comparing include:

Appearance  – Both luxury vinyl and laminate flooring manufacturing offer modern technology which produces remarkably realistic replicas of wood planks or stone tiles.

Cost – Both products are comparable in cost with sheet vinyl typically offering the least expensive option of all materials.  Both luxury vinyl and laminate will come in less expensive than real hardwood or ceramic stone tile.

Installation – There is not much difference in the ease of installation with either product, both coming in glue down, floating or interlocking styles.

For more information on the differences in flooring materials, work with a reputable flooring company with experience and quality materials.  Consulting with a flooring specialist will ensure the best material is installed in your room to provide maximum value with your investment.

Great Western Flooring is an experienced flooring and tile specialist, pleasing customers with over 35 years of providing quality materials with professional installation.  We offer free design consultations at any one of our conveniently located design centers is Naperville, Oswego or St. Charles.  Contact us today to learn more about how to choose the best flooring product for your installation and the difference between luxury vinyl and laminate flooring.


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