In recent years, laminate and luxury vinyl floors have been offering the look of stone and hardwood at a much lower price. Both had a rocky start when they first hit the market, and both have benefited from recent innovations. But how do they compare to each other? And which ones are better in Gainesville? We’ll discuss that here.
Each mill has its own process, but generally, laminate floors have a wood fiber core. This core is held together and strengthened by an adhesive (such as melamine), topped with a photographic layer, and protected by a wear layer.
As expected, luxury vinyl floors are mostly composed of vinyl. But unlike the earlier days of sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tiles and planks feature a multi-layered design. The bottom is composed of a base layer that offers enhanced stability. A separate core (also composed of vinyl) is attached to the top of the base layer. It enhances durability without sacrificing flexibility. The top layer features a high-resolution photograph topped with a transparent wear layer.
Durability of Luxury Vinyl Flooring and Laminate
While both luxury vinyl flooring and laminate are durable, the former tends to offer the most durability. Part of this is just due to the extremely versatile nature of vinyl. It’s typically protected by warranties that exceed 15 years, whereas most laminate floors are protected by 5-10 year warranties.
Water Resistant vs Waterproof Flooring
All luxury vinyl floors are waterproof, and all laminate flooring is water resistant. Only some laminate floors are completely waterproof. If you’re planning to install laminate floors in areas prone to moisture, carefully check the documentation first.
So what’s the difference?
Water resistant flooring has an absorption rate. This means that the floor can absorb some amount of moisture. We typically only think of carpet as being absorbent, but hard surfaces can absorb moisture as well. It’s typically lower for laminate floors, so spills aren’t a concern as long as they’re cleaned relatively quickly. but if water-resistant floors are exposed to excessive moisture frequently, it could cause each plank or tile to expand, leading to more damage to the surrounding flooring.
It’s also important to consider the installation technique. Even if the floor itself is waterproof, the method of installation may not prevent moisture from seeping into the supfloor. If this happens, it can cause damage while promoting mold and mildew growth. Even worse, moisture damage to the subfloor is nearly impossible to detect until costly repairs are needed. Click-installation is an example of a technique that completely prevents moisture from reaching the subfloor. It creates a barrier that locks out water, even if it’s not cleaned right away.
Laminate and luxury vinyl flooring were both designed to be affordable alternatives to their wood and stone counterparts. They are the most affordable hard surface flooring options available, and their prices tend to be pretty similar. However, luxury vinyl flooring typically lasts longer, so it usually offers the most long-term value.
Ready to make an informed choice for your home? Visit Gainesville’s leading flooring experts at CarpetsPlus COLORTILE to get started.