When it comes to the wonderful world of affordable flooring, you definitely have some options. What’s more, if you want budget-friendly and easy-to-clean flooring, then any expert will tell you to look no further than laminate and vinyl flooring. Often promoted together due to their similarities, there are actually several key differences between these two types of flooring. Thus, to assist you in choosing the right flooring for your needs, here’s a quick overview of the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring.

What’s the difference?

One of the key dissimilarities between vinyl and laminate flooring is their composition. Vinyl flooring is predominately made of synthetic plastic material. In general, vinyl sheets that are used for standard flooring have a fiberglass base that’s coated in PVC vinyl and a plasticizer. The other more commonly used vinyl flooring, vinyl plank, has a thicker core and multiple layers of PVC vinyl. Note that the thicker vinyl flooring is often referred to as luxury vinyl planks. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, has a similar look to luxury vinyl. However, laminate is almost 100 percent wood product versus plastic. Moreover, the core is wood and bonded with resins instead.

What’s laminate?

Laminate, as briefly mentioned, is mainly wood or wood byproduct. This particular kind of flooring has more of a 3D embossing, which means it can mimic the look of other surfaces like ceramic, wood, or stone. Furthermore, laminate ranges from 6 mm to 12 mm in thickness and tends to have a specific use. A prime example is if you’re looking to install flooring in areas of your home that often come into contact with water, then laminate isn’t the recommended choice. Rather, laminate is better-suited for dry home areas such as the living room, bedrooms, dining room, or a home office.

Pros and cons

There are a few advantages and disadvantages when dealing with laminate flooring. For instance, a major perk with laminate is there are almost endless style options. Also, laminate is one of the more durable and resilient kinds of flooring. Bonuses to this flooring type are that it’s easy-to-clean and comes with a decent warranty when professionally installed.

That said, laminate flooring has a couple of drawbacks. In fact, a major disadvantage of laminate flooring is that it can’t be refinished. Thus, if you want to give this flooring a makeover, you won’t be pleased with the outcome. Other notable drawbacks include its slippery surface, lack of water-resistance (not waterproof), and a sometimes fake appearance depending on the chosen style. Laminate also doesn’t last as long as vinyl flooring.

When to choose laminate

When is the right time for laminate flooring? Well, as mentioned earlier, if you’re looking to spruce up your dining room or want an inexpensive flooring type for a home addition like a home office, then there’s no reason not to go with laminate. The truth is laminate flooring looks good in entryways and other highly visible home areas, thanks to its resemblance to natural hardwood. Moreover, laminate feels very comfortable underfoot and provides a warm or more cozy ambiance due to its thickness and overall composition. Thus, as long as you know what you’re getting into, laminate flooring can be a good carpet alternative.

What’s vinyl?

Alternatively, vinyl flooring isn’t only waterproof, but it also comes in three main types—WPC (wood place and polymer composite) vinyl, vinyl plank, and rigid core. In general, all types of vinyl flooring are comprised of 4 different layers (the wear, print vinyl, solid vinyl core, and backing layers) and looks fairly realistic overall. Additionally, vinyl flooring ranges from 1.5 mm to 5 mm and can be installed just about anywhere. If you want inexpensive flooring for your bathroom, mudroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room, or throughout the whole house, you can use vinyl flooring. Even high traffic areas can have vinyl floors.

Pros and cons

In terms of advantages and disadvantages, vinyl has just as many pros as it does cons. For example, vinyl flooring is comfortable underfoot, reduces noise, and is affordable. Vinyl flooring also comes in various shades, patterns, and colors that match just about any kind of decor. Plus, you have your choice of different life-like wood grains. If you’d like to peruse the available wood grains for vinyl flooring, go to and see how versatile vinyl flooring truly is.

With that said, vinyl flooring doesn’t do well with heavy loads or items. Furthermore, sharp objects can easily damage your flooring, and colors often fade in the sun or with direct sun exposure. Intense heat can also be a problem for vinyl floors. Similarly, extreme cold can cause your floors to crack. For these two reasons alone, vinyl flooring is never recommended for outdoor use or indoor/outdoor structures like patios or near pocket doors.

When to choose vinyl

Ultimately, choosing vinyl flooring can be a little tricky for the above-mentioned pros and cons. Obviously, you want your flooring to last a long time. As a result, you need to make sure you opt for vinyl flooring in the right areas throughout your home. Though vinyl is sensitive to heat, cold, and direct sunlight, it’s fairly durable as well as easy to maintain. Therefore, you should choose vinyl flooring when you want to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom floors. Another great place for vinyl flooring is in smaller apartments, or even in an above garage apartment.


Overall, both flooring options can improve the general look and feel of your home. Nevertheless, it’s still important to know the difference between the two flooring types, and choose a flooring professional who understands which style is right for your project. That said, there really is no clear winner here. Ultimately, depending on your needs, budget, and intended use, one flooring type is likely to be better-suited than the other.