Compare Vinyl vs Laminate Flooring
Vinyl Floors Overview
Vinyl floors are highly versatile. They can be designed to look like wood, tile or marble. They’re inexpensive and have long been one of the most popular flooring materials.
Vinyl floors are available in three forms: planks, tiles or sheets. They can be installed right over many types of flooring, including plywood, subfloors, concrete, wood and existing vinyl.
Vinyl Flooring Costs
Vinyl flooring costs anywhere between $.50 and $5 per square foot. Most vinyl falls in the low-to-mid part of that price range - $5 per square foot is a lot to pay for vinyl. Installation costs another $1 to $2 per square foot.
Pros of Vinyl
- Fairly durable - Holds up well to foot traffic and is moisture resistant, making it a good choice for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.
- Quiet - Has a soft surface that won’t create much noise.
- Affordable - Among the least expensive of flooring options.
- Many design options - Available in a wide variety of styles, colors and designs; often designed to mimic others types of flooring.
Cons of Vinyl
- Prone to fading - Years of direct sunlight can significantly fade the color of your vinyl floors.
- Damaged by heavy/sharp objects - If you drop a heavy object or a knife, you’ll have to live with a visible dent or scratch.
- Not great for resale value - Most buyers aren’t excited about vinyl floors; the floors won’t boost your resale value and might even hurt it.
Laminate Flooring Overview
Laminate offers a similar look to hardwood at a much lower price point. The product is engineered using multiple layers of synthetic materials that are fused together. The top layer is designed to mimic hardwood.
Laminate Flooring Costs
Laminate flooring is slightly more expensive than vinyl. It sells for anywhere from $1 to $6 per square foot, although most varieties fall closer to the $2 to $4 price range. Occasionally, you’ll see high-quality laminates priced up to $7 per square foot. Installation costs an extra $1 to $5 per square foot.
Pros of Laminate
- Durable - Great for high-traffic areas and homes with kids and pets; the hard top layer makes it scratch-resistant and easy to clean.
- Easy to install - Some varieties offer glue-free, tongue-and-groove assembly that is ideal for do-it-yourselfers.
- Resale value - Better for resale value than vinyl, although it won’t command as much as authentic hardwood.
Cons of Laminate
- Fewer design options - There are fewer colors, designs and textures available then with vinyl or hardwood.
- Noisy - Walking over laminate flooring creates a lot of noise, which can be particularly unappealing if you have kids or pets.
- Not hardwood - Some buyers will insist on hardwood. Not everyone considers laminate a good substitute for the real stuff.
- Can’t be refinished - Unlike hardwood, you can’t sand and refinish laminate floors to remove scratches, scuffs and dents. As with vinyl, the floors have to be replaced.