If you’re for looking for easy-care, budget-friendly flooring options, it can be hard to choose between vinyl and laminate.
Both flooring types share many similarities, but when it comes to certain important criteria vinyl offers superior performance that edges laminate into second place.
CONSTRUCTION Laminate consists of a high-density fibreboard core, with a moisture resistant backing and a transparent, wear-resistant top layer. Vinyl, too, is made in layers, with a durable and scratch-resistant textured surface, but while laminate is rigid, vinyl has a flexible feel. Unlike laminate, which requires an underlay, vinyl is an ‘all in one’ flooring solution, and its backing can be ‘tuned’ to provide certain benefits such as superior sound insulation or additional warmth and comfort.
DESIGN In aesthetic terms, there’s not much to tell vinyl and laminate apart: both can deliver the realistic look of wood or stone or even patterned ceramic tiles. But while the decor layer of laminate is usually a photographic image, vinyl can be digitally printed with any type of design, from stripes and abstract patterns to on-trend geometrics – meaning there’s more choice if you’re looking for a design that will stand out from the crowd.
PERFORMANCE Both vinyl and laminate are pet-proof, hardwearing and easy to maintain, requiring little more than vacuuming and damp mopping to look their best. However, it’s in their ability to withstand moisture that vinyl is the hands-down winner. While there are some specialist laminates on the market that promise resistance against spills, vinyl is 100 per cent waterproof, making it a stress-free flooring solution for splash-prone areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms.
COST There’s little to choose between laminate and vinyl when it comes to cost. Remember, though, that with a sheet vinyl floor – which fits snug to the wall, giving a crisp, clean look – you won’t need to shell out for skirting, threshold strips or underlay.