Choosing The Right Type Of Laminate Flooring

Laminate Vs Vinyl Flooring

Many people don’t understand the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring. The crucial difference lies in the composition.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is 100% synthetic. Each vinyl floor consists of the following:

  • A base layer of fibreglass, coated in PVC vinyl
  • A middle layer of vinyl foam
  • A plasticiser to make the vinyl flooring more flexible
  • A tough wear layer, such as no-wax polyurethane, to strengthen the vinyl
  • Fungicide to prevent mould
  • UV stabilisers to protect the floor from fading
  • A paper or felt backing made from wood pulp or calcium carbonate

During the design phase, the middle vinyl foam layer is printed and embossed with a surface print layer to create a decorative pattern. Then, a second protective layer is applied.

Vinyl comes in glue-down, loose-fit, and interlocking styles — the latter of which joins together like laminate flooring planks.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is made of high-density fibreboard, covered in a hard plastic laminate coating. The core layer of fibreboard is crafted from timber byproducts, bonded together with melamine resins.

Laminate Vs Vinyl: Aesthetics And Practicality

Like laminate flooring, vinyl flooring comes in designs that closely imitate the aesthetic of natural timber or stone.

Laminate flooring is typically thicker than vinyl flooring. While vinyl flooring ranges from 1.5 mm to 5mm thick, laminate planks are typically between 6mm to 12mm in thickness.

Vinyl Flooring Pros And Cons

Vinyl Floor Pros

  • 100% water resistant and ideal for higher-moisture areas
  • Commercial grade wear layers that can withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Durable
  • Low maintenance and easy to clean
  • Can be used on any flat subfloor, including cement, granite, tile or laminate
  • Affordable
  • Ideal for use in bathrooms

Vinyl Floor Cons

  • Vinyl is thinner than laminate
  • Can be difficult to remove if glued down
  • Can be punctured with very sharp objects
  • Can show fading and discolouration with excessive UV exposure
  • Softer material than most laminates, hardwoods and tiles
  • Not biodegradable and can be difficult to recycle

The pros and cons of laminate flooring

Laminate flooring has different pros and cons, which makes it either a valuable or regrettable purchase, depending on a homeowner’s needs. Here are some laminate pros and cons:

ProsLaminate Flooring

Ease of installation

Laminate flooring is easy to install, so you could probably do it yourself. Laminate planks are clicked and locked together. They’re installed on top of a clean and flat subfloor, so a plank can be easily replaced if needed.

Versatility

Laminate flooring can be made to imitate virtually any type of floor, including tile, hardwood, or stone flooring. The options are virtually endless when it comes to laminate flooring. While it’s obviously not the real thing, it’ll still give your home a beautiful look.

Affordable

Typically speaking, laminate flooring costs about $4.50 – $5.00 per square foot. This is much less expensive than some other flooring options. The low pricing of laminate flooring can justify some of its shortcomings.

Easy to clean

Laminate surfaces are multi-layered. One of those layers is a wear layer. The wear layer offers support and protection to the surface. It prevents scratches and the sudden appearance of seams. As a result, the surface maintains its flatness. Ultimately, all that is needed to keep a laminate floor clean is a broom and a vacuum.

Cons of Laminate Flooring

It’s Not Wood

Sure, it looks like wood- but laminate flooring is not actual hardwood flooring, and potential home buyers will be able to tell. This might be a sticking point for some people who desire classic hardwood, though others might not really care.

Generally, though, real wood will bring in a higher resale value than laminate flooring. If you’re looking to boost the value of your home, hardwood might be a better bet.

Replacement, Not Repair

Hardwood floors, if they’ve been damaged, can be sanded or refinished. They’re easier to damage, but they’re also easier to fix.

Laminate flooring, on the other hand, must be replaced in order to undo damage. After all, laminate is essentially just a high-quality photograph of real wood. It’s much harder to scratch laminate flooring, but it can happen.

Reasons Why People Choose Laminate

Choosing a new floor isn’t easy. The supply is virtually infinite these days, and every type of flooring has its own pros and cons. Increasingly, people are choosing laminate flooring, which combines the authentic look of a natural floor with many practical advantages AND a great price.

A laminate floor is made up of four layers. The base of the floor is an extremely strong, stable and moisture-proof HDF panel. The backing plate below it guarantees that the core cannot warp or collapse. On top of the HDF panel comes the ‘decor panel’: a very high resolution photo of authentic wood planks or tiles, that is simulated to the smallest detail. The decor layer is finished with resin, and topping that is a final transparent, wear-resistant upper layer to provide the ultimate protection for the floor. Thanks to this unique construction, the laminate floor cannot be distinguished from a floor that is made from real wood or natural stone, but it does offer quite a few practical advantages.

1. Suitable for every room

Laminate floors can be used in every room. Even for kitchens and bathrooms there are waterproof floors with extra protection. The anti-static surface and the seamless click system prevent dust and dirt from collecting on or between the planks, which is an ideal feature for childrens’ rooms. You can even cover a complete staircase using laminate.

With the correct subfloor, you can even place laminate on under floor heating without hassle. And the robust core panels of Quick-Step laminate floors provide a solid, pleasant sound which means they are also ideal for apartments or houses with several floors.

2. Extremely strong

Quick-Step offers a minimum 20 year warranty on all its laminate floors. Thanks to the extremely strong core panels AND the patented ‘Scratch Guard’ upper layer, they are exceptionally durable and hardwearing. The laminate floors are able to cope with scratches, playing kids, stiletto heels, the shock of heavy, falling objects and even scorch marks. Modern laminate floors are so hardwearing that these days they are increasingly fitted in public places with high footfall, such as shops and airports.

You also don’t need to worry about spilling water or other liquids: simply mop up the fluid as quickly as possible and it won’t have time to penetrate into the planks. Worried about moving your furniture because you are afraid of discoloration? Even that is unnecessary: the protective layer means that Quick-Step floors keep their original color year after year even when exposed to sunlight.

3. Easy to maintain

Thanks to the protective top layer, laminate floors are very easy to keep clean. Dirt cannot penetrate the wood and a regular clean with a dry or lightly dampened fiber cloth will suffice to keep your floor in perfect condition for decades. You don’t need to sand, scrub or oil laminate floors. Black marks or stubborn stains can easily be removed with Quick-Step clean.

In addition, all Quick-Step floors have an anti-static surface. That means they attract a lot less dust than other floors AND they are suitable for people with allergies.

4. Quick and easy to install

In comparison with other floors, laminate is extremely easy to install. Thanks to the handy click system all the planks fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. You don’t need glue, stabilized sand or mortar to lay a perfectly level and stable floor.

Of course you can call in an expert, but with a minimum of DIY skills you can lay a completely new floor yourself in less than a day, without any problems. Even better: a laminate floor can also be taken up quickly and even moved. If somehow it should happen that a plank does get damaged over the years, then you can simply replace it.

5. Lifelike

Thanks to the newest techniques, a laminate floor is indistinguishable from a real timber floor. Even the texture of real timber, such as the knots, cracks and flaws, can be perfectly simulated. You have the choice of virtually every type of timber, in nearly every possible shade and in various plank dimensions.