There are many different flooring materials you can choose for your floors. Hardwood, vinyl, and laminate are three of the most popular flooring options on the market, and each one has its pros and cons.
But how do they compare? In this guide, we’ll take a look at hardwood vs laminate vs vinyl to help you see the advantages and disadvantages of each option and make the right choice.
An Overview of Laminate Flooring
Let’s begin our look at laminate vs vinyl vs hardwood with an overview of laminate flooring. One of the most popular and affordable types of flooring available right now, laminate floorings are known for their variety and versatility. There are many types of laminate flooring, styled to look like real wood and stone, or decorated with colorful and classy patterns.
In terms of construction, laminate flooring is made with a core of high-density fiberboard. A detailed image is printed off and glued onto the fiberboard to provide the flooring’s aesthetic. Then, a water-resistant laminate layer is sealed on top to complete the product.
Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring
Variety – One of the best things about laminate flooring is that it comes in a wide variety of styles, with many different wood and stone imitations to choose from.
Affordable – It’s cheap to install laminate flooring and cheap to buy it, too, so you can find a product to fit even the smallest of budgets.
Easy to Clean – Laminate floors are really easy to clean. You can wipe away most spills and marks with a wet cloth or mop and the strong waterproof outer layer resists water damage and stains.
Easy Installation – Laminate flooring comes in pre-made planks or tiles that fit together like a big jigsaw puzzle and are really easy to install.
Fake – Even though it can look a lot like metal, wood, or stone, laminate is not the real thing and doesn’t have the same texture or value.
Not Waterproof – Laminate is resistant to water, but it’s not entirely waterproof and too much moisture can do a lot of damage to this material.
An Overview of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl is another popular flooring material that has a lot to offer. A lot of homeowners favor this flooring material due to its affordability, water resistance, and strength. Plus, just like laminate, there’s a wide variety of different types of vinyl flooring, from luxury vinyl planks designed to look like a marble or fancy wood floor to more affordable sheets of vinyl.
So, how is it made? Well, vinyl plank flooring usually has three distinct layers. There’s the base or core layer, the design layer which gives the flooring its color and appearance, and then a surface or wears layer on top to protect the layers beneath from water damage and scratches.
Pros and Cons of Vinyl Flooring
Cheap – Vinyl is one of the cheapest flooring options to buy and install. It’s also very cheap to maintain.
Lots of Colors and Patterns – You can pick from a huge range of patterns, colors, and styles with vinyl flooring.
Easy Installation – Like laminate flooring, vinyl is really easy to install and often comes with its own self-adhesive for rapid set-up.
Quiet – Vinyl is great at absorbing noise and staying quiet, even in heavy traffic areas of the home.
Dents – It’s possible for vinyl floors to get dented if poorly handled or if heavy items fall onto them.
Difficult to Remove – Once installed, these floors are hard to get rid of, due to the strong adhesive that holds them in place.
An Overview of Hardwood Flooring
The final entry in our hardwood vs vinyl vs laminate comparison is hardwood. This is one of the oldest flooring products, and real wood has been used for floors throughout history, all over the globe. Hardwood flooring is known for its strength, beauty, and elegant appearance, adding class and style to any space.
Hardwood is available in a range of varieties, including prefinished or finished hardwoods, as well as unfinished hardwood flooring, which can be stained, coated, and sanded according to the user’s needs. There are also different types of wood that may be used for flooring, like oak, cherry, and walnut.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Variety – Hardwood flooring is available in a wide range of styles, with different woods, colors, and stains to choose from.
Durability – Hardwood flooring is one of the strongest flooring types you can choose, able to last much longer than vinyl and laminate flooring.
Low-Maintenance – Hardwood floors are also easy to maintain and will simply need to be swept, vacuumed, and mopped regularly.
Hypoallergenic – Another big benefit of hardwood floors is their hypoallergenic nature. They don’t allow parasites like mites to breed easily, and they’re resistant to mold and pet hair, too.
Adds Value – A good quality, a well-maintained hardwood floor can add value to a property. So, when it comes time to sell your home, you might get better offers if you have hardwood floors.
Expensive – Hardwood flooring is one of the most expensive varieties, and you’ll need to spend more per square foot for wood floors than vinyl or laminate.
Not the Most Versatile – There are some spaces where hardwood floors are not recommended, like bathrooms and kitchens, as they don’t deal well with humidity and spills.
Noisy – Hardwood flooring is not the best at absorbing sound and can be creaky and squeaky, especially as it gets older.
Vinyl vs Laminate vs Hardwood: Which Is Best?
So, which should you choose between hardwood, laminate, or vinyl? The truth is that all three flooring types have their pros and cons, and each one is best suited for different people and situations.
If you’re on a budget, for example, you may want to stick with a vinyl floor, but if you want the most beautiful and elegant option, choose wood. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a resistant floor for your kitchen, laminate might be a great choice.
It’s up to you to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each type and think about your budget and desires to find the right floor type for every room in your home.