Looking for a beautiful floor for a flexible price? One of the best options to consider is laminate or vinyl flooring. In this blog post, we’re comparing laminate, vinyl, and LVT floors to help you choose the best option for your home and budget.

It’s perfectly reasonable to want beautiful floors without breaking the bank, and luckily, there is a wide array of options available. Attaining a high-end look on a budget is made entirely possible by flooring options that replicate the appearance of pricey flooring items, like hardwood or marble. These replica flooring options are generally broken down into three categories: laminate, vinyl, and luxury vinyl (LVT). Each offers its own unique set of benefits depending on your overall budget and desired aesthetic. In this blog post, we’re helping you pick the best option for your home by comparing laminate, vinyl, and LVT floors. To learn about the major features of each and get one step closer to choosing your perfect floors, keep on reading. 


Cost

Overall, the benefit of going with either laminate or vinyl flooring is that both allow you to obtain a luxurious look for an attainable price. Though exact pricing will depend upon the material you’re replicating and your home’s square footage, laminate flooring usually costs between $1.00 and $5.00 per square foot. Vinyl’s price range is actually about the same, making the two options equally affordable. Luxury vinyl is slightly pricier on average, ranging between $2.00 and $7.00 per square foot. 


Which is Better?

Laminate and vinyl flooring have comparable prices, though luxury vinyl is slightly more expensive. 

Looks

Both laminate and vinyl consist of a high-resolution image protected by transparent layers. This image can be of any material, from marble to limestone or hardwood, and it is the so-called “magic” behind both options’ ability to replicate virtually any flooring look at a fraction of the price. Vinyl flooring used to be criticized for its plastic-like appearance when it first arrived on the market, but major strides have been made to improve its appearance. That being said, laminate flooring typically features a higher-quality image, particularly of hardwood, giving it a more natural look for homeowners who want to replicate wood flooring.


Which is Better?

Though they’re similar, laminate flooring generally produces a more natural-looking image (especially if you’re going for a hardwood look).


Durability

Laminate is generally comprised of four layers: a transparent surface layer for protection, a decorative layer with the high-res image, a high-density fiberboard core, and a resin layer for additional structure. These make laminate a generally durable material. That being said, the fiberboard core is made of wood. This makes it susceptible to warping and softening when exposed to water over time. Vinyl, on the other hand, is highly water-resistant because it’s comprised of 100% polymer materials. Luxury vinyl is particularly resilient against water and general wear and tear.


Which is Better?

When it comes to durability, vinyl takes the cake – and luxury vinyl takes the crown.


Maintenance

Both vinyl and laminate are low-maintenance and easy to clean. Both can be kept in great condition with items as simple as a broom, a mop, and some all-purpose cleaner. Though resilient, it’s not uncommon for laminate’s layers to break down over time – especially if they’re exposed to water. If your vinyl floorboards are self-sticking, it’s possible that the adhesive may come undone over time.  However, this is not as common as the laminate core being worn down. Luxury vinyl is even more resilient than regular vinyl and is unlikely to come undone unless it’s on purpose.


Which is Better?

Though both are low-maintenance, luxury vinyl’s long-term durability through years of maintenance makes it the winner here.

Comparing laminate, vinyl, and LVT floors is an excellent way to investigate which affordable flooring option is best for your home. By weighing the features and benefits of each alongside your lifestyle, time, and budget, you’ll arrive at the perfect option in no time. To learn more about choosing the best flooring for your home, click here to download our guide to hard surface flooring.