Waterproof Laminate vs Vinyl Plank: 8 Vital Comparisons!

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The two most common options that confuse people when installing new floors are waterproof laminate vs vinyl plank. Both these options have some upsides and downsides. But which one is better for you and why?

Waterproof laminate varies from vinyl plank in terms of material, durability, water resistance, heat resistance, installation, etc. When comparing these two options, you will find some surprising similarities too.

Let’s take a detailed look into these two options and figure out which one suits you better. 

Waterproof Laminate Vs Vinyl Plank: 5 Differences

There are some key differences between these two options. Exploring them will certainly make it easy for you to choose one. So, let’s go through them briefly.

1. Water Resistance

If you are using water resistance as a standard for comparing the two options, vinyl will certainly win over laminate. Even though some high-end laminate claim to be waterproof, they are water-resistant at best. 

To clarify, laminate will not last if you continuously let water sit on it without monitoring. Vinyl, on the other hand, will certainly impress you. So, laminate is not a good option for someone who can’t ensure that the floor won’t stay wet for long. 

The material plays an important role here. Laminate boards have fiberboard material and resin as cores whereas the core material of vinyl is PVC.

 That’s why laminate gets warped when they’re wet. There are different layers of laminate boards. The uppermost layer is for protecting the inner material. The higher quality the laminate board is, the more water resistant it will be. 

However, it’s still a weak point for laminate boards. As for the vinyl planks, they’re entirely waterproof because of their material characteristics.

2. Appearance 

Both laminate and vinyl are good at creating the illusion of another material. They use printed images below the protective layer to create an illusion of either hardwood or stone without spending that much money. 

But laminate gets a bit of an advantage on this matter. Due to the thickness of the boards or the printed textures, they usually look better than vinyl. This is specifically applicable when you want to replicate the look of hardwood in your home.

Vinyl, on the other hand, has more styles available. So, it comes down to personal preference. 

3. Durability

You might be guessing that vinyl is more durable than laminate. Surprisingly enough, laminate lasts longer than vinyl. Despite being sensitive to heat and moisture compared to vinyl, laminate is more durable. 

Due to the boards’ thickness, this option can endure more foot pressure. So, even if you have a large family, laminate will be the better choice when considering durability. If we are talking in numbers, laminate flooring tends to last 15 to 25 years whereas vinyl lasts around 10 to 20 years. 

4. Maintenance

Both vinyl and laminate flooring are easy to upkeep. However, if we are splitting the hairs, vinyl will certainly have an advantage over laminate. Because the laminate floor is more sensitive to water and moisture, you have to be more careful while cleaning laminate flooring. 

Even though it’s pretty easy to remove spots and dirt from laminate flooring, you need to spot-mop the floor instead of wet-mopping the entire floor. Vinyl is comparatively a lot easier to clean because of its waterproof trait. 

5. Resale Value

Another point that distinguishes these two options is the resale value. To be simple and straight, laminate flooring offers a higher resale value compared to vinyl flooring. The reason can be the outlook and the durability of laminate flooring. 

Waterproof Laminate Vs Vinyl Plank: 3 Similarities

Now that we’ve gone through the differences, let’s take a glance at the similarities to make things easier. 

1. Cost

The cost of waterproof laminate vs vinyl plank is surprisingly similar per square foot. So, regardless of which option you go for, this shouldn’t affect your choice. 

However, the cost can vary depending on what quality you’re going for. High-end laminate flooring will certainly cost more than low-end ones. The same goes for vinyl too. 

2. Options

For both these floorings, you will find a lot of options. The appearances are usually different but when it comes to browsing the styles, both laminate and vinyl will give you a lot of options. Laminate usually offers different textures to mimic wood whereas vinyl has prints like stone surfaces. 

3. Installation

The installation process is easy for both if you choose to go for click-and-lock planks. Note that it depends on your home’s base. If it’s not even or needs corrections, going for a DIY installation may not be the best idea. In this case, you should consult an expert regardless of what option you are choosing.

Waterproof Laminate vs Vinyl Plank: Summary

Let’s take a look at the table below to see which one is better for your particular situation. 

Waterproof LaminateVinyl Plank
Cost Per Square Foot$3 to $10$2 to $10
Protection Against WaterWater-resistantWaterproof
MaintenanceRequires dry cleaning and spot cleaningUsual cleaning methods
Durability15 to 25 years10 to 20 years
StyleReplicates hardwood lookReplicates stone or provides tile look
InstallationDepends on the flooringDepends on the flooring
Resale ValueComparatively higher Comparatively lower

Proper Flooring Based On Room Types

Both these floor types have upsides and downsides. So, you should make the choice based on different factors. One of which is which room you’re installing the floor in. Let’s take a look at the better choice depending on the room. 

RoomSuitable Flooring 
Living roomLaminate

Waterproof Laminate Vs Vinyl Plank: Which One Is The Winner?

As you can already deduct from this article, the better choice may vary depending on different factors. If you are more into creating hardwood looks, the clear winner is laminate. But you have to keep in mind that even waterproof laminate floors aren’t waterproof, they’re actually water-resistant.

This means the floor may survive occasional spills but you will still need to be careful with it when maintaining it. Considering the resale value will also stretch your decision toward laminate floors. 

On the contrary, if you are all about having waterproof floors, nothing can beat vinyl. This is certainly the clearer choice in this matter. Besides, it’s super easy to maintain too. 

Final Words

When selecting the floor between waterproof laminate vs vinyl plank, consider all your preferences including the room you are installing the floor in, and the appearance you want in your home. Then, browse the available designs in that category and go for it.

You can install the floor by yourself if your home has an even base and you’re confident about the procedure. Alternatively, you can hire someone to install the floors flawlessly. 






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