Vinyl Flooring vs Laminate Floors: What’s the Difference?

If you are in the market for an affordable alternative to hardwood floors you may find yourself considering vinyl and laminate flooring. These options are popular in many homes and businesses because they are easy to maintain, durable, and budget-friendly. Vinyl and laminate are often confused due to their similarities; however, they are actually composed of very different material. How do you decide if vinyl flooring or laminate flooring is the best choice for your project? Let’s compare how these options stack up!


Vinyl and laminate floors have a very different material composition. Vinyl flooring is completely synthetic. Vinyl planks either have a fiberglass or multi-layer core that is coated in PVC vinyl. This is then embossed with a print layer (to give the flooring its desired style) and coated with a layer of tough polyurethane to resist wear.

Laminate flooring is made of wood byproducts which are bonded together using resins; the core is a stiff fiberboard. The surface is a printed design layer (with the desired look) on a hard plastic laminate.

The thickness of vinyl flooring ranges from 1.5 mm to 5mm, making vinyl the thinner option. Laminate floor planks vary from 6mm to 12 mm thick.


Both vinyl and laminate floors come in a variety of styles. This allows you to create the look you want for a modest cost. Today’s laminate and vinyl flooring can mimic wood (whether you fancy mahogany, oak, or other popular wood styles), ceramics, or stone. The finished look of these materials has continued to improve, and the flooring manufactured today has a much more luxurious look and feel compared to the laminate floors of the past. Laminate and vinyl flooring are less expensive than solid hardwood, porcelain tile, or ceramic tile, but today, they are not so easily distinguished from their more-expensive counterparts!

Water Resistance vs Water Proof

Water-resistance is a key difference between laminate and vinyl floors. Due to its composition, vinyl is completely waterproof. For a bathroom, kitchen, damp basement, or any other area typically exposed to water,vinyl would be an excellent choice. Vinyl does not warp or buckle, and it can often be installed so that it is essentially seamless, giving you a 100% waterproof floor.

Because laminate flooring has a fiberboard core, exposure to water will cause it to soften and swell. This can lead to buckling, warping, and gapping.  If the room will certainly be exposed to standing water, laminate is not the best option. However, occasional spills that are cleaned up promptly will not harm your laminate floor. This means that laminate can still be a good option for rooms that may see some water, provided you never let water seep into your laminate floor. You can also choose laminate flooring that is marked as “moisture-resistant.” But, keep in mind that resistant is not the same as waterproof!


Laminate and vinyl floors are both easy to maintain, which is a real plus for any homeowner. Neither flooring requires refinishing, and you won’t have to take the same precautions required when cleaning solid hardwood.

Cleaning your vinyl floor is simple and straightforward. You can use a wet mop, steam mop, vacuum, or dust mop—whatever you prefer! You do not need any harsh cleaners, and you do not need to wax a vinyl floor.

Laminate flooring is also low-maintenance, although it requires a bit more consideration when cleaning. Like with vinyl floors, you can use a dust mop, steam mop, or broom. If using a vacuum, you should take care you choose one approved for use on laminate floors. You should never, ever use a wet mop on a laminate floor (as they are not waterproof), and always cleanup any spills right away to preserve your floor.


Every homeowner wants a product that will be durable. Solid hardwood is susceptible to scratches, dings, and dents, while vinyl and laminate can provide a stylish, affordable, and durable alternative.

Vinyl provides excellent durability. It’s waterproof (which means no buckling or warping), and it can withstand heavy foot traffic. Vinyl also resists scratches, which makes it a favorite of pet-owners!

Vinyl flooring is softer than laminate flooring and can be damaged with heavy pressure, making it susceptible to dents or a ripped plank if proper care is not taken.

Laminate flooring also provides great durability. It can resist scratches and damage from daily wear, and it can be used in pet-friendly homes. Laminate is not waterproof, like vinyl, but it does resist fading better than vinyl flooring does.

The Choice is Yours – Laminate Flooring or Vinyl Flooring?

Choosing a laminate or vinyl floor is a fabulous way to bring strength and style to your property without breaking the bank. Depending on the particular room you are finishing, as well as the style you want to achieve, you may find that laminate or vinyl best suits your needs. If you have a bathroom that will be repeatedly exposed to water, vinyl flooring may be the choice for you. Is your project a family room that will see the little paws of pets and the warmth of the sun through the windows? Then perhaps a laminate floor is in your future! Either option will be sure to provide you with durability and style for many years to come.

Do you need help deciding if vinyl or laminate flooring is the right choice for your project? Come and talk with our experts at JC Floors Plus. We are confident that we can help your make the perfect choice for your home! Come and visit us at either of our two Florida showroom locations, or give us a call:

Lauderdale Lakes Flooring Store954-735-4005

Pompano Beach Flooring Store –   754-205-6196