If you love the look of hardwood flooring but hate the headaches that come with its maintenance and installation, it’s time to consider an alternative like laminate or luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring. Both laminate and LVP are durable, affordable, attractive and come in just as many unique styles as hardwood. They’re also easy to install and require little effort to keep them looking new, even after years with kids, pets, parties and more.
So now you’re probably wondering, what exactly is the difference between laminate and LVP? And which is better for my home? At first glance, both flooring types may seem basically the same. But while they do have a lot in common, they also have some key differences. Here’s what you should know when weighing laminate vs. LVP:
Probably the biggest difference between laminate and LVP is the materials used to make each. LVP is made from 100% synthetic materials and has a layered structure. It consists of a backing material (usually foam), a thick waterproof core, a printed design layer that resembles real hardwood (or sometimes stone for a tile-look) and finally a wear layer on top that protects the flooring from dents and scuffs.
Laminate is also a layered structure but typically has a core made from wood byproducts bonded with resins, instead of synthetic materials. Like LVP, laminate’s top layers also consist of a printed design layer and a protective wear layer.
The core materials of each type of flooring may not seem like an important difference at first, since they don’t affect the floor’s appearance. But imagine two layered cakes: they might look similar if they both have white frosting, but you’ll still be able to tell the difference between a vanilla cake and a chocolate cake once you cut into them. Similarly, you’ll notice the difference in a flooring’s materials once you install it.
Most notably, laminate flooring shouldn’t be installed in high-moisture areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms, finished basements and kitchens. Laminate’s wood-based core can absorb and trap moisture, leading to swelling, buckling, expansion or peeling away of the design and wear layers. Once a laminate plank has water damage, it needs to be replaced. LVP, on the other hand, has a synthetic plastic core that’s waterproof and won’t expand or contract thanks to humidity. It can be installed in any room without problems.
The difference in core materials also affects the long-term durability of each type of flooring.
As much as we might wish we lived in a house pulled straight from HGTV, our real homes have to put up with real life. That means dealing with frequent spills, scratches from pet claws, scuffs from shoes and chair legs and dents with mysterious or not-so-mysterious causes. It’s important that your floor is durable enough to withstand day-to-day wear.
When it comes to durability, LVP is the MVP! It cleans easily and resists the unsightly scratches and dings that you might come to expect from hardwood. And thanks to LVP being completely waterproof, you can enjoy the luxuries of kicking fallen ice under the fridge, letting your kids splash around in the bath and waiting to clean up a spill until you can get to it— and not a moment before. We won’t judge you for it, and neither will your LVP floors.
Laminate falls short by comparison. Since it’s made from wood byproducts, it has some of the same drawbacks you’ll find with hardwood. It’s not quite as tough as LVP, so it collects dents and dings more easily. As we already mentioned, laminate flooring is also prone to water and moisture damage, so spills always need immediate attention and you’d have to miss out on the sleek wood-look in your bathrooms and mudrooms.Andyou would have to fish out the ice cube that “fell” under the fridge. There’s no pretending it didn’t happen.
LVP offers that polished look we love from HGTV, while still providing the peace of mind we need to make a house a home.
Gone are the days of yellow and brown sheet vinyl and plastic-looking laminate. Modern technology has given us the gift of clean, modern, beautiful floors no matter which material you choose. The design layer of both laminate and LVP flooring creates realistic looking wood floors in a wide variety of colors and textures. You certainly won’t have to compromise on appearance.
The last thing we want to think about after installing new flooring is when we’ll have to replace that flooring. Luckily, both laminate and LVP flooring have long lifespans and their warranties can range anywhere from 10 to 25 years. As long as you maintain laminate flooring properly (which means cleaning up spills and water quickly and using the right cleaners), it can last just as long as LVP. However, LVP has the slight edge here for two reasons: it’s easier to maintain, so it will last longer with less effort, and Plum offers alifetime warranty on all of our LVP flooring.
The vinyl floors of yore were usually glued down to the concrete subfloor, making them 100% waterproof but hard on our feet and cold to the touch. Modern LVP has a foam-backing that makes it quiet, comfortable and luxurious. Laminate is similar in that the bonded wood byproducts provide a soft, quiet step. Both are equally comfortable, and certainly more comfortable than tile flooring, but of course not as cozy asplush carpet. Whichever type of flooring you choose, you’ll be sure to have happy feet.
Last, but not least, comes the question of installation: which is easier to install, laminate or LVP? Both floorings offer DIY-friendly click-lock installation methods that can go right over existing flooring. Of all the different types of flooring you could choose for your home, laminate and LVP are by far the easiest to install.
With that said, we’ll have to give the win to LVP again. When you choose Plum LVP flooring, we take care of every aspect of the installation, from moving your furniture to removing the old flooring. And the installation is included in our fixedBy the Room pricing. Installing new flooring doesn’t get any easier than that!
Let’s tally up the score: laminate and LVP are tied when it comes to appearance and comfort, but in the end LVP takes the lead with superior durability and longevity. And by offering a lifetime warranty and worry-free installation for all of our LVP flooring styles, Plum makes your decision even easier. After all, choosing flooring shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve made it simple. Meet yourplum perfect LVP flooring in our high-quality, curated selection.
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