When it comes to laminate and luxury vinyl floor tiles, it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart. The two materials are both low-maintenance, low-cost, durable, and able to replicate the look of many other materials at a fraction of the expense. However, there are certain differences to keep in mind when deciding between laminate tile and "luxury" or "premium" vinyl floor tile. The most apparent is the difference that separates luxury vinyl from normal vinyl. Luxury vinyl floor tile is distinguished by being made with PVC, which is where many of the differences between it and laminate stem from. What does this mean for your tiling decisions? Let's find out.
Luxury Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is what is known as a "floating floor" system. This means that it is assembled through a click-and-lock process that doesn't need to be glued or nailed down to the subfloor, sort of like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. As a result, laminate is considered to be easier to install for DIY renovators. Luxury vinyl tile uses the traditional glue-down system and makes use of either an adhesive or peel-and-stick tiles or planks. While not an overly complicated process, it does involve a bit more precision and work than laminate. Incidentally, laminate tile is rigid enough that it can be installed over minor deviances in the subfloor (bumps, etc.) without impacting how level the resulting floor is.
Cost & Durability
Laminate and luxury vinyl floor tiles are actually fairly similar in terms of how much they cost and how well they withstand foot traffic, scratches, and sunlight exposure. Some of the differences explained here may make one type of tile appear to have more "value" than the other, but that will depend on personal evaluation of the evidence.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Both tile types are easy to maintain thanks to their durability. The ease with which a single tile can be removed and replaced also makes repairs a simple matter. Cleaning, however, is where some differences will start to appear since the reason you are cleaning each tile will vary. Laminate has a fiberboard core and as a result it should not get wet or be used in areas with high humidity since it doesn't handle moisture as well. When cleaning, therefore, you would want to focus on quickly wiping up any spills that may happen. With luxury vinyl, in comparison, you need to worry more about stains and flame exposure (such as embers from a fireplace or actual flames).
Both laminate and luxury vinyl floor tile are famous for being excellent imitators of other surface appearances. Being able to convincingly fool the eye, however, does not affect the sense of touch. Laminate flooring is primarily made from wood and will have a feel similar to a wooden plank. Luxury vinyl flooring, meanwhile, is made out of its namesake material and is going to feel plastic. It is also going to feel thicker in comparison to laminate tiles.
Which Is Right For You? Luxury Vinyl or Laminate
It is important to remember that the "right" choice between luxury vinyl and laminate tile will depend on a mixture of personal preference and how the tile is actually going to be used. This makes the "correct" choice change depending on the situation.
- Laminate flooring is more resistant to everyday accidents, stains, or dropped objects and wins out in areas with lots of activity.
- Vinyl is more water resistant and is better in areas with high humidity or where the tile would get frequently wet, like a bathroom or kitchen. Laminate can still be used in areas with occasional moisture exposure as long as it is maintained properly.
- Laminate is more advisable if the tile is near a potential fire or intense heat source.
- The primarily wood construction makes laminate the more environmentally renewable choice should this be a concern.
- Both tiles produce similar comfort levels in terms of hardness, though laminate feels more like wood and luxury vinyl is thicker and feels plastic.
Getting Laminate and Luxury Vinyl Flooring at Centura Tile
Centura Tile has been a leader in tiling since 1933. Our extensive collection of different wall and floor tiles affords customers the ability to find quality luxury vinyl and laminate flooring in Toronto, the GTA, and beyond. To learn more about laminate tile or luxury vinyl tile, or to ask other tiling queries, feel free to contact us or visit a Centura Tile dealer near you.