In recent years, the market for alternative flooring materials that achieve a wood look at a fraction of the cost has been expanded to almost every flooring material. From vinyl to porcelain, nearly every manufacturer has taken a stab at creating a product that imitates the look, feel, and performance of natural wood. Although they weren’t always the most convincing in the past, a lot of today’s affordable options can get the job done and achieve beautiful results. Today, we take a look at two of the top competitors luxury vinyl plank and laminate, and compare their construction, design, and best uses.
Luxury Vinyl Plank is made up of layers of vinyl complete with a design layer and textured wear layer. A far cry from traditional sheet vinyl, the higher quality vinyl planks are thicker and created to replicate an individual piece of wood. Great improvements in technology have made the wood-look more believable, although the vinyl construction is softer and slightly compresses under pressure.
Laminate, on the other hand, is made up of mostly wood particles and the individual planks are comprised of four layers: a tough resin and paper backing, a dense fiberboard core, a printed design layer, and finished with a high quality wear layer. While not as water resistant as vinyl, laminate traditionally does better than materials like engineered hardwood in more humid environments.
When it comes to design, both laminate and luxury vinyl plank flooring come in a variety of colors and wood species lookalikes. Because the laminate planks have a tongue and groove construction, installation is quick but limited to a traditional straight lay pattern. Luxury vinyl plank, however, can be installed in a variety of patterns, including both random lay and parquet patterns. When it comes to reproducing the look and feel of natural wood, laminate flooring edge out its vinyl alternative due to its wood particle construction and harder finish.
Which Should You Choose?
As for their best uses, deciding between luxury vinyl plank and laminate comes down to a few key factors, including where you want to have them installed and how realistic you want them to feel. Both materials can be installed almost anywhere in your home, and luxury vinyl plank will perform better in areas with moisture, such as bathrooms. In terms of achieving the feeling of real wood underfoot, laminate will provide a firmer surface and a more pronounced texture thanks to the wood grain embossing.
If you are interested in having either of these wood-look flooring options installed in your home, you’re in luck! At Floor Coverings International Concord, we have a wide selection of luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring to choose from, and our experts are here to help you find the best option for your home. Call us today to schedule your free design consultation!