Laminate Flooring vs Vinyl Plank Flooring
Today we are going to talk about some of the differences some of the pros and cons of laminate flooring and luxury vinyl flooring. We get lots of questions, lots of people looking to do it themselves and a lot of misinformation out there. Obviously, this is our opinion other people might have other opinions. The one thing that we are very proud of though here is that we do extensive testing on things before we sell it, we will not sell something that we don't actually believe in. Before we do, we need to know that it will work in Regina and its wonderful climate.
Let’s start with laminate flooring. Some of the pros of laminate flooring, very easy to install, you know just clicks together something - that you can do with your buddies on a weekend. It's inexpensive compared to a lot of other things out there. It's very durable.
Now some of the cons of some laminate flooring. It's difficult to repair. When you do damage your floor - and it will happen something heavy will very real fall on it with a sharp end, bad angle, something like that.
Murphy’s Law tells us that it will never happen at the edge of the floor, it will occur in the middle (where we are walking). The challenge with repairing laminate flooring is that when you do have to replace a board, you actually have to un-click the floor. What you do is - you take off your baseboard, un-click the boards from the closest wall, until you get to the problem, replace that board, re click the floor back, put the baseboard on, do your paint touch ups, and done! But that's still a very time consuming, labor intensive process. The second thing it's not great with water. The core of the laminate is an MDF or HDF (fibreboard – so sawdust mixed with whatever), with a picture of wood or tile on the surface. The problem is if there's any sizeable quantity of water or whatever spilled on the floor – it will get to the core and cause it to swell. Most of the times the swelling will go back down, but it then becomes weaker with time – and when it is swelled, it’s unfortunately very, very easy to chip or damage that board.
Last but not least are the transitions. Now, technically, for laminate floors, you require a transition at many different points (there are some new technologies out there that say you don’t – but we haven’t finished our testing yet). So, with these floating floors, you require a transition or a t-mold that sits on top of the floor that allows each room to expand and contract with changes in moisture. These transitions are needed at all doorways, L-Shapes and large rooms. They don’t look good, and that’s a problem.
Now let’s talk luxury vinyl. Now this is and has been the fastest growing segment for more than four years in the entire flooring industry.
For the Pros of luxury vinyl - again easy to install. Most of the stuff that we do ourselves here at GR because of our testing, is a 5mm loose lay that is glued down. A very simple process that’s actually faster an easier than clicking together a laminate. Next is the fact that the luxury vinyl is waterproof. Of course, your subfloor isn’t, so we call the floor water resistant as the adhesives use help keep water from soaking into your subfloor.
Next is reparability – unlike with the laminate, this isn’t clicked together – but glued down so much faster and easier fix. When you drop a cleaver or take up juggling chainsaws, whatever your hobbies may be, causes damage…it can be quickly repaired! The glue that we use is a pressure sensitive glue – so they are very heat reactive. So, what we do if a board gets damaged, we take a heat gun or a hair dryer (just takes long with hair dryer) and you heat the board up. As soon as that floor hits 100F or so, the glue lets go, so you can actually pick up the board. Put a new one down. Five minutes, done. No baseboard, no un clicking from a wall – just change that one board in the middle of the floor.
Now the cons of the luxury vinyl are that it is easier to scratch than the laminate. That's really the only con to it. That being said, the luxury bottles have a low sheen and have a lot of texture to them to help hide the scratches. And of course, there is a product that we now have that can fill in the scratches.
Both laminate and vinyl plank are great options for any home – just be aware of what you are buying!