If you're looking for a low-cost alternative to genuine timber flooring, you might find yourself struggling to decide between laminate and vinyl. Laminate flooring uses several layers of HDF (high-density fibreboard) made from recycled wood, while vinyl flooring is a completely synthetic material made from several layers of PVC and fibreglass. Vinyl flooring does come with several benefits, but most homeowners find themselves better off with laminate. Here are just a few reasons why.
Vinyl flooring is generally valued more for its durability than its comfort—that's why you'll often see it used in hospitals and commercial buildings. Because vinyl flooring is relatively thin, it isn't very comfortable to walk around on. In contrast, laminate flooring is made from much thicker material and comes with a foam underlay, so you should feel more comfortable as you walk around your home.
People looking for a substitute for natural timber are usually attracted to the way wood looks but put off by the high prices that genuine timber commands. Vinyl and laminate both help you keep to a sensible budget, but laminate does a much better job replicating the appearance of timber. After all, it's actually made from recycled wood instead of synthetic materials. In contrast, vinyl floors usually look conspicuously artificial and plasticky. Remember, a cheaper-looking floor will lower your property value.
Ease of Installation
Another common problem with genuine timber flooring is how much work it is to install—this definitely isn't a DIY job, and it can take plenty of time for even professionals to do right. One reason laminate flooring has taken off is its ease of installation. Each piece uses a click-and-lock method, so even someone who has never tackled any home improvement projects before can lay down laminate flooring with ease. Vinyl needs to be glued, so, like timber flooring, it isn't something to tackle by yourself.
Over the last few decades, the world as a whole has become more aware of how building materials impact the environment. That's one reason genuine timber is so popular—when harvested properly, it's a sustainable material that can often be reused with ease. Laminate flooring is also relatively eco-friendly since it is made from recycled wood. In fact, your laminate flooring may have been genuine hardwood flooring in its previous life. Vinyl floor uses synthetic materials and is very hard to recycle, making it a poor choice for the planet.