Vinyl flooring plank vs. Laminate flooring

Posted on 23.06.2020

When choosing a floor covering for your house, there are several important points to consider. What would be the most economical type of flooring with high durability and still yet attractive? The answer is laminate flooring or luxury vinyl planks. Each type of covering meets these key points and still brings value in prices. The only question you would ask is, which type is the best to choose for your home and be an easier task for flooring installers?

If you want to understand the differences between vinyl planks vs. laminate flooring, you need to make a step-by-step comparison between respective features, pros, and cons for these two types. Lets us guide you step by step in comparison.

While reading this article, you also can see people's feedback on these flooring types. Read vinyl plank flooring reviews and laminate flooring reviews, as well as check on hybrid flooring pros and cons for those who are looking for something different.

What is a Vinyl planks?

Vinyl flooring is a 100% synthetic product with a fiberglass base coated in PVC vinyl with adding of plasticizer to add planks flexibility and durability. The finishing vinyl sheets are printed and embossed with top print layer imitating natural wood, and finally, the product is overcoated with polyurethane. Luxury vinyl floor planks come in different sizes in length and width that laid together, creating a completed floating floor in a house. The usual thickness of vinyl planks varies from around 2mm for plank up to 6mm for luxury plank.

Vinyl flooring plank vs. Laminate flooring, image 1

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring might resemble vinyl planks in the way it is manufactured. However, the main difference is its core is made from wood byproducts and resin.

Laminate flooring comes with a hard surface that is transparent but feels more plastic to the touch. This top layer covers the printed layer design, and the base layer of laminate flooring is made from a combination of byproducts of wood and resin mixture. Usual thickness is available from 6 mm to 12 mm for this type of floorcovering.

Vinyl flooring plank vs. Laminate flooring, image 2


Check vinyl flooring suppliers and laminate flooring stores in your local area, or request a quick quote from multiple shops  at once

Noise rate and Comfort

When it comes to noise level, especially in the apartment building, laminate floorboards can be challenging. There are many choices of acoustic underlay on the market this day. This type of underlays is design to reduce and control possible nose when walk on floating flooring. If you want the best, the cork flooring underlay is the best option available. Laminate floorboard is not the wood, but it gives the same warm impression and feels like natural timber floorboards.

Vinyl planks are opposite, though, and it may act cold and give your feet hard feeling, particularly when installed over a hard surface, such as tile or concrete slab. But same time it can be a great quite option to walk on to.

Choosing from two

Each option has pros and cons. It would depend on where you need to install your flooring at, budget, and region, or residence.

What type of laminate and vinyl flooring available on the market?

Nowadays, the market has grown so much and offers many options to choose from for any property type and use.

Both types of flooring usually offer gloss, semi-gloss and matt finishing surface and smooth or embossed, textured finish.

Types of vinyl flooring:

·   planks

·   luxury planks

·   tiles

·   luxury tiles

·   sheets

·   Click-lock planks

Types of laminate flooring:

·   General use

·   Commercial use

·   Heavy-duty use

·   Water-resistant

·   Waterproof surface

·   Waterproof

Vinyl vs. Laminate Flooring: Major Differences

If you are trying to determine the major differences between vinyl planks vs. laminate flooring, you need to understand the respective perks and cons. Let us take a look at some of the major differences.

·   Appearance

·   Resistance

·   Durability

·   Installation


Laminate flooring will allow you to have super realistic patterns, designs, and embossing on the top surface. Since this comes with a transparent top layer, the underlying design will be clearer.

Check this video on a Laminate Flooring Overview

Vinyl floorboards will also allow you to have realistic designs. Usually, this would come to cost though, when choosing luxury vinyl plank flooring. Cheap vinyl tiles may look more plain in appearance and blurry at times.

Check this video on a Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Overview  

The best of two

In general, both products will look similar. However, laminate flooring will offer more mimic options, wood, stone, or ceramic tiles, for example. Also, it is a harder surface on feel

Resistance to heat and water

Laminate flooring

As said before, all boards of this covering are made from wooded products. When it is in contact with water, the floorboard core will soak liquid and, as a result, swell, causing board expansion softness and swelling. Even though there are many flooring suppliers offer waterproof or water-resistant material, it still has its limit to water resistant. From our best knowledge, the most durable water-resistant laminate flooring can stay literally submerged under the water for up to 72hours. Unfortunately, laminate boards cannot resume its original dimensions after it contacted with water, and as a result, have to be repaired or replaces by professional flooring installer.

Due to board structure and ability to suck moisture, laminate flooring becomes a product that intends to expand in season and different weather conditions. It will react to heat and will extend from its original sizes. Every supplier will advise leaving expansion gapping in the floor perimeter. It would usually be between 8mm to 14mm. Different states of Australia will have different rules too, and in some, you will find more extra precautions. For example, when you do flooring installation in Gold Coast where heating and humidity rate is high, the experienced laminate flooring installer usually would go an extra mile and undercut Gyprock to allow extra gapping for a new floating floor

Vinyl planks

It does quite well when exposed to water, and is considered to offer more resistance. The 100% percent polymer materials used for vinyl floorboards refrain the water from damaging the floor. It can stay underwater for a long period of time and will not lose its original form and dimensions. It can be reuse and re-installed after water exposure.

Even though vinyl planks are made from PVC, it does expend and react to high temperature. In our practice, we have seen vinyl planks that were exposed to dicer sun and, as a result, were under high-temperature exposure increased in sizes and shrunk off its original form later. Many manufacturers advise tight installation for skirting boards, but these days we see more and more brands started to instruct to leave expansion gaps for vinyl planks too.

The best of two in this category.

The vinyl planks are waterproof compare to laminate boards. This makes a winner when you are looking for wet areas and water-resistant floor cover material. When it comes to heat resistance, we probably say laminate flooring would be a better choice, simply because it keeps its original form after being exposed to heat if properly installed by experienced flooring contractors.


Both laminate flooring and vinyl planks are durable material. It will last and perform, if professionally installed and maintained by expert floor cleaners. This day many suppliers offer a good warranty on the product. We have seen up to 30 years warranty on this type of floor covering product.

Always remember every floor brand is different, and price depends on material quality and is matters. Fewer quality planks and boards still durable, but over a short time, the surface may degrade due to moisture or daily traffic. Once the top surface is scratched or chipped, you cannot repair it yourself. Most likely, you would have to hire a professional flooring repair contractor to fix it or even replace it.

Vinyl planks, however, are considered tough options that can easily withstand the heavy wear and tear. It takes time to degrade the overall quality of vinyl. It also found the easiest product to replace, as each plank can be lifted separately from each other.


Generally speaking, this will be determined by the supplier. Each manufacturer indicates a lifespan for each model and product. Usually, the warranty will be something between 10years to 30years, depends on the product and where it be used at. Any lifetime expectation should come with proper floor installation, care, and maintenance.


Laminate floorboards have a unique locking system installation method. Basically, it has a tongue on one end of the plank that goes into the grove on another other. Installation happens by inserting one board into another in angle and then push it down until two boards lock together creating even surface. This installation method, being used for a floating floor installation, where planks installed on underlay, does not require glue or nails to hold it in place. Different power tools are used to cut laminate flooring during the installation.

There is a different type of installation available to lay the laminate floor, such as glue-down and glue in joints. It is older types that rarely available this day, where most laminate flooring installers do not use anymore.

Vinyl flooring plank vs. Laminate flooring, image 3

Laying vinyl planks comes to a different method. Some brands do make the same click and lock system for vinyl planks, but it is rarely available and not preferred type of installation for this material.

In general, vinyl planks will be installed as a loose lay or glue down the way. For commercial use and large open space, property loose-lay installation type would require an application of a glue grid to hold border planks in place as an anchor. Both methods are super versatile and allow easy plank replacement in the case when it damaged or faulty. This floor covering require min equipment during installation, vinyl floor installer can literally use a utility knife to cut it in half.

Vinyl flooring plank vs. Laminate flooring, image 4

The best type of installation

Both types are good in its class. Laminate flooring created tight locking even surface, but it is hard to remove one board when floor repair needed.

Vinyl planks are easy to replace but would require extremely flat slab to perform the best.

Recommended Installation Areas Installation

All the expert laminate flooring installer will tell you that the best options depend on the installation area. Here is a list of installation areas preferred for these options:










Dining Room



Living Room















You can hire local professional vinyl installer or laminate flooring installation companies 

Care and Cleaning

When it comes to the care and cleaning of laminate flooring, it is recommended that you use dry methods first. Use a dry rag or mop to clean the surface floor-boards. If need be, only use a damp and wet broom or mop to remove stains. Never use excessive water since these planks can easily corrode when exposed to water.

For the vinyl sheet, you can easily use cleaning products and water. Since these can withstand water exposure, there is no need to be afraid of using a wet mop, cleaning products, and water to clean vinyl tiles.

As a golden rule, always refer to manufacturer care and maintenance guide, to be sure you do not avoid warranty by using something inappropriate to clean your floor.

Most of the brands would have a care system and advise using oil and wax to renew your floor cover every 6-12 months, allowing it to look like a brand new.

Vinyl flooring plank vs. Laminate flooring, image 5

Resistance to stain

Each product has a top coating layer that makes it a great stain-resistant floor choice. Laminate floor-board made with multiple layers and finished with aluminum-oxide finishing coating. Luxury vinyl planks finished with clear urethane coating both are superb and durable finishing protecting the boards from any kind of dirt.

The best of to in maintenance

Quality material used for each type is an excellent chose when it comes to floorcovering cleaning

We will give it 50/50 as it is very hard to tell what the best in this category can be.

Flooring prices and cost

Laminate flooring cost

The Australian market is very large and provides unlimited choices for laminate flooring. Every state, city, and retail shop will have a different price tag. The best option to get flooring price estimate is to post supply request at Flooring Domain and get multiple quotes from different suppliers

From our best knowledge, we have seen laminate planks prices from $12 per sqm and up to $95 per sqm. This, of course, will vary by type, quality, material, and country of manufacturing for each product.

Vinyl planks

Similar can be said about this material too. When it comes to vinyl plank flooring prices, you will find it for $4 sqm and goes up to $67. Vinyl planks will have much more variety in types, thickness, and quality.

Generally saying these are types of material suits for every budget.

Best of two in cost

You may find vinyl planks to be a cheaper option, but keep in mind when it comes to installation, most of the time, you need to consider an extra budget for floor preparation, that would make both types of floor cover sit on the same price range mark.

Impact for environment

Laminate flooring made with the addition of plastic and melanin resin combined with formaldehyde in the constituent of high-pressure floorboards. This can lead to emissions and potential health effects when working or recycle this kind of material.

When it comes to vinyl planks, it is not way better, there is not a much-recycled option for this product as well, and considering raw material it does not goes far from laminate planks

The best of two to call it "Green"

Even though some companies in this market that are trying to manufacture material comply with recycled standards, it is far from calling laminate flooring and vinyl planks "Green Option".

The small advantage goes to laminate boards, as it uses wooden components to create a core-board.

The conclusion

Both laminate and vinyl plank floorboards have their unique yes and no key points. Any home, office, or commercial space can benefit from each type, as long as it fits to the purpose. The planning and choosing flor cover material will be determined by taste, expectation, budget, and environment.

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