Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring: A True Cost Comparison

June 03, 2021

A true cost comparison of wood laminate vs vinyl flooring cannot be complete without consideration of the pros and cons of each, the ease of installation, and the price differences. Both flooring options are easy to maintain and are hard-wearing. Wood laminates generally have a slightly higher stain resistance profile compared with vinyl flooring, but luxury vinyl compares better in terms of noise control and water resistance.

To help you determine the true cost of wood laminate and vinyl flooring, we thus consider the advantages and disadvantages of each, product price differences, and the cost of installation as well.

Differences and Similarities: Wood Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring

Laminate planks are durable, eco-friendly, versatile and exceptionally hygienic, making these products suitable for sustainable building projects. They are easy to clean, far more affordable than hardwood floors, and have reasonable moisture resistance.

Luxury vinyl tiles are affordable, easy to clean and exceptionally durable. High moisture resistance makes vinyl flooring well-suited for installation in areas where high moisture content can be expected, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Vinyl flooring is made from 100% synthetic material, whereas wood laminate flooring’s core section of the laminate is wood. Vinyl flooring resembles real wood in appearance because of the print design in the top layer section. It also has a protective layer that makes it scratch-resistant.

Rigid board vinyl flooring is made from plastic composites and wood pulp. It is waterproof vinyl flooring at its best! It is available as stone plastic composite (SPC) and wood-plastic composite (WPC).

You may be wondering which one to choose if they both can have the same look. Here too, we have to make a further distinction between the types available to help you get a clear picture of the true cost of purchase, installation and maintenance.

Wood laminate planks are composite products, consisting of high-density fibre boards, which are layered and laminated to create natural wood look-alike products. An image of wood is printed in the top section, covered by a hard-wearing resin layer. From floating types that click together and can be installed without glue or nailing down to glue-down types are available.

Luxury vinyl planks and tiles are not the same as sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl comes in rolls, similar to carpets for wall-to-wall installation. Luxury vinyl tiles are available in click-together, glue-down, and float types. The tiles are made from PVC layers. The top layer of the tile has a urethane coat that gives it a hard-wearing character. The vinyl plank type looks similar to natural wood floors or stone. These types of tiles come in various widths and lengths, making it possible to mimic from wood to stone, granite and concrete floor surfaces.

vinyl flooring living room

Laminate vs Vinyl: Cost of Purchase

Which one performs best when it comes to upfront affordability? Entry-level wood laminates are slightly cheaper than the luxury vinyl tiles and planks. Wood laminates start at R190* per square metre without installation. An example is the Legacy Dawn suitable for light to medium residential traffic. The Legacy Reserve is an example of luxury wood laminates at the high end of the price range, which can be anything from R300* to R600* per square metre. The mentioned laminate is a wide plank, soft underfoot and excellent sound-absorbing flooring solution. Featuring a 12 mm thickness, it comes with a 5G interlock system and has a wax layer protection.

Rigid board vinyl flooring starts at around R370* per square metre, of which the Inspirations by Nature is an example. It is a hard-wearing floating floor solution that features good water and moisture resistance and a high level of hygiene. Pricing on the high-end ranges from R500* to R700* per square metre.

Luxury wood-like vinyl tiles price from R200* per square metre to R700* per square metre. An example of the entry-level LVTs is the Centrepiece, considered the ultimate choice in efficiency and economy.
The stick-down LVT is easy to clean and suitable for light traffic areas.

Vinyl tiles price higher on the entry-level and range from R360* per square metre upwards to R450* per square metre. However, the pricing is still exceptionally affordable in comparison with ceramic tiles. An example of entry-level products is the eco-friendly Como Mineral made from 100% virgin PVC materials.

Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring Installation Costs

Many factors affect the installation costs of both products. Such include the sub-surface preparation, level of the surface, area where installation must take place, labour, humidity factors, and more. With various underlays available, the cost of these must also be considered. The installation costs compare favourably for both floor solutions.

Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring: Pros and Cons

Wood laminates are thicker than vinyl and have warmer underfoot but are noisier than luxury vinyl planks and tiles. Vinyl flooring has better water and moisture resistance. As such, these are well-suited for use in laundries, bathrooms and kitchens. Wood laminates can absorb water from the sub-surface and thus don’t have the waterproof characteristics to make them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. Both floor surfaces are exceptionally durable.

Laminates win on appearance, while both are comfortable. When it comes to cleaning, wood laminates require a dry wipe and damp cloth cleaning, while vinyl can be cleaned with water without risking integrity loss of the floor surface. Both are hygienic and suitable for homes with children and pets.

The two products compare well in terms of pricing, installation and durability. If you are looking for a waterproof floor, then vinyl is the winner. In terms of aesthetic appeal, wood laminates win. View this video on choosing between the two flooring options.

How to Make a Choice

If you're looking for more in-depth information to determine which of the two is right for your budget, style requirements and lifestyle needs then click the link button 👇 to grab a copy of our comprehensive pricing guide.*Disclaimer: Prices correct at time of publication.

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