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A Comparison Between Vinyl and Laminate Flooring – Part 2

The Second part of our comprehensive comparison between Vinyl and Laminate Flooring. You can read part 1 here.

Material Costs

Laminate flooring and luxury vinyl flooring are roughly comparable in price, although sheet vinyl does hold an edge. Both laminate flooring and vinyl flooring are usually less expensive than natural hardwood, engineered wood, and many types of ceramic or porcelain tile.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring can cost as little as $1.00 or even $.50 per square foot for thin, glue-down vinyl flooring. Vinyl costs rise to around $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot for luxury vinyl planks. Select vinyl flooring might cost more than $5.00 per square foot.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring ranges from about $1.00 per square foot for 7 mm-thick planks to about $3.00 per square foot for lower-end 12 mm-thick planks.

Home Value

A home’s value and subsequent resale value is dependent on many factors: overall real estate market, neighborhood sales, remodels and additions to the house, and curb value. Since flooring is a major component of a home, it can have an effect on a home’s value.

Generally, quality laminate flooring and quality vinyl flooring lend a comparable amount of value to a home. Neither bring the high-value prestige of solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, or designer ceramic tile or natural stone floors. At the same time, quality laminate or vinyl flooring usually will not put off prospective home buyers.

Comfort and Sound

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl floors of all types can feel cold or hard on the feet, especially when they are installed over concrete or existing ceramic tile floors. Thicker vinyl floors with pre-attached underlayment are somewhat more comfortable and quieter.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring products can feel somewhat hollow underfoot when compared to the wood floors they are supposed to mimic. They also tend to transmit noise, though including a foam underlayment beneath the flooring, as recommended by some manufacturers, can reduce both the hollow feeling and the noise factor. Some users may feel that because laminate floors incorporate wood content, they are warmer to the touch and easier to walk on.

Environmental Factors

If using green building materials is important to you, laminate flooring has a small advantage, thanks to the natural wood content of the fiberboard core. Some manufacturers offer laminates that qualify for LEED MR4 (Recycled Content) status. But laminate flooring still uses a plastic surface layer, and the melamine resins used in the creation of the core level are by no means green materials since they may off-gas chemicals.

Vinyl flooring has improved its green stature in recent years. Some manufacturers now produce vinyl flooring that achieves a LEED credit EQ4.3 for Low-Emitting Material. Still, vinyl is a synthetic material that is known to produce toxic chemicals when burned. Vinyl does not decompose in landfills, and recycling it is usually not an option.

Neither of these materials is environmentally friendly in the way that natural wood, linoleum, or bamboo floor coverings are.

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