If we want to compare all flooring options available on the market, we will probably never stop. There are just so many flooring types available. That is why people often get very confused when having to install new flooring in a new home or replace the old flooring with a new one.
But don’t worry! Here, you can find the comparisons that you need to determine the right flooring type for your home. Well, we have compared vinyl planks and laminate flooring before; you probably want to check it out first before proceeding. Nevertheless, below, we are going to see the comparisons between LVT flooring and laminate flooring. What is LVT flooring, exactly? Which one does look better, LVT or laminate? Which one is more energy efficient? We are going to try to answer those questions below to help you determine the best flooring type for your home. (Read also: LVT Flooring vs Laminate)
What is LVT Flooring?
You are probably wondering what LVT flooring exactly is and how it is different from the vinyl planks that we discussed in a previous article. LVT is actually the short for “luxury vinyl tile”. It is a luxury vinyl flooring product that has been designed to look like a stone or ceramic tile. LVT flooring is different from luxury vinyl plank flooring primarily by the shape; you see, LVT comes as tiles whereas luxury vinyl plank flooring comes as planks. However, LVT is usually made to mimic stone or ceramic, whereas luxury vinyl planks are usually made to mimic wood. Some LVT products are even designed to be as realistic as possible by featuring textured grout surfaces.
Of course, LVT flooring is made from vinyl, a synthetic plastic material composed of polyvinyl chloride or other related polymers. There is no precise industry standard that defines what LVT flooring is, but the market generally accepts LVTs as vinyl tiles made using the 3D printing technology to add depth and realism. There are several varieties. A monolithic LVT is a color tile that does not use any backing. A surface decorated LVT is an inlaid tile with a backing. Finally, a printed film vinyl tile is quite similar to laminate flooring that it uses a photographic layer with a vinyl wear layer.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring, sometimes also called as floating wood tile flooring in the United States, is a synthetic flooring product that is made from multiple layers that are fused together through a lamination process. Laminate flooring is designed to mimic wood or stone by using a photographic layer under a clear protective layer. Meanwhile, the inner core is usually made using melamine resin or fiber board materials. Laminate flooring has been very popular because it is easier to install and maintain than traditional flooring options, reasonably durable, and quite affordable. Some laminate flooring products are even ‘hygienic’ because they contain an antimicrobial resin, thus preventing the growth of germs on the surface.
LVT Flooring vs. Laminate: Installation and Appearance
In general, both LVT flooring and laminate flooring are easy to install. Neither of them needs to be nailed down using a floor stapler or any other special tool. You can even do the job by yourself if you want to press down the labor costs or simply enjoy working on such stuff. Nevertheless, LVT flooring comes with more varieties. The first models were designed to be glued down, but the recent models have been designed for floating installation without requiring any gluing or nailing. Meanwhile, laminate flooring is always installed in a floating manner. You should choose a floating installation if you want something that is not permanent and can be replaced easily.
As explained above, LVT flooring is usually made to mimic stone or ceramic whereas laminate flooring is made to mimic wood or stone. Both options can look very realistic, and they both are good-looking. LVT flooring can simulate the texture of the real thing better, but you can feel that it is actually plastic. Laminate flooring’s surface is usually smooth due to the protective layer, and sometimes feels somewhat more similar to wood due to containing some wood-based materials.
LVT Flooring vs. Laminate: Maintenance and Durability
Due to the inorganic nature, LVT flooring is much more moisture resistant. It does not even need any sealing, and it can be installed in a wet environment. It is easy to clean, it can be wet mopped, but the texture may actually collect build-ups. Keep in mind that it does not tolerate excessive heat or flame! When subjected to excessive heat or flame, it will be damaged and possibly develop a burnt mark. Nevertheless, LVT flooring is usually able to last longer than laminate flooring.
On the other hand, laminate flooring can withstand moisture pretty well, it can be installed in a somewhat humid environment, but it is not suitable for a very wet environment. You should use a gentle detergent to clean it, because the protective layer can get affected negatively by harsh chemicals. Laminate flooring is able to withstand heat and limited flame exposure somewhat better. But it can only last for up to ten years; once the protective layer has been completely worn off, the photographic layer will start to fade.
LVT Flooring vs. Laminate: Eco-Friendliness
Between the two, laminate flooring is by far the greener option because the flooring is made from more eco-friendly materials. Many laminate flooring products are made from wood byproducts, though they indeed also contain other synthetic materials. LVT flooring is not as eco-friendly because it is completely made from synthetic materials and petrochemicals.
Both LVT flooring and laminate flooring are decent options if you are looking for a semi-permanent solution. LVT flooring is great if you need the floor to be very water resistant. Also, LVT flooring is relatively easier to maintain and able to last longer. However, if there is a risk that the floor will be subjected to a limited heat/flame exposure, you should choose laminate flooring. You may also want to choose laminate flooring if you prefer a green product.