How Do Vinyl and Laminate Flooring Differ?

vinyl vs laminate flooring

If you are considering changing the flooring in your home, it’s important to consider the different options available. Various flooring choices provide both practical and aesthetic benefits. If you are keen to ensure that your flooring is cost friendly, highly durable and aesthetically pleasing, then you might want to consider either vinyl or laminate flooring. While these two choices might seem similar, there are distinct differences to be aware of here. 

Before we explore the differences, let’s look at the similarities. The main similarity is that both flooring options are relatively similar in cost. As such, you don’t have to worry about one being outside your budget. 

Both types of flooring also use a click and lock installation process. As such, you can install either type as a DIY project instead of paying for a professional service. 

Now, let’s look at the key differences. 


While having a similar appearance, there are subtle differences when they are both viewed up close. Both types of flooring are able to replicate the aesthetic of different materials including:

  • Wood
  • Ceramic 
  • Stone

Laminate flooring offers 3D embossing while vinyl flooring can provide a realistic impression of wood. However, if you want the best option to create the right aesthetic in your home, then you should consider laminate. It will provide an aesthetic that is far closer to the desired material. 


Next, you should consider the level of resistance to changes in the environment that these two types of flooring provide. Laminate flooring has a wooden core. Due to this it will swell and change if it is exposed to water. Worse still, it won’t retain its original form when it is damaged. The flooring will be permanently changed. This can result in significant levels of wear and tear which will mean that the flooring needs to be replaced. This is why many people do not recommend laminate flooring for areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom. 

While laminate flooring that is installed the right way can withstand pooled water, this will only be true for a limited period. You will need to be quick in cleaning up spills to avoid a disaster here. 

In contrast, vinyl flooring is largely waterproof. Particularly, if you have newer forms of vinyl flooring compared to the older forms that were produced with a felt back. Contemporary vinyl is 100% polymer. As such, it can be covered in water for longer periods compared with laminate. It’s important to note that vinyl flooring isn’t just water resistant. The majority of types of vinyl flooring are 100% waterproof. This means that they can be used in various areas of the home including:

  • Basements
  • Bathrooms 
  • Kitchens 

As such, vinyl flooring is going to be the best option if you need a more versatile type of flooring that can fit well in different environments around your home. 


Both types of flooring are relatively easy to clean and thus maintain. However, due to the issues mentioned above, it is best to clean laminate flooring with a dry mop or broom compared with soap and water. This can make it more difficult to remove some of the tougher stains that might develop over time. 

In contrast, vinyl flooring is simple to maintain. You can use a wet mop and you can even scrub it quite vigorously to remove some of the tougher stains. You won’t have to be gentle during the cleaning process. This also means that you can trust someone else to clean your floors without needing to worry about providing special requirements. 


Another point to consider is the level of durability. Both floors are designed to be durable. However, as mentioned, if laminate flooring is exposed to water for an extended period it will become damaged. The top surface of laminate flooring is also susceptible to scratches and chips. When this occurs, it can not be repaired. It will need to be replaced. 

Vinyl flooring may delaminate over time, but it largely depends on the type of vinyl that you choose. Some vinyl is thin and will provide more durability despite having a higher price tag.

Final Thoughts

That’s everything you need to know about vinyl and laminate flooring. Your choice for one over the other will largely be a personal preference. Although, vinyl does provide various practical benefits and is a more versatile choice for every type of room in your home. 

If you do need fantastic high-quality flooring in Ottawa, make sure you explore our fantastic selection of laminate and vinyl flooring we have available for your property.