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Flooring Feud: Laminate vs. LVP

These two flooring options are so similar, yet, so different. Which one is right for you and your space?

Laminate and Luxury Vinyl Plank (or LVP) may look and feel remarkably similar, but there are key differences between the two flooring types. It is because of these differences that there are instances in which laminate is a better flooring choice and when LVP is a better flooring choice for your home renovation. Understanding your space’s needs as well as what different flooring types bring to the table is empowering and beneficial to you, the customer, when completing a home renovation. Besides having peace of mind that you’re making the right decisions, you’ll also have a better idea, going into the project, about what you want the end product to look like.

Similarities

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A laminate flooring job in a kitchen we did a few years back.

While they do have their differences laminate and LVP flooring also have many similarities. For example, both flooring types are comprised of a photographic imaging layer in which the design/pattern of the floor is placed. Because this technique is similar between the two flooring types, you can find similar styles and designs in both types of flooring. Although, it is worth noting that higher-end LVPs can have extra design elements included that give the flooring a more realistic look and feel — especially when it comes to wood-look styles. Some companies add grooves and ridges to make the LVP look and feel more like hardwood. In fact, some experts can’t even tell the difference between certain LVPs and hardwoods. Conversely, it’s a bit more difficult for laminate to fully replicate either hardwood or stone tile, as it typically looks and feels a bit more plastic-y and artificial.

Both floorings have a similar feel when walking on them. As mentioned before, some laminates can feel a bit more like plastic than some LVPs can. Higher-end LVPs can also feel less slippery than some laminates. This could be a determining factor for those who are disabled, have very young children, or are elderly.

In terms of comfortability when walking on them, both laminate and LVP absorb pressure with each footfall. Some find this to be particularly relaxing — especially when compared to other hard-surface flooring options. Because they absorb pressure, both are able to reduce the noise that comes with walking, something that hardwood notably doesn’t do very well.

Durability & Care

Both LVP and laminate are known for their durability and affordability. LVP can notably hold up against damage better than laminate, but that isn’t to say laminate isn’t a good option for some households. Especially for its affordability, laminate might make more sense for some consumers with pets or young children. I mean, who wants to spend a ton of money on flooring only for it to get damaged?

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A beautiful LVP reno we did in Folsom.

Perhaps the key difference when comparing the durability of these two products is the ability, or lack thereof, to hold up against moisture and water. LVP is waterproof, but laminate is not waterproof. It’s still best practice to clean up after a spill to prevent any possible damage, but LVP can hold up against any spills and leaks. Laminate, on the other hand, can warp and bend when water and other spills are not immediately cleaned up. Mold can even form under the boards if water is not cleaned up. For the most part, this mean that laminate should not be installed in a bathroom. The potential exception is a half bath, as there is a lower chance of water damage than with a bathtub of shower present.

A similarity these flooring options share is ease of maintenance and care. Each requires just an occasional sweeping or gentle mopping with water to keep the flooring in good condition.

Cost

Money is a huge factor in many home improvement projects. Typically, LVP is going to be more expensive than laminate flooring. LVP ranges from $.99 to $8 per square foot, but laminate ranges from $.59 to around $5 per square foot. For those who want to save even further, we have some good news! Both options can be installed by yourself! Even if you choose to have your flooring professionally installed, installation costs shouldn’t differ too greatly between the two options, since they both have very similar installation techniques.

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A wood-look LVP project we did in 2020. This product offers realistic knots to give the look of authentic wood.

It’s important to consider long-term costs as well. At some point, your flooring will have to be replaced, which adds to the overall cost. Depending on the quality and treatment of the flooring, laminate can last for about 15 to 25 years before it has to be replaced. LVP can last for about 10 to 20 years. Because of LVP’s durability, some companies offer 15-year warranties. Obviously how soon the flooring has to be replaced, no matter the type, has to do with how much wear and tear the flooring experiences.

At the end of the day, even if laminate or LVP is treated very well, both need to be replaced because each flooring type begins to emit Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs for short). These are carcinogens that are emitted into the air of your home once the flooring begins to age and break down. It’s debated amongst sources as to which of the two flooring types gives off less VOCs.

There’s more than meets the eye with these two flooring options, and while they share many of the same properties, there are a few key differences that can make the difference when renovating your home. Being informed is important when renovating your home. No matter what option you go with, a renovation is expensive. It’s important to make the right choice the first time!

California Renovation — building trust, delivering results — Since 1962

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