Laminate flooring versus vinyl flooring

Date posted: 25/09/20

Are you looking for a hard-wearing and affordable yet attractive floor covering for your home? Do you want something that can deal with spills and splashes but still looks pleasing and feels nice to walk on? Laminate and vinyl flooring both fit the bill, but which is best suited to your home? Let’s compare the key features of both types of flooring.


There is little to choose between the two in terms of attractive finishes, with both available in a wide range of colours, styles and even textures. Generally speaking, however, vinyl flooring can look more like real wood due to deeper embossing being possible, while laminate flooring tends to be more able to mimic stone and tiles.

Water resistance

While many modern laminates are now water-resistant up to an impressive level, vinyl still tends to be more forgiving, especially when it comes to frequent or prolonged water exposure. Vinyl is not only water-resistant but also waterproof. This means you don’t need to worry about mopping up spills of water right away, as you should with laminate flooring. It also means you can use a wet mop to clean the flooring, as opposed to merely a damp one for laminate.

Underfoot comfort

Vinyl wins this one – just about. Laminate is softer and more forgiving than a stone or tile floor, but vinyl provides a more padded surface. This makes it especially great for homes with small children. You can add padded underlay if this is particularly important to you. Laminate is comfortable to walk on and warmer than stone, for example, but it won’t provide the cushioning underfoot that vinyl can.


This is a tough one, as manufacturers vary so much in their practices, but laminate is generally considered slightly more eco-friendly. Vinyl doesn’t decompose in landfill and it is very difficult to recycle. Although its eco-credentials have improved recently, it is still a little behind laminate. Laminate does contain some wood, which comes from green sources in many cases.


Both are easy to care for but vinyl is slightly more versatile, mainly as a result of its waterproof qualities. You can vacuum, sweep or mop both types of flooring but should only ever use a damp rather than a wet mop for laminate flooring. If water gets into the joins between the laminate planks, it can cause the planks to swell and the colour to change.