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Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring – How to navigate the options!

Advancements in technology have improved the flooring choices but this also adds confusion as to what to specify.

Laminate flooring has grown in popularity due to its low maintenance and durability. It is an exceptionally hard-wearing man-made floor comprising a realistic wood photo layer under a clear protective coating with an engineered base. Laminates provide the warmth and good looks of real wood without the scratching, aging, colour variations and maintenance of natural products.

Laminates are laid on underlay which acts as a dense, acoustic layer as well as a natural insulator. The underlay can also absorb small variations in the sub floor if it is not completely level.

The core of laminates usually comprises a high-density fibre board on a moisture resistant base.  Daily spills and liquids are easily maintained but select a new generation laminate with waterproof features, should you want to install in wet areas or hospitality and retail environments.

Laminates offer a uniform, cost effective timber look floor without the cost and maintenance of a real hardwood floor. The installation of click together laminate planks without glues or screws is also faster, saving installation costs.

In comparison luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) or multi-layer vinyl flooring is thinner and lighter and the layers comprise various man-made cores suitable for wet areas. The choices include realistic images and textures of stone, wood and ceramics. The quality of vinyls have improved greatly and it is sold in planks and tiles rather than sheets to imitate other flooring.

LVT flooring is softer underfoot and has some insulation properties depending upon the construction. The surfaces are durable, hygienic and will not splinter or crack ensuring longevity and durability in tough environments. Most varieties can be installed over underfloor heating for further comfort.

Note that heavy sharp objects could scratch or dent either floor type and extreme temperatures may expand or contract the flooring seasonally.

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