When deciding what application is best for your home, one should consider a number of factors; price, location, function, atheistic and level of durability. When you’ve narrowed it down, sometimes it seems as though you’ve only narrowed down your search to a broad category, if that broad category is vinyl and laminate flooring, than this is the blog post for you! When hardwood flooring doesn’t seem to fit the bill, alternatives like vinyl and laminate flooring crop up as solutions. This post is to help you understand some of the features of both vinyls and laminates, to make the best decision for your space, based on your needs.
Laminate flooring has been a mainstay in the market of flooring as a popular alternative to natural products like hardwood and tiles. Composed of several layers, laminated flooring is essentially a laminated MDF or HDF board. The top layer is the wear layer, which protects and laminates the high resolution image of any given natural stone, or wood that then becomes your floor. The difference between MDF and HDF is how tightly packed the wood particles are compressed; a high density core being more durable than an medium density core.
Laminate flooring has some advantages durability and price being the most significant. Laminate flooring is typically better able to stand up to wear and tear than traditional natural flooring solutions. Installation of laminates is literally a snap, built in click together constructions, laying down a laminate floor is a challenge many can take and conquer. Installing a laminate floor will require first laying down your choice of underlay, which acts as a moisture barrier is very important to prolong the life of your laminate floor, and then the flooring itself can be clicked together over top. There are a few drawbacks when considering Laminate flooring, one being the sounds and feel of the product underfoot, being a dead giveaway that it is not actually hardwood. This is a minor drawback to some, but very significant to others. Like many hardwood floors, that do not use alternative types of finishes, the is the concern of the potential for laminate flooring to be a store house for formaldehyde commonly used in the glues, resins and binders that hold it all together.
- Easy to clean
- Resists fading due to UV exposure
- Easy to install
- Not water resistant
- Cannot be refinished
- Health concerns
WPC & Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring is a sector of the flooring market that over the past year, seems to be gaining in popularity as an alternative to natural hardwood flooring or laminates. Vinyl is a “plastic” flooring solution that with technology very closely resembles the look of hardwood or natural stone. Many of us are familiar with the traditional vinyl flooring, but now there is also something called WPC on the market. but what exactly is a WPC floor?
The acronym stands for Wood Plastic Composite, which essentially boils down to each plank being composed of a mixture of blended wood flour, and plastic resins. In terms of construction, like an engineered hardwood floor, WPC’s are composed primary of 3 layers. On top you have a wear layer that gives your flooring the look of either hardwood or tile. Beneath that is the vinyl itself, which is then affixed to the final layer, the wood plastic core. This core is what gives the floor its rigidity, like hardwood, but flexibility like traditional vinyl, WPCs are typically made in a click construction for installation, no underlay is required. Alternatively, loose lay vinyl, can be completed in an afternoon, onlu require one the lay each plank one beside another, no glue require. The construction of a WPC however mitigates the need for sub floor prep that is typically required for traditional luxury vinyl flooring, due to its rigidity, due to a loose lay vinyls flexibility, it requires an almost perfectly flat surface. The most significant benefit of WPC flooring over laminate flooring however is its resistance to water. This makes it the ideal flooring solution to areas that are prone to water leakages like basements, or moisture rich environments like kitchens and baths. Another benefit of vinyl which lends itself simply to the material it is made of, is the fact that unlike natural stone, vinyl flooring is warm to the touch. Making them much more comfortable, in areas where we may tend to walk barefoot, like a bathroom especially in the colder months.
- water resistant
- easy installation
- subfloor preperation
- toxic fire hazard