Laminate flooring or Waterproof vinyl?

Water damaged laminate flooring

As a flooring retailer, I am often asked to make recommendations on what type of flooring to use for my customers. Although it’s purely subjective, I normally will offer my recommendations based the value that the product brings to certain customers.  To me the choice should based on stage in life of the customer, practicality(needs) and budget.  Lately, the questions of choosing between traditional laminate flooring or waterproof vinyl flooring comes up often in my store.  This is my take on it.

Without going into too many details, the biggest difference between laminate and waterproof vinyl is, needless to say, the ability to withstand excessive moisture.  Before the introduction of waterproof vinyl flooring, laminate flooring was the go-to choice for customers who are on a budget or simply looking for products that are easier to maintain than hardwood.  However, it’s never recommended to use laminate flooring in wet areas in the house, such as kitchen and bathrooms.  For customers with pets that would have occasional “accidents” in the house, laminate can also fail rather quickly.  Waterproof vinyl on the other hand can handle all that.  It requires very little maintenance and can be cleaned simply with water.  Some higher end products can even prevent mold growth in the structure of the floor.  Therefore, in my opinion, waterproof vinyl is a better choice compared to laminate. And if you are worried about the formaldehyde level, there’s none.  Although the price of a mid to high level waterproof vinyl is still about 35 to 40% higher than laminate, I’d much rather pay the extra dollars for the convenience and peace of mind.

The design of waterproof vinyl is still in its early stage.  More color and texture options will become available in the coming months.  With better selections and wider price range, I believe it will render laminate flooring obsolete in the near future. So if you are in the market for the laminate flooring, please keep your options open for waterproof vinyl.  It is a much better choice in my humble opinion.

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