What Are The Differences Between Luxury Vinyl Plank And Laminate Flooring?

Luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring are often confused with one another because of how similar they look.

Even if they look similar, there are many things that separate vinyl plank and laminate flooring. If you do not have a solid knowledge of these differences, you will struggle with knowing which type of flooring is best for you.

Indeed, the different qualities of luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring are ideal for different kinds of homes and other buildings, and knowing about them will allow you to make an even more educated decision when it comes to choosing between the two.

The differences between luxury vinyl plank deserve to be explored, and they deserve to be explored intimately because luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring tend to look exactly alike to the naked eye.

This is exactly why these differences need to be explored in great detail. Their look and feel are far too similar to be analyzed on a strictly surface level.

Before these differences can be explored, there is one mistake that some make when attempting to detect these differences.

Understanding why this bad habit exists and why it is practiced will help you understand exactly why it is necessary to explore differences between these two flooring types in greater detail.

Differences Between Luxury Vinyl Plank And Laminate Flooring

The mistakes of simplifying or ignoring differences

One of the biggest mistakes that many make when trying to detect the differences between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring is believing that the differences between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring are negligible at best and non-existent at worst.

This can be dangerous when you are faced with the decision of installing luxury vinyl plank or a laminate floor.

If you overlook certain details about these two types of floors, you might overlook or even ignore certain details that could have led you to choose one type of floor over the other, with that one type of floor being more optimal.

There are two reasons why this mistake is made. First, they only think in terms of the surface of the floor and nothing else. When comparing luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring, this is a big mistake because they look very similar on the surface.

If you only think in these terms, you’ll ignore details about both kinds of floors that are often the most important aspects of them. You need to understand that there are other aspects of luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring than what the surface contains.

The second reason this mistake is made is that many are convinced that luxury vinyl plank is exactly the same as laminate flooring.

While some are aware that there are certain differences between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring, some believe that there are not any differences between them at all.

This results in making the worst decision when it comes to choosing between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring, which is making a decision based completely on factors such as price point or how quickly they can be installed.

Knowing the differences between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring is necessary when deciding on which of these to install.

Now that you know why you need to have a deep understanding of these differences, it is now time to explore these differences in their entirety.

There are three major categories when it comes to comparing luxury vinyl plank against laminate flooring: Durability, maintenance, and aesthetics. The most significant differences between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring exist within these three categories.

Durability differences

At first glance, it may seem that there is no legitimate difference between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring when it comes to durability.

However, there are differences, as insignificant as they may be.

For example, while both luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring may appear to be waterproof, only luxury vinyl plank is waterproof.
This means that it is never recommended to clean a laminate floor with a wet mop. If you previously believed that both floors were waterproof, you now know that this is not true and you now know that cleaning a laminate floor with a wet mop is a big mistake.

Laminate flooring is a little more durable than luxury vinyl plank, however. While heavy furniture can cause luxury vinyl plank to dent, this is not an issue with laminate flooring. Although laminate flooring can chip and scratch, this is usually more an issue of normal wear and tear than impacts from heavy furniture or other things like it.

This observation may paint laminate flooring as the better of the two, but keep in mind that it is much easier to clean luxury vinyl plank.

Cleaning a floor is part of maintaining it, and unlike with durability, there are significant differences between the proper maintenance processes of luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring that need to be addressed.

Maintenance differences

The processes of maintaining luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring are not a universe apart, but the differences are there and they need to be paid attention to.

As mentioned earlier, cleaning luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring use different methods. Luxury vinyl planks can be cleaned with steam mops of wet mops that use non-abrasive mild cleaner. This allows for a more versatile approach when cleaning them.

Laminate flooring is a little different. Using a wet mop to clean it is not only not recommended, but it will probably ruin the floor.

This requires a different approach. To clean a laminate floor, you’ll need to use laminate-specific cleaning products to clean them.

You’ll also need to use laminate-specific cleaning products to restore the shine on laminate floors. However, at least it is possible to restore the shine on laminate floors. Wax-based polish cannot be used on luxury vinyl plank, and it is very difficult to restore its shine.

The entire point of maintaining any floor is to retain its aesthetic value.

There are also aesthetic differences between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring, and they should also be explored.

Aesthetic differences

Of these three categories, aesthetics are the one category that is probably the most overlooked, and rightly so: It can be very difficult to tell luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring apart, but there are very subtle differences that you can detect when it comes to aesthetics.

First, while both luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring are available in oak, mahogany, and cherry styles, laminate flooring is also available in travertine, ceramic, and stone styles.

This makes laminate flooring a little more versatile than luxury vinyl plank when it comes to available styles.

Another thing that gives laminate flooring a little more value over luxury vinyl plank is that they are not as prone to fading as luxury vinyl plank is.

Laminate flooring is also much more versatile in their sizing than luxury vinyl plank as well. Laminate floors can range from 4 to 16 inches wide and 36 to 48 inches long. Luxury vinyl plank are available in the same kind of lengths, but they can only extend to 8 inches in width.

Conclusion

Among the differences in durability, maintenance processes, and aesthetic differences, there is one difference between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring that you should pay specific attention to, and that is installation.

While both luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring can both be installed on a floating basis, luxury vinyl plank can be installed using a peel-and-stick method. This can give you many more installation options compared to laminate flooring.

These are the things that separate luxury vinyl plank from laminate flooring.

It is true that most of these differences are subtle, bordering on negligible, but when it comes to flooring, even the smallest differences can change your entire flooring preference.

When you are aware of these differences, you’ll have a much clearer idea of which of these two flooring types is ideal for you.