Laminate vs Vinyl: An in-depth comparison

Laminate vs Vinyl: An in-depth comparison

Laminate Flooring
•    Feels more like wood
•    Sometimes looks more like wood
•    Subfloor does not have to be as smooth
•    More textures and styles to choose from
•    Reduces allergies
•    Helps with pest control (bed bug issues)
•    Hard to Damage

Laminate on the other hand is categorized by AC rating. "AC Rating?" you ask? Yes, the AC Rating is a measurement of how durable the product is combined with the hardness of the board along with the paper quality, top layer, and resolution.  Each increase in AC Rating represents a 60% increase in the wear layer. Basically, the higher the AC Rating, the more it will withstand heavy foot traffic, normal wear, and will look more like real wood. See below for rating chart

 

AC Laminate flooring Rating Chart

AC1   LOW LOW traffic (not common in the USA however there are some brands and smaller company who will bring AC1 and label it as a AC3)

AC2 Low Traffic Residential there are some brands and smaller company who will bring AC2 and label it as a AC3)

AC3 Residential Light Commercial (most common in the US market) overall Durable

AC4 Commercial General Traffic good for offices and Boutiques

AC5 Heavy Commercial High traffic (public buildings)


Second element you should look for in Laminate flooring is the thickness. Because unlike Vinyl plank, laminate flooring's thickness is important to its durability since laminate is not water resistant. There are also limitations to texture and finish when it comes to the overall thickness of laminate flooring.

8mm   (anything less than 8mm will not last very long)

8.2mm  ( in stock at American Floor Covering Center )

12.3mm  (highly Recommended ) (in stock at American Floor Covering Center

Is there Value to having Padding or underlayment attached to your laminate or vinyl flooring?

NO. Underlayment is the least expensive part of your project and the easiest part of the installing processes. No installer should charge you more to lay underlayment. Apart from that, you will still need a moisture barrier which sold by itself usually cost more than our Blue Foam 3-in-1 underlayment. Anytime you see a padding attached to the back of laminate flooring this is just a marketing delusion to get you to pay more for their product. Lastly when there is foam / underlayment pre attached to the floor there is no support on the joints of the floor are which is where the floor needs the most support.

 

We recommend 12.mm and an AC3 or better floor for any use.


LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) and LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank)
•    Water resistant (can be cleaned with water)
•    Must have fairly smoother sub floor than Laminate flooring
•    Do it yourself repair
•    Minimal tools needed (user friendly)
•    Reduces allergies
•    Helps with pest control (bed bug issues)
•    Hard to damage
•    Less echoing (not as noisy when walked on )
•    Economic
•    Eco-friendly 

For 30 years we've been helping people find the perfect flooring for their needs! Before we can match you with flooring that exceeds your expectations, let us give you a little break down.  It's not necessarily about the thickness of the Vinyl, more so the wear layer. You get what you pay for, and with us, it's always top quality! Our LVT, Vinyl Planks both glue down and floating are predominantly .12-.2 wear layers.  (Please see below for wear layer breakdown)  You're probably wondering, "Do they purchase their flooring from China or here in the U.S.?" A perfect question I might add. It's not really about where it's made. Here at American Floor Covering Center quality control, name brands, reputable companies and factories are who we work with only. We pride ourselves on the quality of the products we represent. This is why unlike our competitors we want our customers to know exactly what they are buying. This has always been the core vision at American Floor covering center.

 

Wear layer breakdown

 6mil =.06 Light residential

 8mil=.08 Residential

 12mil=.12 Commercial

 20mil=.20 High Commercial

 

Please note: any time you have padding / or cork underlayment pre attached to your vinyl flooring you are defeating the number one benefit of Vinyl Plank, LVT.  In a situation where you may have a flood and the vinyl is wet for long periods of time the backing cork will get damaged and or will start peeling off, there for you can no longer reuse that floor. Separate is always better.

Keep in mind what material the vinyl is made out of as Plastic is always cheaper, rubber is more expensive. When looking for the right product always look for a vinyl that has more rubber then plastic as it will last long and is more flexible and easy to work with or work around.

WPC (Wood Plastic Composites) - Warning: Any time you have a plastic core WPC it important that it in fact has the wood element to it. This stabilizes the floor from warping and bending which would lead to major problems in the future.

            If the LVT, WPC, Vinyl plank already have glue on the back (peal and stick) isn’t that a good thing? You save time and money right? Wrong! Whenever there is an adhesive on the back of any vinyl flooring, you limit how close you can lay each piece beside one another. Before you can get the piece to touch, your vinyl has already stuck to the subfloor. Also the peal and stick adhesive is never that strong there for on a hot day or with lots of direct sunlight the planks will start to pop up/bubble up.  When glue is necessary, always apply the glue separately and know what you’re buying. Make sure it’s a pressure sensitive adhesive made for Vinyl.





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