If you’re wanting to replace your current floor with either laminate, vinyl, or tile, then this is the post for you. Ryan and I spent the past 4 weekends debating between the three. At one point we were convinced we wanted laminate. The next morning (I guess we needed a good night’s sleep) we decided on tile. After driving around looking at tile options we switched to vinyl. Then it started all over again. This is how it went for a good month. BUT we did discover a lot about the pros, cons, and installation process for each material.
We were very picky when trying to find the perfect flooring for our home. It’s eventually going to be installed in the kitchen, main living areas, and the bedrooms. It’s a big decision! We wanted the wood look, the perfect ash color, a slight color variation but not too much to where it looks like zebra stripes once it’s placed down, texture like wood grain, and of course waterproof. No big deal, right? Wrong. I’ll have another post soon about what we finally decided on, but today, it’s all about the pros, cons, and installation materials for each type of flooring. Here’s our takeaway on the three types of flooring:
Laminate flooring consists of layers of high density fiber boards. The bottom is backing that can help resist moisture while the top layer is the design covered with a wear layer to help protect the design. For example, a wood look.
1. A fairly easy installation process.
2. Has great durability when it comes to high traffic.
3. Can be textured to feel like and mimic real wood.
4. Some are made with a water resistant barrier. But you still need to remove the water/moisture within 24 hours.
1. Can be loud without the proper or enough underlayment.
2. Can easily warp when it comes in contact with moisture. They are not 100% waterproof.
3. Can’t be mopped because of moisture/water.
Materials for Installation
Laminate || Measuring Tape || Speed Square || Hammer || Spacers || Utility Knife || Jigsaw || Power Drill || Wood Chisel || Damp Proof Membrane || Hammer Block
Luxury Vinyl Planks
First let me say this. Vinyl has come a long way from even a couple years ago. Luxury vinyl planks are formed into 6 wide inch planks that have the texture and color of the material it is mimicking. In my case, wood. With an interlocking system, vinyl flooring consists of a solid vinyl core, a printed vinyl layer (the pattern), and the wear layer. The bottom of some are made of cork which help make it a floating floor.
1. Very easy installation. No glue, nails, or underlayment needed.
2. Durable and flexible
3. Can easily be cleaned by mopping.
4. Can purchase scratch resistant and 100% waterproof vinyl.
5. Cork bottom prevents mildew
6. Can be textured to feel like and mimic real wood.
7. Resistant to mold, mildew, and odors which makes it great to install pretty much anywhere.
1. Sharp objects can gauge it and leave marks.
2. Durability is fair to great depending on the quality you buy.
3. Can discolor if exposed to direct sunlight by using outside. Rubber bottoms can also wear away the color.
Materials for Installation
Vinyl Flooring || Rubber Mallet || Utility Knife || Measuring Tape || Speed Square || Damp Proof Membrane || Polyform Underlay || Spacers
Here in Florida, you’re going to see tile in most homes. Usually made of ceramic or porcelain, tile can also mimic the look of wood.
1. Easy to clean
2. Very durable
3. The tile is scratch and stain resistant
4. Can be slightly textured to feel like real wood.
1. Grout can quickly get dirty even with sealer. You have to scrub it clean 1-2 times per year. This can be a long process if you have a lot of tile.
2. The grout can actually stain.
3. Installation can be long and difficult.
4. Any brittle items (glass, home decor) that fall on it, will easily break.
5. Can chip but you can use a permanent marker to hide the chipped piece.
Materials for Installation
Tile || Tile Spacers || Trowel || Sponge || Thinset || Grout || T Square || Wet Saw || Measuring Tape || Grout Float || 5-Gallon Bucket || Chalk Box || Power Driver
As always, cost is an important factor when choosing flooring. Ryan and I found vinyl, laminate, and tile that were all in the same price range. With that said, you can purchase the main flooring for around the same price. It’s the materials you need to install the flooring that can drive up the cost. Which is why I included the materials in this post for each type of flooring. For example, tile needs grout and thinset. Laminate needs a damp proof membrane and underlayment. Vinyl is the only flooring that doesn’t need anything to install but I highly recommend placing down a damp proof membrane first.
I hope this helps you make a decision for your home or at least give you an idea of what you want browse. I look forward to sharing with you our final decision and the transformation of our master bedroom. That’s the room we will be tackling first. Wish us luck!
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Anthony Cooper says
I was researching this from a very long time and end up being here. You have explained the differences very neatly and nicely. Thanks for posting such an informative post. Now I can confidently go for laminate flooring.
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