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Old 04-06-2012, 09:00 PM   #1
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


Hi, I am new here. I am a fan of DIY have always done most of my own car repairs. My husband and I are buying our first home it will be a townhouse, currently carpeted. So I have limited home repair/reno DIY experience but have lots of tools and general ability to figure things out.

We do not want to deal with any carpet (I have allergies and we have cats who occasionally throw up a hairball) and plan to rip it out and replace with a hard floor, but for the first couple years our budget is tight, we already have to buy some appliances for the place - but want to get the carpet out before we move in since it's so much easier to do when empty. The home is 1500 sq ft so we are looking for material around $2 or less/sq ft and easy to install.

I hoped that some here can help me compare the pros and cons of laminate (click together) and floating vinyl plank (HD Allure stick together or Lowes Armstrong stick together).

Here is what I have so far:

Laminate PROs:

- more scratch resistant
- better resale value

Laminate CONs

- not water resistant (may not be good to extend into half bath and kitchen, cat puke might cause a problem)
- can be noisy if badly installed (crackling and popping)
- requires saw and more difficult to install, noisier to install (townhouse)
- requires underlay (we will need a sound reducing one for townhouse with laminate) which can add a lot to the cost

Vinyl Plank PROs:

- easiest floor to install can be cut without saw and quickly installed
- looks better than some of the cheapest laminate
- water "proof" (meaning if cat pukes on it or step out of wet shower, it will be ok)
- quiet underfoot

Vinyl Plank CONs:
- have seen very mixed reviews on longevity and issues with seams. Though we do not have a basement (and we are in a temperate zone of California) we have a fireplace and there will be a lot of sun coming in some windows which we do not want to block all the time raising concerns about temperature differentials/seam separation or curling
- have read reports of bad smell that doesn't go away
- scuffs very easily, concerned about dining chairs and general use causing ugly marks - we do remove shoes inside and have felt on chair feet

Care to add your PROs and CONs?

Thanks!

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Old 04-07-2012, 05:44 AM   #2
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


You pretty well got the major pros and cons and laminate. I'll make some clarifications on the vinyl though. For one, it isn't waterproof. It sound like you are using the glued edge system and while the plank itself may be impervious to moisture, the adhesive in the seam is not. As far as the bad smell I think that is down to the brand and how they make it. I've put in a ton of Naturelle, Metrofloor, Karndean, and Shaw product and the smell is gone in a couple of days. It doesn't really scuff easily either, but if you drag something heavy across it you can definitely scratch it badly. In the same situation laminate would be more likely to scuff before getting deeply scratched.

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:27 AM   #3
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


Both are temporary floor coverings. Don't count on either one for more than a few years. And another note, research shows that carpet irtitates allergies LESS than hard surfaces.

"One major study of inner city children with asthma found that when allergen sources are removed from their homes, through improved cleaning practices and elimination of tobacco smoke, asthmatic children will do better, no matter what kind of product is on the floor. A large-scale medical research project called “The Inner City Asthma Study” showed that, when allergen sources such as mold, rodent, and cockroaches are removed, as well as a child’s exposure to tobacco smoke, children’s asthma greatly improves. Further, the Inner-City Asthma Study found no difference in the improvement experienced by children who lived in homes with carpet versus children from homes with other types of flooring. In addition, no difference was found in the levels of allergens measured in carpeted homes compared to homes with hard surface floors. "
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:53 AM   #4
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


Thanks I am not interested in carpet in my experience carpet has always made my allergies worse as well as being difficult to keep clean with pets. Also I am aware as I mentioned that cheaper floors do not last as long as expensive floors. So if anyone can contribute to the comparison of these 2 types of floor I would appreciate it.

Papameth thanks for your experience with the vinyl. I put the quotes on waterproof because I know it's not totally waterproof but rather if you step out of the shower with wet feet it's not a problem. Buckets if standing water, no.

Last edited by tinan; 04-07-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


Laminite flooring does not increase the value in any home, in fact the opposite is true. Ever see an ad for a house for sale saying anything about laminite floors? But you see then all the time saying real hardwood floors.
I'd suggest looking into engineered flooring instead, looks like real wood, because it is, easy to install, adds to the value, can be refinished, can be installed over a wood subfloor or a slab, no hollow sound when walking on it.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:17 AM   #6
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Yes actually in my area laminate is considered an upgrade over carpet in a townhouse. People prefer hard floors around here.

I already mentioned that engineered floors are not in our budget, we plan to do this install ourselves. This is a DIY chat board remember? Engineered wood is NOT easy to install I have seen it done by pros I do not have the tools or experience for it. Sometimes I wonder about chat boards. Why us it that you ask for input on a subject and the majority of responses are always about something different altogether? For this thread, I really really just want to stick to a comparison of the vinyl vs laminate floors. Thanks!

Last edited by tinan; 04-07-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:23 AM   #7
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


It's installed almost the same as laminite and even uses the same tools to install it unless it's a wooden sub floor then you would need a flooring nailer.
What's the subfloor made of?
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:27 AM   #8
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


engineered can be bought for the same price as a good laminate. engineered can be glued down, nailed down and floated. some of it locks together just like laminate does.
if you can install laminate then you can install engineered also.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:27 AM   #9
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


Vinyl planks have a high incidence of failure on concrete floors. (I am assuming that your townhome has either concrete or gypcrete floors?) If you have any type of back or foot problems both will make them worse, but the laminate may be a little better.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:04 PM   #10
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


The foundation is concrete slab but there are existing plywood subfloors. The second floor is of course wood.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:53 AM   #11
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


Hi tinan!

Am curious what you decided to do. Did you go with laminate or did you go with vinyl plank flooring...such as allure? It sounds like an allure floor may have been good fit for you.

Hope it turned out great!

~Aaron
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:14 PM   #12
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


I used vinyl plank, installed it myself in 4 days and it turned out great. Have had it for 2 years now, very happy with it especially as it was on clearance at Lowes for 80 cents/sf (now discontinued product). I used DryLock sealer on the concrete slab, we have not had any issues.
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Old 03-15-2014, 03:33 AM   #13
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Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank


It audio like you are using the stuck advantage program and while the cedar itself may be resistant to wetness, the sticky in the joint is not. As far as the bad fragrance I think that is down to the item and how they create it. I've put in a ton of Naturelle, Metrofloor, Karndean, and Shaw item and the fragrance is gone in a short time. It doesn't really damage quickly either, but if you move something large across it you can definitely the begining it poorly. In the same scenario wood flooring would be more likely to damage before getting greatly scraped.
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Old 04-15-2014, 05:24 PM   #14
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I have read that the vinyl plank flooring scratches easily. We are tough on our floors with kids and dropping logs when bringing them in. Which flooring would be better.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:44 AM   #15
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