Two terms you’ll encounter a lot when you
shop for flooring are laminate and luxury vinyl. And we want to help you know the difference
between the two, so that you can make the best choice for your home and family. Some people might get luxury vinyl and laminate
confused, because they can both look like hardwood or ceramic tile. They aren’t actually wood or tile. That’s right! Both laminate and vinyl flooring provide the
look of wood, tile, or stone, but at more affordable prices. Vinyl flooring is made from–you guessed
it!–vinyl, which gives the material a firm but elastic construction. You’ll often hear it called LVT for luxury
vinyl tile, or LVP for luxury vinyl plank. It’s composed of layers. On top is a protective coating, then a wear
layer to make it extremely durable. Next, there is a printed photorealistic image
of woodgrain, tile, or stone. And then, a base layer and backing layer. Laminate is also made of layers. The top layer of a laminate floor is a very
strong, clear, melamine wear layer. It protects the photorealistic image that
you see through the melamine. The third layer is a high-density fiber core,
which gives the floor its strength. And the fourth, bottom layer is another balancing
layer of melamine. You can buy luxury vinyl in planks or tiles. Laminate comes in planks. Vinyl can be installed using the float, glue,
or loose lay methods. Floating installation means the planks are
locked together, but they are not attached to the wall or the subfloor. Laminate is designed to always be installed
using the floating method. They can both be installed over wood subfloors
or concrete subfloors. Both laminate and vinyl are easy to clean. They look great after simply sweeping and
dry mopping. Both products can be installed on any level
of the home–including the basement! And both are great DIY projects. Vinyl is quieter and softer underfoot. Laminate is both scratch- and fade-resistant. If you’re considering vinyl in a room with
direct sunlight, you’ll want to close the blinds or drapes during peak sunlight hours
to protect the structural integrity of your flooring from the heat of the sun’s rays. Laminate is not suitable for areas with high
levels of moisture, which could warp or permanently damage your floor. Vinyl is stain-resistant, as well as resistant
to water, mold, and mildew, making it an especially great choice for basements and bathrooms. And some of Shaw Floors’ luxury vinyl styles
are waterproof. Laminate is generally more affordable than
vinyl. And both are generally more affordable than
hardwood or tile. And finally, both options from Shaw Floors
will give you a wide variety of stunning styles representing the look of different wood species,
textures, and colors. So whether you choose laminate or vinyl, Shaw
Floors has a range of options to fit your every style. Good luck making your final choice. If you have any questions, Shaw Floors experts
are always here to help.