Main image: Moda Vinile Sonata vinyl flooring from Italtile
Before making a final decision about the best flooring option to suit your needs, it’s good to know each product’s pros and cons – especially how durable, economical, practical and attractive it will be for the specific area where it will be used.
Choosing a wood look
The three main things to consider when choosing wood-look flooring are attractiveness, durability and affordability. Personal choice plays a big role in the final selection of the right flooring, but ultimately, two flooring options sit on the top of the pile. Laminate flooring and vinyl “plank” flooring. Both are easy to install, attractive, affordable and offer authentic wood looks. There is a bit of overlap on many aspects, but there are also crucial differences.
What is laminate flooring?
Laminate is a high-density fibreboard (HDF) floor covering with a wood-look photographic layer, topped with a hardy, clear wear layer. It rests on an intermediate foam or felt underlay which helps the boards to join better and softens your footfall.
What does laminate feel like?
Laminate feels springy and soft underfoot but can be slippery under socks and heels.
What about maintenance?
It has a delicate surface, so it should never be wet-mopped. Avoid steam cleaners. Rather use a dry broom or dry mop and never use chemical cleaning products.
How does water and heat affect laminate?
Beware the laminates that call themselves “water resistant”. Remember that the fibreboard core of the laminate can be damaged if water seeps in and once dry, will not return to its former shape. Wipe up the spill immediately. Few floor options are good in high moisture conditions, so if you want to laminate your bathroom or kitchen floor, rather don’t. Laminate flooring and humid conditions are not a happy marriage, thus not ideal for coastal homes or buildings in high humidity areas.
Laminate flooring is durable and can handle high traffic.
If installed with care in a dry environment and well maintained, laminate flooring can last 15 – 20 years.
What is modern vinyl flooring?
Each vinyl plank is essentially a board made of wood shavings and resin that is compressed under high heat. It is finished with a decorative layer of PVC vinyl, patterned with state-of-the-art digital photographic processes. Finally, multiple wear layers are applied with n-wax polyurethane. A built-in underlayment allows the planks to interlock side-by-side to form a “floating” floor.
What does vinyl feel like?
Thanks to the built-in underlayment, vinyl flooring gives a soft, springy feel underfoot. Unlike laminate, vinyl offers good sound absorption.
Clean with a soft bristled brush or vacuum. We suggest you do this daily to avoid build-up. A good quality mop (dampened, not soaking, with warm, not hot water) can be used. Mild soap can be added but avoid chemical cleaners.
How does heat and water affect vinyl?
In hot conditions, vinyl flooring offers better expansion and contraction than laminate flooring. However, laminates will withstand harsh sun damage for slightly longer than vinyl. When it comes to water, liquid spills or humidity, vinyl is better as it is 99.9999% waterproof. Should vinyl flooring get wet or end up underwater, the planks must be carefully lifted and removed until the substrate dries completely. When the surface is bone dry again, the planks can be re-installed.
Bigger households with larger families and many pets need durable, easy-to-clean floors. Vinyl can take the traffic, scratches, knocks and spills and can be used in kitchens and bathrooms.
When well maintained and properly installed in a dry environment by a reliable, professional team, vinyl flooring can last up to 7 years in a commercial environment and, under normal residential conditions, up to 25 years.
Finally on laminate vs vinyl
Whichever way you choose to go, always make sure you select the very best quality you can afford. Invest in a reliable installation team rather than installing it yourself. Always follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions.
If, after everything you’ve read, you decide to find the very best vinyl flooring, speak to Italtile and ask for Moda Vinile. Like every other Italtile flooring option instore and online, it truly is a deluxe offering. It has all the benefits we’ve outlined above and replicates the rich grain of hardwood. In fact, they would go so far as to say you’d need a microscope to tell them apart.
It can be laid with confidence throughout the house and is able to withstand up to 55 degrees Celsius of underfloor heating! Available in an incredibly diverse range of authentic wood look tones, including Neve, Marrone, Monarch, Bianca, Sonata and Osso, the Moda Vinile Collection is one of Italtile’s best big-family friendly deluxe flooring options.
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