LVT Vs Laminate Flooring

31.03.2021

How do you choose between luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and laminate flooring? We compare installation, design and features and explain the differences (and similarities) to help you decide.

LVT & LAMINATE SIMILARITIES

You might find LVT and laminate flooring hard to compare visually as both can have a wood or stone effect appearance. This can make it a little difficult to discern which is which. Still, it's not just cosmetics, as both flooring types have functional similarities too!

For instance: 

  • Both are cost-effective compared to natural surfaces like wood, stone and other solid-surface types of flooring.
  • LVT and laminate are durable and offer excellent scratch resistance, making them ideal areas for homes and businesses.
  • They are simple to maintain, requiring dusting and cleaning to keep the floors looking nice and healthy. In comparison, hardwood floors may need sanding and refinishing, and in the worst-case scenario, complete replacement.

LVT & LAMINATE DIFFERENCES

Installing Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a floating floor, which means the boards must not be nailed or glued down; with laminate, you can click the planks into place. It's important to note that laminate flooring must have an underlay to support the new floor. An underlay gives strength and support to the locking system between the planks. Additionally, some flooring, such as Berry Alloc laminate, come with matching t-profiles and beading so that you can add additional security and protection to the doorway and perimeters of the room.

Installing LVT Flooring

LVT flooring is available in various installation types:

  • Click LVT - Considered to be easiest to install. No adhesive is needed as the planks click together. A smooth sub-floor is required but it is often more forgiving with a suitable underlay.
  • Rigid Click LVT - As above but with a rigid core which makes it more forgiving of less even subfloors.
  • Glue Down / Dryback LVT - Very smooth surface required. It needs to be stuck down with a suitable adhesive, but it's also possible with some of these brands to use a self adhesive underlay
  • Loose Lay LVT - Easy to cut and can be placed down on the floor. Requires installing tightly to the wall, and each plank or tile snugly fit next to the other. The only time adhesive is necessary is when tight-fitting isn't an option, i.e. near a kitchen unit.

Do I Need Underlay with LVT?

The requirement for underlay with LVT can depend on a number of factors, such as the quality and evenness of the sub-floor or a need to reduce the impact sound. Some of the newer rigid core LVT such as the Universal Rigid Click collection does not require a seperate underlay because this is already built into the floor planks. Due to the sheer choice of LVT and rapidly improving technology it's always best to check underlay requirements with the manfucturer (if you can't find the installation instructions with your flooring your flooring retailer will be able to help with this.)

LVT & Laminate Flooring Design & Materials

The most obvious difference between the two is the number of designs available. While laminate flooring often simulates a wooden structure, it's common to see LVT flooring with a wider variety of wood, stone and more abstract patterns. That being said, we are beginning to see more stone effect laminate and patterned laminates from innovative brands such as Berry Alloc.

LVT has a durable solid vinyl core layer which has a printed vinyl layer on top. The printed vinyl is that of a photo-realistic wood, stone or design pattern. The core of a laminate board is made from high or medium density fibrewood, which has a photographic decorative layer on top. Also look out for Embossed in register which is a relatively new technology that matches the grain, lines and knots in the picture with the textured finish in the embossing, this makes it a significantly more realistic look which is the closest you can get to real wood and stones. Moduleo leads the way with this technology with their Layred EIR and Impress collections.

Both types of flooring have a tough wear layer on top to keep the floors long-lasting.

LVT and Laminate Water-Resistance

Most LVT flooring has water-resistance capabilities and is common in wet areas such as the bathroom on the condition they're installed correctly. Historically, laminate has not been a great choice for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, but technologies have improved in recent years. You can now find various water-resistant laminate floors fitted with a hydro seal locking mechanism and have a waterproof coating. With both flooring types, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing in areas that may be exposed to water. Neither laminate nor LVT is suitable for a wet room installation; we wouldn't recommend them in your sauna room anytime soon.

LVT and Laminate Brand Comparison Table

 

Moduleo

Select

Click

Moduleo

Impress

Glue down

Karndean

Looselay

Universal Rigid

Click

Berry Alloc

Ocean

Quick Step

Classic

Floor Type

LVT LVT LVT LVT Laminate   Laminate

Protectonite PU Layer

Yes Yes No Yes No No

Scuff & Stain Resistant

Yes Yes No Yes No No

Water resistant

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Guarantee: Residential

15 years 20 years Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime 20 years

Guarantee: Commercial

7 Years 10 Years 15 Years 10 Years 5 Years No

Slip Resistance Rating

R10 R10 No R10 n/a No

Suitable for Underfloor Heating

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Textured

Yes Yes No Yes Yes No

Impact Sound (Acoustic Insulation)

4db 3db No 21db No No

Wear Layer

0.4 mm 0.55 mm 0.55 mm 0.3 mm n/a No

Edging

Bevelled (4v) Bevelled (4v) Square Microbevelled Bevelled (4v) Square
Usage Class Class 23 (heavy)

Class 23(heavy)

No

Class 23 (heavy)

Class 23 (heavy) No

Thickness

4.5 mm 2.5 mm 4.5 mm 5.5 mm
8 mm
8 mm

RRP per m2 (March 2021)

£35.49 per m2 £34.99 per m2 £40.99 per m2 £19.95 per m2 £18.99 per m2 £19.49 per m2

For any other LVT & laminate queries, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team of flooring experts by contacting us here.

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