Wednesday, 9 July 2014

What's the Difference Between Laminate, Composite & Vinyl Flooring?

All three flooring types are made of layers laminated together. The difference is in what those layers are made of and what that implies for performance. There's no point is asking "What's best?", as always it's really a matter of fitness for purpose.

Traditional laminate wood flooring is made of; a transparent wear layer, a printed paper decor layer, high density fiberboard (HDF) and a thin backing layer for stability. Laminate comes in various thicknesses from 7 mm (light domestic) to 12mm (commercial grade) and is fairly rigid.

Composite Flooring is made of a urethane wear layer, a printed paper layer and a Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC) body. In some cases the WPC is in fact a mineral-plastic composite of calcium carbonate. An Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) foam backing is sometimes added. Composite tends to be very rigid.

Luxury Vinyl (LVT) is made of a thick wear layer then a Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) layer onto which the design is printed directly. A sound-proofing EVA foam layer is mounted to the bottom. LVT is somewhat flexible.

The big difference between the three types is that Composite and Vinyl are waterproof whereas Laminate is is only water resistant; flooding may well cause swelling and warping so laminate cannot be installed in bathrooms and other wet areas.

Laminate is cheaper than composite or vinyl, but it does require more surface preparation as it has a tendency to reflect any imperfections in the underfloor.

Underlayer. Composite and Luxury Vinyl generally have an integrated foam rubber (EVA) layer that cushions the floor and adds to thermal and sound insulation whereas Laminate requires a separate underlayer and thus more complex pre-installation preparation.

Vinyl and Composite tend to be supplied with more modern glueless locking systems like our licensed and patented 1Lock system which make it very easy to install and prevents slippage in both directions.

In summary; traditional laminate is cheaper but more difficult to install. It is inclined to separate if exposed to water. Composite and Vinyl are both somewhat more expensive but waterproof and easier to install. Luxury Vinyl in particular is very forgiving of imperfections in the base floor.

Contact us for Laminate, Composite or Luxury Vinyl flooring to suit your market needs.
Download our LAMADEIRA FLOORING brochures here.