In this article we discuss and compare four popular flooring options – vinyl, laminate, ceramic tiles and hardwood, so let’s get to work.
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Description of vinyl flooring materials
It’s been around for almost 60 years and you won’t find a cheaper way to paint your floors. If vinyl flooring is your choice of material, rely on Popular Mechanics to tell you why you should invest in this popular option.
You get the warmth of hardwood and the elegance of ceramic tiles, but it is the plastic content of vinyl that makes vinyl flooring difficult to maintain.
With such a long evolution, it’s not surprising that you can find vinyls that match your aesthetics, style and budget (from regular types to luxury vinyl records for a more durable floor).
The production of vinyl flooring is a miracle of science. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is mixed with various compounds that add luster, hardness, colour and pattern. When this chemical mixture reaches the correct temperature, it is dispersed by rollers that smooth and align the mixture in the plates.
After drying with hot air, the vinyl is covered with a felt approximately 25 mm thick and a layer of transparent PVC before being wound onto a giant reel to be cut to size. Vinyl planks are the latest additions to flooring in this niche market.
Description of laminate floor coverings
Once you’ve learned that vinyl is a composite material that allows you to cover your floors with a single seamless layer at an affordable price, you may be surprised to learn that laminate is also a fusion of materials, the flooring experts at BestLaminate.com say.
Real wood in combination with other materials provides a solid and durable surface. It is manufactured using a four-layer process that, once built, creates durable boards that not only look great, but also protect your floors from everything related to pedestrian traffic and spills.
Imagine making a sandwich with 4 ingredients to understand how these pieces are made. On the underside of the sandwich there is a layer of substrate that provides the necessary water barrier to prevent excess moisture, mould and mildew.
A thick inner layer of wood pulp is then applied to the substrate and a highly accurate printing process creates 4 layers of paper patterns that give the appearance of hardwood or tiles when glued. After bonding, the layers are bonded together under high or direct pressure for the application of the clear top layer.
How do you know whether the quality of the chosen laminate is high or low? Check for direct pressure laminate (DPL) and high pressure laminate (HPL).
DPL exerts only 300 to 500 pounds (per square inch) of pressure during the production phase, while HPL offers pressures in excess of 1300 pounds.
The higher the pressure, the higher the quality. Did you know that laminate floors are a relatively environmentally friendly choice of flooring? It is made from recycled wood chips and fibers. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly floor covering, laminate can be just what you are looking for.
Description of ceramic tiles
Don’t confuse ceramic and porcelain tiles, even if the two are connected at first sight, the experts at Floorings International say. Ceramic tile floors are actually just a subset of ceramic tile floors, but that’s where the similarities stop.
Ceramic tiles are made from clay that has been painted and glazed before being put in the kiln for firing, while porcelain tiles require a clay that is richer in feldspar and must be fired at a higher temperature than ceramics (up to 1350 degrees F).
Ceramic tiles are not as dense as porcelain and are more absorbent, but they are a less expensive alternative to porcelain. So it is not frost-resistant, but it can be more easily damaged and flaked off.
Ceramics, however, remains a very popular choice for all types of surfaces, including outside floors and patios, such as countertops and walls.
The special ceramic glaze that is applied to the tiles before firing protects and seals the individual tiles, thus contributing to the creation of beautiful colours and patterns.
Perhaps the most cited reason for choosing ceramic tiles over porcelain tiles is the price. There are as many beautiful patterns, styles and colours as there are ceramic tiles, but they won’t eat up your entire budget if you choose them.
Parquet floor Description
Decoration experts agree that wooden floors came into vogue in the 1600s, when some of the most elegant houses of the time were covered with earth or stone with unfinished planks held in place by wooden planks.
This also applies to French castles such as Versailles. Deeply rooted in the French decor since 1625, parquets and ornaments have become the most coveted style of wooden floors.
The installation of these handmade floors took a lot of time and work, because each piece of wood had to be planed, sanded, pickled and polished by hand to give it a rough, glossy finish. It has been 800 years since these floors were installed and they are still as beautiful as ever.
Hardwood floors have gained worldwide popularity. In Victorian times, no house on either side of the Atlantic was without parquet flooring, thanks to a flourishing industry of mills and sawmills producing mass-produced wood planks.
They were levelled and glued with braids, then scraped and sanded with 25-pound blocks to level the floor before painting and sanding.
The flooring industry is now diversified. From the advent of tongue-and-groove construction to new methods of finishing individual planks, we have come full circle as recycled wood and the ban on unethical logging continues to make hardwood popular, despite being one of the most expensive flooring materials.
Vinyl versus laminate: Which option is best for you?
We turn to the flooring experts of The Spruce, a popular website dedicated to everything to do with interior design, to find out how both types of flooring perform and behave.
To start with, it is important to know that vinyl is made entirely of synthetic materials and is available in sheet and disc form in thicknesses ranging from 1.5 to 5 mm.
Laminate is made from wood by-products glued with resin. The thinnest laminate is always thicker than vinyl because the thickness varies from 6 to 12 mm.
Choosing a laminate floor is not always the best way to maintain a floor, because even this material is not resistant to moisture. The vinyl can be installed anywhere. Installing a laminate floor in a bathroom, laundry room or laundry room is not a good idea because moisture can ruin this material.
If you are looking for a realistic look, vinyl cannot compete with laminate when it comes to reproducing wooden, ceramic or stone facades. It even has a three-dimensional embossing that cannot be reproduced on the most expensive vinyl disc.
Why is laminate a bad choice for rooms like bathrooms and kitchens? Once deformed, the material is unlikely to return to its original shape or appearance.
Vinyl, on the other hand, can be completely submerged in water for long periods of time. However, it retains its original shape after drying and shows no signs of damage. In general, vinyl is not only waterproof, it is also waterproof.
Here’s the good news if you’re looking for an excuse to get that laminate you fell in love with: Both floors are easy to clean, but it is best to dry and wipe the laminate while the vinyl can be washed, and there are no restrictions on the products you can use.
To install laminate, you need to know how the click and lock system works and you will need a circular saw or table saw with a fine-toothed saw blade to make special cuts.
Although vinyl records can also be equipped with a click-and-lock system, you will have to pay more for this material. The cost comparisons are relatively identical.
Allows about $1 per square foot to laminate panels $7 to $5 per square foot for 12 mm thick panels.
Vinyl also costs about $1 per square foot for the thin, self-adhesive version, while thicker sheets cost about $5 per square foot. Laminates generally have a 10 to 25 year warranty, while vinyl has an average warranty of 20 years.
Vinyl versus ceramic tiles: Which option is best for you?
Homeowners and professionals who want to compare vinyl with ceramic tiles generally base their judgement on vinyl flooring, not vinyl tiles, so we will follow this example.
There is a long list of reasons for the popularity of vinyl records. Firstly, vinyl records are more economical and as the design of these types of records evolves, this option becomes even more desirable.
In addition, installing vinyl screens over ceramic tiles should cost about 40% less, because the click-and-lock system mentioned above is much less complicated than the labour-intensive process required to install the tiles, which includes everything from surface preparation to grouting and sealing.
Experts estimate that vinyl floors are 60% faster to install than ceramic tiles, but ceramic tiles and vinyl floors are equally durable under the same exposure.
However, ceramic tiles can unintentionally break, crack and damage. So if you have children and active pets and traffic is heavy, a ceramic tile might not be the best solution.
If you take this factor into account, you estimate between $4 and $8 per square meter for ceramic tiles if you do the work yourself.
Add $5 per square foot for labor. You can expect to spend a lot less on vinyl.
According to Fixr.com, the average cost of vinyl per square meter varies between $2 and $8 per square meter, and this includes labor costs.
In addition, laying ceramic tiles requires cracking of the existing floor, which can cause endless dust, not to mention the inhalation of dissolved binders. Removing tiles is a time consuming job that requires patience!
Laminate vs. ceramic tile: Which option is best for you?
When Kevin McDermott was asked to compare laminate floors and ceramic tiles for Hunker.com, he started writing the comparison: Ceramic and laminate floors are essentially an imitation of nature.
It naturally refers to the organic character of both materials, the burnt stone slabs and the broken and formed wood laminates.
But that’s where the tiles shine, McDermott notes: Ceramics can last almost indefinitely, while laminates can last no longer than 20 years.
Moreover, the process of laying a ceramic floor can seem tedious, while laying a laminate floor is almost as easy as unrolling a carpet.
In addition, the ceramics become harder and harder, while the laminate does not tolerate high humidity because the wood core materials are soft and porous.
The labour-intensive installation of ceramic tiles can be daunting and includes grouting, sealing and drying.
It may take a few days, while a saw and a day off may be enough to lay your laminate floor. It clicks like a puzzle, he adds.
While a decent ceramic floor can cost between $4 and $8 per square meter – add $5 per square meter for labor – you can spend as little as $1 to $3 per square meter for a laminate floor if you install it yourself.
Once both are out of service, maintenance becomes relatively easy. Use mild detergents and a damp mop to keep your laminate beautiful. Although sealed ceramic tiles are also relatively easy to clean with a mop and detergent, cleaning joints is not a walk in the park.
Ceramics can crumble and crack if something heavy falls on them, but replacing the remaining empty tiles from the original installation can help if you’re not afraid to dig up the old ones.
Conversely, if laminate flooring is damaged, McDermott says there is no practical way to repair or partially replace it because the boards are nested and manufactured.
Laminate versus parquet: Which option is best for you?
Cost reduction is one of the most important factors that make people choose laminate instead of hardwood. In addition, laminate has become popular in the housing renovation market because it is easy to install and there is no need to remove existing floors before installation.
Moreover, the number of cleaning agents on the laminate market has multiplied several times. Please do not use detergent-based cleaning agents, otherwise you will leave a dull film on the laminate floor.
Now that you have thought about the advantages of a cheap, easy to clean and good-looking laminate floor, it is time to switch to parquet, which remains the embodiment of natural beauty and elegance.
The choice of hardwood today is enormous and available in many textures, types, colours and finishes. The early pioneers of lean-to cabins and floors would probably be surprised to see such diversity!
Why would anyone want to miss a real wooden floor? Because the qualities and advantages that many people like have also have their disadvantages.
Easy to damage, even sealers cannot guarantee that hardwood floors are free of dents, scratches and damage caused by normal traffic, and hardwood reacts strongly to intense sunlight, which can change the colour of the floor.
If only part of the floor is exposed to the sun, faded stains may be even more visible.
But in these times when everything is green and ecological, you won’t find any other product that is so environmentally friendly. A niche has emerged in the flooring industry that encourages the use of recovered wood.
If you choose a floor made from reclaimed wood and are proud that it has been responsibly harvested (especially if it is FSC certified), you get bragging rights and a luxurious look.
All your cleaning tools work on hardwood: Broom, mop, wax, hardwood floor care product and a large number of products on the market today. But be prepared to open your wallet wide.
According to HomeAdvisor researchers, hardwood floors cost between $2,497 and $6,753, an average of $4,538 or $8 per square foot.
Add $6 to $12 per square foot for labor, and if you’re lucky enough to be one of those people who doesn’t have a fee, your contractor can easily charge $13 to $25 or more per square foot for installation. Is this investment worth the cost? It’s up to you!
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