Wood Laminate or Luxury Vinyl Tile:
Which Is Right for You?

Have you wondered how laminate flooring and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) compare as flooring solutions and which is right for your home? After all, in the world of hard-surface flooring (as opposed to the soft carpeted kind), laminate flooring such as Swiss Krono and LVT are highly popular with homeowners. LVT is part of what is known as “resilient flooring” that also includes sheet-vinyl and rubber flooring. Let’s compare LVT and laminate flooring so you can decide which material is right for you.

How laminate flooring and LVT are similar:

  • Both have cost and durability advantages over such other solid-surface flooring choices as hardwood, ceramic or stone.
  • Both laminate flooring and LVT have become master imitators of natural surfaces like wood, stone and other flooring types.
  • Both are easier to maintain than wood or tile. Hardwood or engineered-wood floors may need refinishing, and some tile types may need resealing or regrouting.
  • Both can be installed either professionally or by a reasonably skilled do-it-yourselfer who has the right tools and instructions.
  • Both can allow for repair by replacement of a damaged plank or tile.
  • Both have wear layers. Swiss Krono USA’s laminate flooring has an extremely hard aluminum-oxide wear layer that resists scratches and UV protection to prevent fading from prolonged exposure to sunlight. LVT may have a clear-vinyl and urethane coating to protect it.

How Laminate Flooring and LVT are different:

  • They’re made from different materialsLaminate flooring is made of layers. The primary layer (the core) is made of high-density fiberboard that gives laminate flooring its rigidity and strength. LVT is made in layers as well; its primary component is PVC vinyl, which makes LVT dimensionally stable and flexible.
  • They install differently. Laminate flooring is a floating-floor system that should never be nailed or glued to the subfloor. Some LVT products now offer a floating-floor approach to installation, but generally LVT installs as a glue-down system by the application of a separate adhesive or the use of peel-and-stick tiles or planks.
  • They feel different. Because laminate flooring is made primarily from wood, it feels like wood. LVT is made out of vinyl and feels like plastic.
  • They handle stains and flame differently. Laminate flooring is highly stain-resistant and won’t be damaged by limited flame exposure, like a hot ember tossed through a fireplace screen. Some LVT is susceptible to staining and will be damaged by limited flame exposure.

So is laminate wood flooring or LVT right for you?

Let’s explore four issues or questions that come up when considering laminate wood planks and LVT as flooring choices.

Which is the “greener” flooring choice?

Laminate flooring is greener by far because the materials that go into them make the difference. Laminate flooring is primarily made from wood byproducts — a natural, renewable resource. LVT is made primarily from petrochemicals and chlorides, some of the most toxic substances around, not to mention the adhesives. Swiss Krono USA earned the Resilient Floor Covering Institute’s FloorScore® certification issued by the FloorScore® Environmental Institute for our SWISS KRONO laminate wood flooring (read more here).

Which is better in a wet environment, laminate flooring or LVT?

Both are equally good. All flooring can and will be damaged by water to some extent. Laminate flooring can be used in areas that may, from time to time, receive topical moisture when you follow our advice. 

Which is more forgiving regarding installation over a less-than-perfect subfloor, laminate flooring or LVT?

Laminate flooring. It’s important that any subflooring be as smooth and level as you can make it. But because of laminate flooring’s rigid construction, it’s better equipped to bridge the slight bumps and undulations in the floor without transferring them to the surface. LVT does. This advantage is especially true with thicker laminate. You should always correct any subfloor deviance of 3/16th of inch when installing laminate flooring.

Which stands up to everyday accidents, scratches and dropped objects better?

Laminate flooring because it’s made harder and tougher. While laminate flooring and LVT flooring are both good flooring solutions, we believe that laminate flooring has many more advantages than LVT for today’s home.