When we say “vinyl flooring,” what’s the first thing you think of? Let us guess — your grandmother’s house, that awful old vinyl or laminate from the 1960s, peeling up from the corners of the room? We don’t blame you — but the truth is, vinyl flooring has come a long way since the mid-twentieth century. These days, it’s considered the chameleon of the flooring industry. Why? The technology has advanced so far that it’s actually become incredibly difficult to tell the difference between luxury vinyl and hardwood floors.
What’s So Different About Today’s Vinyl Flooring?
Some background: Vinyl flooring was introduced in the 1930s but, due to vinyl shortages during WWII, wasn’t widely marketed until the late ’40s. It became one of the most popular flooring styles throughout the ’50s and ’60s because it was durable and cheap to produce and buy.
Over the years, experts developed what’s now known in the industry as luxury vinyl flooring, which realistically mimics the appearance of natural materials like stone or wood. How? There’s a few reasons, but the most important one is this: Advances in digital photography and image manipulation technology have made it simple for manufacturers to convincingly reproduce natural floors.
They also added a heavy film coated with a UV-cured urethane to the top of the vinyl to make it stain- and scratch-resistance. (This extra layer is why we no longer see those awful peeling edges you remember from your grandmother’s kitchen!)
Okay, But What’s the Difference Between Luxury Vinyl Flooring and Laminate Flooring?
The two might seem similar, but there are a few key differences between luxury vinyl flooring and laminate flooring.
- Luxury vinyl flooring is made of PVC, which allows it to compress and expand under pressure, instead of cracking.
- Laminate floors are made of high-density fiberboard, which is constructed in layers and assembled via a lamination process.
- Luxury vinyl floors are waterproof. They can withstand full submersion in liquids without warping or staining.
- Laminate flooring should not get wet. It will be severely damaged by moisture and humidity.
- Luxury vinyl floors cost slightly more upfront, but on average last more than 20 years without needing to be replaced.
- Laminate floors have roughly a 10-year lifespan.
Why Would I Want Vinyl Flooring Over Hardwood or Carpet?
It’s not your grandmother’s floor anymore, that’s one reason! As photography and image manipulation technologies are further refined and perfected, so is our ability to create the perfect custom vinyl floor. Some luxury vinyl tile producers have even developed advanced printing techniques that texturize the tiles to mimic real hardwood — making it even more difficult for guests or clients to tell the difference.
Vinyl flooring is much less expensive than hardwood floors. This means you can get a luxury vinyl that looks just like hardwood and lasts just as long, but costs a fraction of the price.
Vinyl is also becoming the preferred option over carpeting in high-traffic areas, such as entrances, lobbies, foyers, and hallways. It’s easier to clean, more durable, and requires less maintenance over the years.
Still not convinced? Feel free to visit our showroom to see some of our impressive vinyl flooring options in person!