Floor Coverings International of Oahu and Honolulu, HI knows that it can be hard to settle on the right floors for your home. With so many options and so much to learn it can be difficult to know even where to start. We want our customers to be as informed as possible and make the choice that will be best for their home. With that in mind, we’ve written this post to help you determine whether vinyl or laminate, two of our many floor covering options, would be right for you. We’re not advocating that one is better than the other, both vinyl and laminate are great flooring choices in their own ways, but it is important to understand their relative strengths and weaknesses before choosing to install them with Floor Coverings International of Oahu.

What are Laminate and Vinyl?

A preliminary question to get out of the way would be, just what is vinyl flooring, and just what is laminate flooring? Vinyl flooring is made from vinyl, which is a resilient material that was invented in the 1920’s and is used in everything from flooring to shower curtains. Vinyl flooring comes in either sheet flooring or in vinyl tiles. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is made from synthetic materials such as recycled wood byproducts, fiber board, and melamine resin, which are then fused together via a high heat and pressure lamination process to form planks. A photographic decal layer is then applied to make laminate mimic other flooring types, underneath a see-through wear layer. This process of having a photographic applique to make the material mimic other flooring types is also used in vinyl flooring, such as in Luxury Vinyl Tile.


Both vinyl and laminate flooring are known for being durable flooring options. Laminate, for example, holds up better than traditional hardwood, because it is not a solid plank so it is not as affected by things like humidity levels, which can cause solid hardwood floors to warp. Many laminate flooring options have a very strong wear layer that resists scratching and damage. Vinyl, though, is the real winner here. Laminate is not water proof, so even though it is more resistant than hardwood, it is still prone to water damage and cannot tolerate standing water. Vinyl on the other hand is incredibly water resistant, and, in the case of sheet vinyl, nearly impervious to water. This makes it a great choice for rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. Keep in mind though, that since vinyl is a softer material it will be more prone to scratching than laminate is.

Installation and Maintenance

Vinyl tiles are incredibly easy to install and have been a boon to DIY-ers everywhere, as they are simply laid down individually. There are peel-and-stick varieties of vinyl tiles that are particularly easy, making vinyl a great option for people looking for a low effort flooring renovation. Sheet vinyl can be much more difficult to install though, with the roll being unwieldy for beginners. Another issue with vinyl flooring is that if the subfloor is not properly prepped, it can damage the vinyl flooring. This is why it might still be best to stick with the professionals, like Floor Coverings International of Oahu. Laminate flooring is also an easier option in terms of installation. With most laminate floor covering being tongue and groove floating floors, they require much less effort to install than flooring options that need to be glued or nailed down. As for maintenance, both options are very low maintenance, requiring only frequent sweeping and occasional damp mopping. Vinyl and laminate hold up very well to stains so as long as spills are blotted up immediately, there should be very little to worry about.


Laminate and vinyl flooring are both great low-cost flooring options. Being comparative in price, vinyl flooring ranges from $.50 basic squares to $3.00 or more for nicer vinyl, such as luxury vinyl tiles. Laminate flooring also ranges from about $.30 for a shorter, basic plank, to $3.00 or more for longer, more elaborate planks.

Ultimately, it will come down to what works best for your situation. Do you value water resistance more? Or is hardness a priority? Whatever you choose, make sure to call Floor Coverings International of Oahu for your next flooring renovation!