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Laminate vs Vinyl Flooring: Everything You Need to Know

2023-09-20, Laura Nieto


When you walk into a room, one of the first things your eyes (and feet!) notice is the flooring. Flooring is a pivotal part of interior design, setting the literal foundation for your space's overall look and feel. As hardwood and tile flooring alternatives, both laminate and luxury vinyl plank have surged in popularity in recent years due to their durability, updated designs, diverse styles, and budget-friendly appeal. Read on for a deep dive comparison of these two trending floor options to help you make the best decision for your home.

Laminate Flooring: Pros and Cons

Laminate flooring is a multi-layered synthetic product, fused together using a lamination process. The core is usually made of a high-density wood mix, topped with a photographic layer that imitates wood or stone, and then coated with a protective layer. 

In the case of the CALI Laminate Shorebreak collection, tiles are made to look and feel like stone and marble, with authentic mineral veins and slate-like textures. However, unlike real stone, Shorebreak tiles are far easier to install and clean, lighter, warmer to the touch, and more cost-effective.

Laminate Pros:

• Durability: Laminate flooring is known for its resistance to scratches, dents, and daily wear, making it a great choice for busy homes.

• Design Variety: From rustic wood looks to elegant marbles, there’s a laminate for every design palate.

• Affordability: Love the look of hardwood or stone but not the price? Laminate offers the aesthetics at a fraction of the cost.

• DIY Installation: Modern laminates often feature a click-and-lock system that's a dream for DIY enthusiasts.

Laminate Cons:

• Water Sensitivity:More advanced products like CALI Laminate Shorebreak offer a fully waterproof floor which can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms, but there are plenty of other laminate brands which can warp if exposed to moisture.

• Sound: Some laminates can sound a bit hollow when walked on, however, this is not the case with CALI’s Shorebreak collection in which each tile is backed by an acoustic XPS pad for boosted sound insulation.

• Refinishing Limits: Unlike hardwood, once laminate is worn out, you can’t refinish it; it has to be replaced. This is less of an issue with a product that is protected by a quality overlay shield. In the case of CALI’s Shorebreak collection, the overlay is melted directly into the tile itself, forming one, solid, highly durable piece.

Vinyl Flooring: Pros and Cons

Vinyl flooring is made from synthetic materials, primarily polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is flexible, durable, and waterproof.

CALI Vinyl flooring is offered in a variety of collections with different dimensions, hardwood visuals, and prices to suit a range of budgets. All CALI Vinyl floors are waterproof, pet-friendly, scratch-resistant, and feature rapid click-lock milling for fast DIY installations.


• Waterproof Wonders: Vinyl’s innate resistance to water makes it perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

• Comfort & Quiet: Soft and comfortable, vinyl absorbs sound – making it quieter than most other hard flooring. Most CALI Vinyl collections offer planks backed by an IXPE pad for boosted comfort and sound insulation.

• Design Diversity: Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) convincingly mimic natural materials, offering a variety of style choices.

• Low-Maintenance: A quick sweep and mop are often all you need to keep vinyl looking fresh.


• Wear Over Time: Especially in high-traffic areas, vinyl might show its age quicker than some alternatives, and like laminate, cannot be refinished. Avoid wear by opting for a premium product like CALI Vinyl with a quality wear layer at least 20mil thick.

• Installation: While there are DIY-friendly options like CALI Vinyl, some might prefer professional installation for peace of mind.

Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Space

Whether you’re flooring a sunlit living room or a humid bathroom, consider factors like the room’s purpose, foot traffic, and moisture exposure. Don’t forget to align your choice with your design vision and budget. Remember, sometimes spending a bit more upfront can save on long-term maintenance costs.

Vinyl Flooring Maintenance and Care Tips

For both laminate and vinyl, a gentle daily sweep and a weekly mop with a pH-neutral cleaner will keep your floors shining. Using protective pads under furniture and avoiding high heels can help preserve the flooring's integrity. For those sunny spaces, UV-protective window treatments can prevent premature fading.

See all CALI Flooring Care & Maintenance Guides >

We’re sorry to say that if you’re stuck trying to decide between luxury vinyl plank or laminate flooring, there’s not a clear winner. Both products can be highly durable, DIY-friendly, easy to clean, and beautiful, so long as you opt for a premium product like CALI Vinyl or CALI Laminate. Your personal needs, design preferences, and space specifics will determine your ideal choice. Here's to stepping onto flooring you love, every single day!

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