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LVT vs. laminate flooring: Pros, cons & differences

Hardwood flooring has become a popular alternative to carpets over recent years. Whether its herringbone flooring or reclaimed wood flooring salvaged from old structures, hardwood flooring can bring character, charm and warmth back into a home.

Two particularly popular styles are LVT (luxury vinyl tile flooring) and laminate flooring. We’ve put together this expert guide so you can understand the difference between the two. Let’s look at their pros and cons and some tips on how to install LVT and laminate flooring to a high standard.

What’s the difference between LVT and laminate flooring?

LVT and laminate flooring may seem similar, but there are some subtle differences. LVT is made of multiple PVC (polyvinyl chloride) layers, while laminate is constructed from High Density Fibreboard (HDF). It undergoes an environmentally-friendly production method where tiny pieces of recycled wood pulp are pressed together under extremely intense pressure.

Laminate floors are floating floors (also known as click-lock or snap-together flooring), meaning they are installed without needing nails or glue. LVT flooring on the other hand is typically offered as a floating or glue down product.

Another difference is the thickness of the flooring. Laminate is typically between 6mm and 12mm thick, with luxury vinyl tiles more likely 1.5mm to 5mm.

the cost of laminate flooring

Cost of vinyl vs laminate flooring

Laminate and basic LVT flooring are similar in terms of cost, giving an authentic ceramic tile, natural stone or wooden plank appearance that saves money over natural or solid-surface types. This takes into account both the flooring and its installation.

If a customer wants something more luxurious and unique, LVT can become slightly more expensive than laminate. Of course, the size of the room will also play a large part in how much LVT or laminate flooring you need to cover the surface area.

LVT vs laminate pros and cons

If your customers are seeking an economical yet stylish flooring option, they may like LVT or laminate flooring. We’ve highlighted their similarities, differences, and unique qualities below, so they can make an informed decision.

standing on laminate flooring

Comfort and sound

Both types of flooring are comfortable to the touch, but laminate will have more of a natural feel than LVT because of its structure. The thicker the laminate, the better insulated the floor will be.
LVT floors are generally warmer and quieter underfoot, but can feel cold if installed over concrete or existing ceramic tile floors. With an underlay, the flooring can be warmer underfoot.

Looking for something that will absorb sound well? Consider LVT floors. They don’t require any extra padding or foam to be noise reducing — even walking across luxury vinyl in heels is typically quiet.

cleaning laminate flooring


Easy to care for and clean, both laminate and LVT flooring will retain their appearance for longer with a bit of TLC. An LVT can handle a wet mop without any damage, but laminate is best cleaned with dry methods such as a broom or a dry mop.

Laminate will resist stains better than LVT because of its top clear aluminium oxide layer, but LVT can be scrubbed harder with safe cleaning products. It’s important to follow manufacturer instructions when doing so.

herringbone flooring

Designs and look

LVT’s waterproof capabilities give your customers more freedom over design choice. However, there is a greater choice of designs and colours with LVT than there is with laminate. This is because LVT options include wood, stone and abstract designs. Laminate replicates wooden flooring only. However, with both ranges almost any design can be created.

Laminate is generally more shiny in appearance, but LVT’s plastic core makes them flexible and soft.

sunlight on laminate flooring

Heat resistance

Both floors are compatible with most underfloor heating systems and can resist floor temperatures of 27°C.

However, there are other heat-related factors to consider. Dropping a hot pan or appliance on either surface could burn the top layer, while laminate will begin to expand and contract in rooms with constant temperature changes.

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause both laminate and LVT floors to discolour and fade. Bear this in mind if you’re installing the floor in a conservatory or another room that gets a lot of sun.

installing laminate flooring


Both types of flooring with their click-and-lock method are considered easy and quick to install, which is why they are common in many residences and businesses. While some LVT flooring is now being offered with a floating-floor option, they are traditionally glued down to avoid getting moisture in-between the planks. LVT flooring installation arguably requires a lot more skill, which is where a professional fitter comes in.

Laminate flooring should never be installed by a DIY novice. They are laid on underlay and require no adhesive or nails, but cutting the planks with a saw needs to be done correctly to ensure minimum waste.

water on laminate flooring

Water resistance

Arguably the biggest difference between LVT and laminate flooring is in their waterproof properties. As LVT flooring is made from PVC, it can be submerged in water with no effect on its integrity or form.

Laminate has a wooden fibre core that doesn’t tolerate moisture. If exposed to moisture for long periods, it will soak into the wood, causing it to swell and warp. Even though more water-resilient laminate floors are becoming available, it’s imperative to mop up spills on laminate as quickly as possible. 

Top tips for installing laminate flooring and LVT flooring

  •  Use a sealant if you’re laying LVT flooring in high-moisture areas for an added layer of protection.
  • Most LVT floors are designed with a inbuilt underlay, negating the need for underlay. The sub-base and underlay you use for laminate can have a significant impact, so consider screeding and using a high-quality foam layer.
  • Laminate planks are very tough. To get the right shape or length of your laminate planks, use a hand saw, jigsaw, or even a power saw to cut through. LVT is a little more giving, only needing a strong craft knife or utility knife to score, bend, and then cut the tiles to get your desired finish.
  • Inspect the subfloor before laying, as laminate and LVT floor systems do not function well on uneven systems. The subfloor needs to be as smooth and level as you can make it. Use a builders level to give you an accurate reading.
  • For LVT flooring, begin in the centre of the room, so you finish with an eye-catching, symmetrical floor. To locate the centre, measure the length and width of the area and run a chalk line halfway across both, where the lines meet is the centre of the room.
  • Laminate planks are always installed from left to right. Start in the left corner of the longest wall in the room and install the flooring in the same direction as the main light source (e.g. the main window).

Underlay for LVT and laminate flooring

Unless your customer has chosen LVT flooring that already has underlayment attached, you will need to put down underlay ⁠— all laminate flooring is laid over an underlay. The type of underlay you use will depend on a number of factors.

Damp proof membrane (DPM) underlay – This underlay creates a damp-resistant barrier to stop flooring from being damaged by any moisture. It is essential if laying on concrete subfloors.

Soundproof underlay – Improves a room’s acoustics and reduces noise transfer between rooms and floors. If the property you are working on has little furniture, this is an effective way to create a homely feel.

Thermal underlay – Specifically designed to add an extra layer of insulation to keep rooms warm and prevent heat loss via the floor. Ideal for when a floor is directly above a garage or basement.

We offer a range of design options for both LVT and laminate flooring, as well as all the tools you need to give your customers a fantastic floor that they can enjoy for many years.

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