Navigating the world of materials during a renovation is like wading through a sea of choices. Do you go for neutral appearances or harness the draw of colour? What about traditional or innovative features? Then there are types of flooring, and balancing cost, function and appearance. You may have heard of the two flooring types to have reached peak popularity among savvy homeowners, and for good reason. Laminate vs hybrid flooring is a common topic of discussion because they share many features, yet the innovation and advancements of one keep it ahead in many different aspects. Let’s explore the difference between hybrid and laminate flooring to help make your flooring decision clearer.
Laminate flooring mimics solid timber flooring with a printed image of wood covering the surface. Underneath the laminated image, lies a different kind of wood made from various materials. Plywood, fibreboard and MDF are typically used for their cheap cost and firm structure to perform similarly to engineered hardwood flooring, though the costs may present themselves in other ways. These floorboards aren’t the easiest to maintain and are prone to expanding and buckling because of their non-water-resistant traits.
Hybrid flooring combines natural and synthetic materials. Underneath the surface, hybrid floorboards are eco-friendly with recyclable PVC mixed with Limestone and padded with Rubber/Foam underlay making a firm and durable structure. The synthetic part is applied to the surface and can imitate various natural surfaces, such as timber or stone, through a printed image similar to laminate flooring.
Homeowners have used laminate flooring for decades as a cost-effective way to give their floors the illusion of a wood finish, but the cost of laminate shows up in other ways. Advancements in every area of life come with the territory of the times we live in, and hybrid flooring was birthed from industry advancements, offering a new type of floor that combats the drawbacks of laminate flooring while being just as cost-effective.
Below we explore the key differences between the features of hybrid and laminate flooring:
The core layer makes up the dominant part of both types of flooring, and is responsible for the most significant difference, too: hybrid floors come with two main core types, Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) and Wood Plastic Composite (WPC); the latter is thicker, softer and more expensive. Both of these materials are water-resistant, so liquids are repelled and prevented from disrupting their composition and ruining their integrity. Hybrid flooring offers options for homeowners’ needs, preferences and budgets while remaining highly water-resistant.
Laminate floorboards consist of High-Density particle boards (HDF) kept together with resin. This material is not resistant to water, so when exposed to liquids, the core layer expands, and the floor can buckle or lift. Given that houses are susceptible to the mess that comes with us living our lives, laminate flooring can leave homeowners in a vulnerable position.
Both flooring types have simple installation and are clicked together once laid into position. Though hybrid floors use advanced technology to infuse their core layer, their construction and material costs are also similar as their compositions don’t vary too much.
So, while the difference in cost of sourcing and installing the floors is nearly non-existent, the return on investment puts hybrid floors in the lead for cost-effectiveness. As hybrid floorboards are water-resistant, they’re much less likely to expand and will serve their purpose for many years to come.
Differentiating laminate vs hybrid flooring designs is a workout for the eye as they both leverage a print layer to imitate natural surfaces. Both options offer a range of beautiful designs, and most homeowners can easily find the right design to fit into their interior style.
Still, hybrid flooring is a newer product and has advanced technology and unrivalled imaging on its side to create designs that are nearly indistinguishable from wood and other natural materials.
Both laminate and hybrid floorings are a comfortable choice for accommodating your feet around the house with their firm but springy underlay materials. Hybrid flooring again comes in ahead of laminate for comfort, with its extra feet-friendly soft undercoating that also acts as insulation. The insulating layer provides additional thermal benefits to reduce energy costs and stop the heat or cold air leaking into one of the largest surfaces of your home – the floor!
The final settling factor in laminate vs hybrid flooring is their durability, cleanliness and the maintenance required to keep both floors looking sharp and sustaining their value. Both floors are easy to clean, with no gaps for intruding crumbs to hide, and they can be swept and vacuumed quickly.
When it comes to mopping and liquid spillages, hybrid floors reign supreme. With their water resistance, owners are free to spill the contents of their coffee mug on the floor without any consequences, except for a lack of caffeine. Laminate floors don’t like moisture and aren’t compatible with wet mops, so owners need to be a bit more creative to maintain these floorboards.