Laminate vs. Vinyl in Kitchen and Bath

mushroom104September 19, 2007

I recently had a bunch of water damage to the first floor of my townhome due to a toilet leak. A water damage remediation company came out and ripped out all of the vinyl in my bathroom and hallway and most of my kitchen. They found three layers of vinyl and an original layer of what is almost assuredly asbestos tile. The layers of vinyl did not all come up. I was left with a torn up multilayered floor. It has been recommended that the tiles be left down.

The insurance company gave me $3,500 for flooring, drywall repair, and shoe molding replacement.

My original idea was just to have the vinyl replaced. I like vinyl. It's comfortable and easy to clean. One of the contractors I was considering to have do the work had their flooring subcontractor come out and look at my floors. They recommended laminate flooring because the base floor is so torn up. They said that leveling the floor for vinyl would cost more than putting down laminate, though laminate is more expensive by the foot than vinyl.

Laminate flooring looks really nice but is this the wisest decision considering it is going into a kitchen with a laundry area and a half-bath? I also have two pets. I have a small cat and a 4-year old schnauzer. They made no mention that it might not be a good idea to install laminate in these areas.

Would I be asking for trouble if I had laminate flooring installed? I was looking at the best grade of Armstrong residential laminate with a tile look.

Is it true that installing vinyl would be more expensive than laminate in this case?

Any advice would be appreciated. I'm completely lost. I've been living with a messed up floor and holes in my walls for over a month now and am starting to get impatient to get this over with.

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OUCH! Sorry for your damage. I'm still researching this matter as well, but on a much less stressful timeline.

My parents had an issue with a Thangsgiving turkey gone kamakazie, which apparently took out the oven and a goodly chunk of the kitchen floor. They had their original sheet vinyl floor replaced with a faux-wood laminate and LOVED it. At the time they had two large dogs and a cat and had no problems with anything. They have since moved and picked out tile floors for the better ease of caring for senior dogs and their related bathroom issues. ICK.

I have the most builders' basic grade sheet vinyl in my house and I HATE it. It stains easily and you can't make it look clean no matter how many time you scrub it on your hands and knees. I can't wait to get it out of here!! I would LOVE to have wood floors installed throughout the house... but I don't have the budget, and whatever I use needs to run thru the open kitchen. So we've been looking mostly at vinyl planking, laminates and bamboo, but I think I've mostly been talked out of the latter. None of the flooring products will say anything definate about water other than it's more resistant than someone else's product, thus covering their butts and all, but you can find laminates that are approved for installation below grade (w/possible moisture issues).

Good luck in your hunt! I think you've found the best unbiased resource here!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 10:33PM
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Thank you, sketcher. How can a turkey cause so much damage? Of course, I never would have thought such a small leak in my toilet supply line would have caused this much damage for me either.

If the floor was just going in the kitchen and hallway I wouldn't be so concerned, but since I have a small place I want to keep the flooring the same throughout so as not to break it up. My main concern is my toilet overflowing. I have bad luck with toilets. I have an overflow at least once a year. I did call the flooring company and they said that if the toilet overflowed it would ruin laminate flooring. This does not sound good.

I'm going to call another contractor and get a second opinion. Maybe they will be able to install vinyl. If I do go with vinyl I'll go with a higher grade vinyl.

I don't like tile because it is cold and hard, and I can't keep the grout clean no matter how hard I try. Like you, I do not have the budget for hardwoods.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 11:51AM
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Be aware that the subfloor for laminate has to be almost aqs smooth as for vinyl.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 12:15PM
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My Aunt has laminate in her bathroom (off a den/hall) and loves it.

I do recall someone telling me... if you have a major overflow with a toilet... no flooring will be perfect. Because even something like ceramic, unless you do a 'shower pan' type preparation to the floor before the tile goes in, will reach the subfloor and potentially cause you issues underneath the tiles you can't see until it is a MAJOR job!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 2:37PM
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I would suggest you deal with the toilet problem. It is not normal for toilets to overflow every year. I have never had my toilets overflow. Find out what the problem is with the toilet and get it fixed.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 12:36AM
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I installed laminate (Pergo) in my kitchen 7 years ago.

It still looks new. I use a Swiffer Wet jet to clean it. No scratches, dents, would happen with Vynl.

This, despite.....a spill in front of the stove when I lost my grip on a big boiling pot(6 qt) of pasta that spilled all over the laminate floor. Which had to wait a few minutes to be mopped up because I spilled it on me, and I had to tend to the burns first.
No damage.
A broken pipe under the sink, which was unknown until I just happened to go downstairs to the basement, and saw the water coming down the basement wall.
No damage.

I certainly wouldn't suggest anyone do this intentionally...but it did happen accidently, and I held my breath both times, as many had warned against laminate in the kitchen.

Personally, I think it's all in the installation.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 2:20PM
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Just checking back to see what you decided to do. We had to put the whole flooring conundrum on a back burner for now, but trust me, it's still simmering away! I am this close to ripping up everything and staining the concrete slab! But I hear that has issues of it's own, so I guess no choice is without it's dilemmas...

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 1:34AM
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You can check prices @ Mark Galdo ceramic Tile and Flooring. They carry hundreds of brands of ceramic, porcelain tile, Linoleum, Vinyl, Stone, hardwood, laminate and carpet. They are located in Lansdowne, PA. Feel free to call them 610-259-0438 and remodeling specialist will help you to find the right answer. By the way, they provide free estimates.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mark Galdo Ceramic Tile and Flooring

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 9:56AM
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i was in a flooring store yesterday and the saleswoman told me they all have laminate in their kitchens. she has had wilsonart for 8 years and is very happy. since they sell a variety of materials, some more expensive than laminate, she had nothing to gain by not being honest on the issue.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 5:14PM
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I had the same dilemma ( but just for a kitchen) and have chosen to go with laminate. It is not done yet, but part of why I'm going that route is that good quality vinyl, with installation, would be pricer than good quality laminate with me installing it. I'm up for learning how to lay a laminate floor, but have no intention of laying sheet vinyl/linoleum! The finished product will undoubtably be nicer, too.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 2:02AM
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. I have laminate in my kitchen and in my powder room--four years old. I have had similar experiences to monica pa's--I spilled hot coffee on the floor (though fortunately, I was not burned); took me a few minutes to get the coffee and the mat that absorbed most of it off the floor. All is well except for small squeak sound in the area. In the powder room, I had a toilet overflow. You would never know it--I just cleaned it up, had the toilet fixed, all is well. The product is a high-quality Pergo that allegedy can "take" some water on it -- though letting water sit for more than a few minutes would probably not be a good idea. I think it is Pergo Select and I got it at Expo (Home Depot's high-end store). I had a good contractor install and I think that may also have something to do with it. FYI, it was installed over extremely beat up and stained (though level with no bulges, etc.) vinyl. I believe vinyl is ultimately "best" for standing up to a wet environment, although as someone said above, too much water on any floor is going to be a bad outcome.
Hope this helps--good luck to you.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 2:08PM
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I have had a laminate in a bath, laundry and kitchen for 5 years with no problems. Mine was not glued I don't think, but have known others who have decided to glue their laminate in areas where there could be any water damage.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 10:55PM
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The floor was worn - vinyl over linoleum over more linoleum over 9x9 tile. I ripped it all off, and used an air hammer to chip away the tile down to the plywood floor. I sanded that smooth and filled any holes to make a smooth, flat base. That was 80% of the work of the entire project! Installing the laminate was easy peasy. You do have to cut around angled walls - I layed down paper and taped it together to make a pattern and cut it with a power saw. Snapping it together was easy - I used a hammer and wood block, and when it was up against the wall I used a big crow bar to pry the cracks together. The floor is outstanding so far!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:44PM
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