Flooring is an important consideration in any home, and visually, it can be an aesthetic feature or a neutral component that allows other elements to shine. Durability, ease of maintenance and, of course, your budget should all be considered when choosing flooring, and two of the more cost-effective options are hybrid flooring and vinyl planks. But how do they differ? Here we compare hybrid flooring versus vinyl planks to help you make a more informed decision about what flooring will best suit your home.
Vinyl planks consist of a core layer of PVC which is waterproof and has a degree of flexibility. Encasing this core layer are additional layers that are clear coatings that provide stain, scratch and fade resistance. A layer of digitally enhanced photographic imaging can be attached to the vinyl core layer to give the appearance of natural timber. There are typically also protective backing layers installed which helps vinyl plank flooring to be impervious to water, mildew and mould.
- Many brands of vinyl plank flooring have a felt product backing. When installed, this feature makes for softer flooring with more “give”. The combination results in a durable surface that has the look of timber but is softer underfoot. Objects are also less likely to break when dropped on vinyl, which is good news for your favourite crockery and glassware!
- Vinyl floors are quiet to walk on, so the sound of clicking heels will be reduced! These sound absorption qualities also make it an ideal option for second storey additions and unit renovations.
- Because vinyl floors are typically water-resistant, they are often recommended for “wet” areas like kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.
- Vinyl planks can be installed directly on top of sub-floors, so the process is easy, quick and cost-effective as long as the sub-flooring is in a reasonable condition.
- Vinyl does not expand or contract, so scotia (decorative moulding that covers expansion gaps) that can sometimes affect the floor’s aesthetics is not required.
- Vinyl planks can also be laid flush to the walls and doorframes, which may eliminate the need for skirtings.
- In terms of maintenance, vinyl flooring is long-lasting, so it only requires routine cleaning (sweeping and the occasional mop) to keep it looking like new.
- Vinyl is a long-lasting product that can last up to 20 years. If you scratch or damage a plank, it is also generally a straightforward repair process — you simply remove the damaged plank and install a new one!
- There is also the option to install in-floor heating beneath a number of vinyl flooring options to increase the comfort level of your home.
- Vinyl is non-recyclable — something to think about if years down the track you are considering laying new flooring as your old flooring may sit in landfill for many years.
- Although durable, vinyl can be damaged. For example, moving heavy furniture can result in gouges and scuffs that can be difficult to remove.
- Like many manufactured products, toxins such as phthalates and dioxins can be present in vinyl during and after installation. Consider this if you prefer a more eco-friendly product.
Hybrid flooring combines the durability and strength of laminate with the soft and appealing look of vinyl planks. It is typically a composite of vinyl PVC, bamboo dust, recycled wood and limestone powder.
- Hybrid flooring is 100 percent waterproof, meaning it doesn’t expand or contract or expand when exposed to water.
- It is generally thicker than vinyl, making it more durable and more comfortable to walk on.
- It is scratch and UV-resistant.
- Hybrid flooring is easy to clean and lasts for years — many brands offer 20-year warranties.
- It can be laid on both concrete and wooden floors, although it may require some floor preparation.
- It is more expensive than vinyl planks.
- Trace amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may be present in hybrid planks.
- In terms of vinyl plank flooring versus hybrid, hybrid flooring has a more hollow sound underfoot compared to vinyl planks.
- Some hybrid planks click together in a click-lock system, meaning if one plank gets damaged, you may need to pull up several planks to replace the one. The scotia, skirting and trims may need to be removed first, then the flooring lifted from the most suitable wall right back to the damaged board.
- Its durability and extra thickness makes it more expensive than vinyl planks.
- Hybrid flooring needs to be laid by a “floating floor” method that requires undercutting door frames to allow for expansion and expansion gaps against walls. In some cases, expansion trims are required over certain distances as specified by the manufacturers ( usually 10 or 15 metres). A skirting or scotia then needs to be fitted over the expansion gaps near the wall.