When it comes to flooring options for your home, there are many factors to take into consideration. There isn’t one solution that works for everyone. The right choice will depend on your particular needs, your priorities and preferences.
In order to help you make the choice of the right kind of flooring for your home, let’s examine all the specificities and the pros and cons of hybrid flooring and vinyl planks.
What Is Hybrid Flooring?
Hybrid flooring is a relatively recent flooring innovation and it continues to evolve as designers learn more about materials and how they react in various environments and under various circumstances. Initially, in the mid 20th century, when vinyl flooring was all the rage, engineers began adding materials, such as asbestos, to vinyl in order to make it more durable and heat and fire-resistant.
In the decades since, the practice of adding asbestos was abandoned in favour of safer, more effective materials. But the objectives remained consistent – create a flooring solution that is both durable and aesthetically appealing.
Today, hybrid flooring is made from a core of stone, wood, or plastic polymer covered with a decorative layer meant to replicate the look of stone or natural wood and coated with a high impact-resistant protective layer.
What Are the Advantages of Hybrid Flooring?
Hybrid flooring is designed to be durable and long-lasting. As the planks are made from synthetic or composite polymers, hybrid flooring is heat resistant, meaning the planks will not expand or be damaged by exposure to direct heat as much as other flooring options. Additionally, fade-resistant dyes help to keep hybrid flooring from dulling or fading.
It is worth noting that despite its high UV resistance, continued exposure to direct sunlight could, over time, lead to slight discolouration. Though the effect may not be as dramatic as with natural woods, it is still advisable to use curtains or blinds to mitigate any potential risk of colour loss.
Hybrid flooring is water resistant. This means that wet mopping, spills, leaks, or pet accidents will have no effects such as swelling on hybrid flooring.
Hybrid flooring provides additional noise reduction. Thanks to their underlay and the sheer density of their core, hybrid floors are generally less noisy than most other flooring options. When combined with acoustic backings, hybrid flooring reduces sound penetrating through the floor to rooms below while absorbing ambient noise and the sounds of foot falls. As such, hybrid flooring meets most hi-rise body corp requirements for sound transfer.
Hybrid flooring is easy to maintain. Surface treatment makes hybrid floor highly stain-resistant and, as the planks are made from synthetic or composite materials, they can be mopped clean with no worry of water damage.
Additionally, if any plank is severely scratched or scuffed, commonly due to dragging furniture or heavy appliances, the individual plank can be replaced – unlike with other flooring options where due to colour fading the whole floor would need to be either replaced or treated.
It is worth noting that replacing a plank is not always a simple procedure and, depending on the floor’s exposure to direct sunlight, there may be slight discolouration that could potentially cause the new plank to stand out from the older ones.
Hybrid flooring is easy to install. As the underlay is built into the planks, provided the existing floor is flat and well secured, the installation of hybrid flooring is relatively quick and easy.
What Are the Disadvantages of Hybrid Flooring?
Hybrid flooring is a floating floor – meaning the planks interlock and rest on the subfloor, as opposed to being glued or attached to the subfloor. In consequence, the subfloor requirements are higher than with other flooring options – the subfloor must be flat and smooth.
Depending on the dimension of your floor, expansion gaps and expansion joints may be required along the perimeters. These gaps would then require skirting, covers, or scotias.
As is the case with all types of floating floors, occasional clicking sounds due to joint movement may emanate from the floor when walked on.
In What Areas of the Home Is Hybrid Flooring Best Suited?
Thanks to their high water resistance, hybrid floors are commonly installed in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. Their low maintenance, easy cleaning, and thermal benefits also make them suited for play areas for children.
Hybrid flooring is not ideal for rooms that feature heavy furniture such as grand pianos or billiard tables, as these would ‘anchor’ the planks disproportionately, which could cause problems down the line.
What Are Vinyl Planks?
Vinyl planks are a 100% synthetic product. They are a multi-ply flooring solution consisting of 4 layers, a top protective layer of aluminum oxide; a clear film designed to provide additional protection; a decorative layer meant to mimic natural wood, stone, or ceramic tiles; and a backing layer made of rigid vinyl.
Vinyl planks can be installed either by using the loose lay method wherein, thanks to the heaviness of the planks, they can be laid on the floor without the need of glue or adhesives or by using the glue down (or stick down) method. With glue down installation, a glue or adhesive is added to the underlay to provide additional stability.
What Are the Advantages of Vinyl Planks?
Vinyl planks are generally softer and more flexible than their hybrid counterparts. This means that the planks will ‘give’ slightly when walked on, providing a softer feel than hardwood or hybrid flooring.
Like their hybrid counterparts, vinyl planks are heat resistant, water- resistant, easy to install, and easy to maintain.
As vinyl planks are 100% synthetic, they are poor material for mould, microbes, or insects and provide additional hygienic benefits in that respect.
What Are the Disadvantages of Vinyl Planks?
The disadvantages of vinyl planks often come down to personal preference. They are a synthetic product and can look and ‘feel’ synthetic, which may be good or bad depending on your tastes.
When glued down to the underlay, vinyl planks can be difficult and messy to remove.
Lower-quality vinyl planks, and in conjunction with the glues used in their installation, have been known to emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can present respiratory problems and other long-term health concerns.
Vinyl planks are susceptible to chemical stains when in contact with rubber – such as the underside of many types of throw rugs or mats.
As vinyl planks are 100% synthetic, they are not easily recyclable and are, thus, not a particularly eco-friendly flooring option.
The longevity of vinyl flooring will depend on the quality of the planks, the quality of the installation, and on how well the flooring is maintained. However, vinyl flooring typically has a life span far inferior to that of engineered hardwood or hybrid flooring.
While vinyl planks are a relatively inexpensive flooring option, they do little to improve a home’s resale value.
In What Areas of the Home Are Vinyl Planks Best Suited?
Much like their hybrid counterparts, vinyl planks are suited for areas frequently exposed to water, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. They are comfortable under the feet and scratch-resistant, which also makes them ideal for playrooms.
Vinyl planks are warm under the feet and sound-absorbing, which can make them a good choice for bedrooms and living rooms, too.
Conclusion – How to Make the Best Decision for Your Home
Hybrid flooring and vinyl planks are similar in many ways – easy to install and maintain, scratch-resistant and water-resistant. In addition to factors such as budget, environmental friendliness and resale value, the differences will often come down to aesthetic appeal and the feel of the flooring under your feet.
In order to make the right decision and ensure you are completely satisfied with your flooring for years to come, the best thing to do is visit our expansive showroom located at 10 Millennium Cct, Helensvale QLD. There, you will be able to see and feel the difference for yourself, and discuss your options with a professional.
Alternatively, call us for a free quote at 1300 852 432.