Both vinyl flooring and tile flooring are popular flooring choices for their hard-wearing characteristics and durability. If you are trying to better understand the differences between vinyl flooring and tile flooring, here’s a guide to help you decide between the two.
Both vinyl flooring and tile flooring have desirable properties that are a result of their material composition and how they are made.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are primarily made of clay and fired over high temperatures. Porcelain is considered as a category of ceramic. The primary difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles is that the former is fired at a temperature lower than porcelain tiles. This higher temperature is what accounts for the increased durability of porcelain tiles over ceramic tiles.
Vinyl tiles are fully synthetic and consist of multiple layers with a vinyl derivative core. The vinyl derivative core is made of a mixture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other fillers that can increase the material’s durability.
Ceramic tiles are installed using the traditional method of applying grout. As such, the appearance of grout lines may be less than sightly. Over time, the grout lines are prone to discolouration. In order to prevent this, regular upkeep is needed to remove dirt and grime buildup.
When opting for tiles, several types are available. These include homogenous tiles (porcelain), glazed porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles. Homogenous tiles and glazed porcelain tiles differ in terms of the consistency of the printed design. The printed design for homogenous tiles run uniformly throughout the body of the tile while glazed porcelain tiles do not have uniform colouration throughout the body of the tile. The type of tile is one aspect to consider when opting for this material, as due to the lack of uniformity in colour, chips on your flooring will be more obvious for glazed porcelain tiles than for homogenous tiles.
Vinyl tiles, on the other hand, can be installed using click-and-lock installation methods. This allows for the tiles to be connected together without the use of any adhesive, so the lines between tiles are less visible and less maintenance is required.
Tiles typically cost more than vinyl flooring. Including the labour cost on top of the material cost, ceramic or porcelain tiles can cost upwards of $7 psf. Tile installation is considered to be more labour-intensive than vinyl flooring installation.
The price of vinyl flooring can vary within the vinyl flooring spectrum and typically ranges from $3-$6.50 psf. Vinyl flooring for HDB flats can go as low as $3 psf at Home Expo Asia. For Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) or rigid core vinyl products such as Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) vinyl flooring, you can expect to pay more due to the higher thickness and durability of the material.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are considered to be highly durable due to the high density of the material. When the two are compared, ceramic is considered less durable than porcelain tiles as the material is porous.
Vinyl flooring, on the other hand, has some degree of flexibility while being able to retain desired hardness. It has some degree of cushioning that makes it softer underfoot when compared with ceramic or porcelain tiles. Thus, while tiles are considered to be more durable and hard-wearing than vinyl flooring due to the hardness of the material, they are also more susceptible to chips and cracks. Since vinyl flooring is somewhat pliant, this allows it to absorb shock better when objects are dropped at a high velocity.
Rigid core luxury vinyl products such as Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) vinyl flooring are considered more durable than conventional vinyl flooring. By opting for rigid core luxury vinyl products instead of tiles, homeowners can ensure their flooring is somewhat flexible while retaining the desired hardness.
As a material, porcelain tiles are considered to be impervious to water. This is provided the grout lines are well sealed. If sealant is not properly applied, or wearing down of the sealant layer occurs, water can seep through the seams to the subfloor below. Ceramic tiles are considered less water-resistant than porcelain tiles. As they are more porous than porcelain tiles, ceramic tiles have a higher water absorption rate. Thus, it is recommended to opt for porcelain tiles in high moisture areas.
Vinyl tiles are completely synthetic, and so are also impervious to any water damage. Furthermore, for vinyl flooring without any seams, you have full peace of mind when it comes to its water resistance. Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) is a category of vinyl flooring which is typically installed using click-and-lock installation methods. This method of installation is superior to the traditional glue-down method as one is assured that the flooring is completely impervious to water. It lacks any seams that can allow for any penetration of water to the core of the material.
Both vinyl flooring and tiles are long-wearing materials. However, the hardness of tiles means that there is the possibility of chipping. Between the two, there are more significant differences in terms of cost, appearance, and water resistance. While tiles are harder than vinyl flooring and more resistant to impact, the latter strikes a balance between flexibility and desired hardness. Vinyl flooring is also more affordable, water resistant, and demands less upkeep to maintain its appearance.