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What is the difference between laminate flooring and hybrid flooring?

Posted February 7, 2023

Flooring is one of the most important aspects of a home. It sets the tone for the entire space and can greatly impact the look and feel of a room. With so many options available, choosing the right type of flooring for your space can be difficult. In New Zealand, two popular options are hybrid flooring and laminate flooring. Our team is forever being asked - "what is the difference between them?".

While both offer a range of benefits, they also have their unique differences. In this blog, we will explore the key similarities and differences between hybrid flooring and laminate flooring in New Zealand so that you can make an informed decision when selecting flooring for your home.

Hybrid Flooring

Hybrid flooring is a type of flooring material that combines the best features of both laminate and vinyl flooring. It typically consists of a rigid core made of limestone and polymer, with a design layer on top that can mimic the look of natural wood or stone. This makes hybrid flooring highly durable and resistant to wear and tear while providing an attractive and realistic appearance.

A key difference with hybrid, unlike laminate, is the benefit of a built-in underlay. This makes it quieter to walk on, reducing acoustic noise in a room, and also speeds up installation slightly as a separate underlay doesn't need to be installed under it. 

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a type of floor covering made of layered synthetic materials that mimic the look of wood, stone, or tile. It is a popular alternative to hardwood flooring because it is durable, easy to install, and cost-effective. Laminate flooring is made up of several layers, including a wear layer to resist scratches and stains, a decorative layer to create the desired appearance, and a substrate layer to provide stability.

Cost of laminate versus hybrid flooring options in New Zealand.

Laminates and hybrid flooring options range from roughly $70 up to over $100 per square metre for the product - but, don't forget that you will also need to pay for installation in addition to the product. 

It's best to speak to a flooring consultant who can point out the different variables that will suit your lifestyle best. Sometimes more expensive options can have better authenticity, resembling natural products more closely or heavier wear layers which may be better for a family on the go.

Is installation different depending on the flooring type used?

There isn't much difference when it comes to installing these two flooring options. Both laminate and hybrid are floating floor systems that require a very flat surface. Floor preparation is required on most jobs (including on new slabs) as undulation across three metres can be no more than 3mm. If hybrid or laminate flooring is installed on an undulating slab, issues like springy boards and planks pulling apart can become an unfixable issue. 

It is important to ensure that floating floors in a hybrid or laminate plank have enough space to expand and contract with changes in temperature, so avoid the same issues as above. Expansion should always be allowed for around the edges of rooms, hidden by skirting boards, and in doorways where required, depending on the manufacturer's installation guidelines. 

Hybrid has a built-in underlay, but it doesn't take long to install laminate underlay, making a negligible difference when it comes to the cost of installation. The built-in underlay however does tend to make hybrid quieter underfoot when installed, compared to laminate - something to remember if you want a quieter sound underfoot. 

Waterproof or water-resistant? 

Hybrid is 100% waterproof. That's very clear and keeps things simple.

Laminate however has had a bad rap over the years for being damaged by water left sitting on the surface. It's fair to say that laminate has come a very long way with the development of technology. Heavy wear layers and quality joins, make laminate as waterproof as it needs to be in a home. As long as you don't leave puddles sitting on it for days, the chances are that your laminate is going to look fantastic for many years to come. 

IMPORTANT: E3 AS1 New Zealand Building Code Changes.
Laminate and hybrid products are both quality flooring options for your home. Under changes to the New Zealand Building Code, if you are completing a project through a consent process you may need to submit your flooring to your local Council to ensure it is impervious and easily cleaned within 1.5 metres of a sanitary outlet or appliance. 

All laminates and hybrids sold and installed by The Flooring Centre meet the updated E3/AS1 moisture requirements of the New Zealand Building Code and we will advise you on any limitations of products when you meet with a member of our team. As always, we highly recommend a full consultation with a flooring consultant to find the flooring option that will best meet your need. 

Read E3/AS1 Blog

So, they're pretty similar - is laminate or hybrid flooring a better option? 

To be honest, you are best to talk to a flooring consultant about the best option for your space. Small variables can make a big difference regarding the longevity you get out of your floor and what option best suits your requirements. Think about everything that we have mentioned above, and come armed and ready to find your perfect new flooring option. 


Start your laminate or hybrid flooring search now! 

 

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