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What is the difference between hybrid and vinyl flooring? Which is better? What are the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid flooring?

Are you planning a renovation and need to install some new flooring, but you can’t quite decide which is the best flooring type for you? For example, which flooring type is better for a kitchen or bathroom application: hybrid or vinyl flooring? In this article, we’re going to look at the advantages and disadvantages that both of these flooring types offer so that you can make an informed decision as to which is best for your project.


What is the difference between hybrid and vinyl flooring?

The easiest way to differentiate hybrid and vinyl flooring is by breaking them both down into their individual layers, from the wear layer through to the backing:

  • Wear layer: the wear layer on both hybrid and vinyl flooring are largely the same, using a polyurethane PVC Wear Layer. This is what gives both flooring types a good wear and scratch resistance.
  • Picture film: the picture film layer is another thing that both hybrid and vinyl flooring options share in common. This waterproof layer is where the chosen style is printed (e.g., a hard-wood copy).
  • Core: this is where both flooring types deviate.
    • Hybrid flooring uses a rigid core that is typically made from limestone and PVC. It also boasts a click and lock mechanism similar to laminate flooring for ease of installation.
    • Vinyl flooring uses a core that is made up of multiple layers of fibreglass and PVC. These are pressed together to make a more stable product.
  • Backing: the backing is also another area where hybrid and vinyl flooring differs.
    • Vinyl flooring is specially designed to promote traction between the adhesive and the floor.
    • Hybrid flooring is designed with comfort and acoustics in mind, allowing a comfortable amount of ‘give’ underfoot.

Which is better vinyl or hybrid flooring?

So, now that you have a better understanding of how they differ, which is better: hybrid or vinyl flooring? Ultimately, it comes down to preference and application. Technically speaking, hybrid flooring is better because the planks are 100% waterproof (with tongue and groove locking for improved water resistance between planks), thicker and thus more durable than vinyl, and has great scratch and UV resistance.

Vinyl on the other hand is cheaper. So, if you are opting for a room that doesn’t tend to get much in the way of moisture and you are working to a budget, vinyl flooring might be your preferred option.


What are the advantages of hybrid flooring?

Hybrid flooring is the most advantageous when used in rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Again, this is due to it being 100% waterproof – which means it will not expand and warp when wet. Additionally, as it has great scratch resistance, hybrid floorboards are suitable for homes with pets and children. You can even vacuum and use a wet mop on hybrid flooring without worrying about damaging the floor, thus making it easier to clean and maintain.

As for aesthetics, hybrid flooring is more attractive than vinyl for those who are looking for a wood-like appearance, as it does use some natural timber in its picture layer.

What are the disadvantages of hybrid flooring?

While hybrid flooring is more expensive than vinyl flooring, it has been known to fade after being exposed to UV rays for a prolonged period of time. So, if you have it in your conservatory for example, after a while the planks will fade considerably. Other than that, hybrid flooring stands up against vinyl flooring rather well.

What are the advantages of vinyl flooring?

Like hybrid flooring, vinyl floorboards are water resistant. Additionally, vinyl flooring is one of the most popular choices for those who are looking for a durable floor that can withstand heavy traffic areas and is easy to maintain. It is also anti-static and can be installed on practically any sub-floor making it very versatile.

Again, vinyl flooring is also cheaper than hybrid flooring, so, if your budget is tight and you want to save as much money as you can with installation, vinyl flooring might be your preferred option.

Regarding aesthetics, vinyl flooring can be heavily customised to take on any appearance, with all manner of colour and pattern options.


What are the disadvantages of vinyl flooring?

Although vinyl flooring planks are waterproof, the quality of the installation is integral to this. For example, as vinyl comes in planks that sit side by side, if not installed as efficiently as possible, water can fall through the seams, causing damage over time.

Some other disadvantages include the fact that once they are glued down they are very difficult to remove (should you change your mind), they can easily be punctured by sharp objects, they are easy to dent with heavy objects on top of them, and the planks are non-biodegradable – as is hybrid.


To recap:

  • Hybrid flooring is 100% waterproof, scratch and wear resistant, easy to clean and maintain, and has an attractive aesthetic appearance.
  • Vinyl flooring is waterproof, though the quality of installation can impact its integrity. Vinyl is also, highly durable, anti-static, and flexible as it can be installed on practically any subfloor.

All in all, both flooring types are relatively close. Again, it all comes down to personal preference and application. If appearance is important to you and you aren’t too budget-conscious, hybrid flooring is the superior choice. That said, there are many different types of floorboards available that each have their own unique advantages so if you aren’t quite sold on either hybrid or vinyl, we recommend doing a little more shopping around.

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