Vinyl Flooring vs. Tiles Comparison Guide


When it comes to choosing new floors, two popular options are vinyl flooring and tile. Both vinyl and tile come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and patterns to fit any home décor. They also both have their own sets of pros and cons when it comes to factors like durability, ease of installation, and cost.

So how do you decide whether vinyl or tile is the right choice for your home? This comprehensive Vinyl Flooring vs. Tiles Comparison Guide examines the key differences between vinyl plank flooring and tile flooring. We’ll compare and contrast durability, cost, installation, styles and looks, maintenance and more.

Use this guide to help weigh the pros and cons of vinyl vs. tile flooring and determine which option best fits your lifestyle, budget and home.


Durability is a major factor when choosing new floors. You want something that will hold up well to heavy foot traffic and everyday wear and tear. Here’s how vinyl and tile floors compare:

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is highly durable and scratch-resistant. The top vinyl layer is resistant to dents, gouges and scratches. It can last 10-20 years or longer with proper care and maintenance.

The best vinyl planks have a 0.5mm to 1mm wear layer made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. This clear top layer protects the vinyl plank from damage. Thicker wear layers indicate better durability.

Vinyl flooring also has a resilient backing that provides cushioning and absorbs impacts rather than denting. This makes it more forgiving to drops or heavy impacts compared to tile.

Overall, vinyl provides excellent durability for high-traffic areas of homes at an affordable cost.

Tile Flooring

Natural stone tiles like granite, marble, travertine and slate offer superb durability. They can last 50 years or longer with proper installation and care. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are also highly durable for decades of use.

The durability depends on the hardness and density of the stone or ceramic used. Porcelain tiles are tougher than ceramic. Stone tiles have higher density than ceramic.

Tile floors are resistant to scratches, moisture and everyday wear. But tile can chip or crack if heavy objects are dropped on it. The grout lines between tiles are also prone to staining and damage.

Tile offers unmatched durability but requires more intensive maintenance than vinyl planks.

Winner: Tie – Vinyl and tile floors offer excellent long-term durability. Choose vinyl for affordable durability or natural stone tiles for the highest durability and longevity.


Flooring costs range widely depending on the material chosen. Let’s see how vinyl and tile compare:

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring costs $2-5 per square foot installed. Vinyl sheet flooring starts around $1 per square foot.

Luxury vinyl tiles can run $5-10 per square foot installed but provide realistic stone and wood looks. The cost depends on the vinyl thickness and quality. Entry-level options are the most affordable.

Overall, vinyl costs significantly less than most tile options while still providing durability. It offers homeowners excellent value for money.

Tile Flooring

Ceramic and porcelain tile cost $3-15 per square foot installed. Lower end options start around $3-5 per square foot. High-end porcelain tiles run $12-15 per square foot installed.

Natural stone tiles like granite, marble and slate cost $15-40 per square foot installed. The rarer the stone and thicker the tiles, the higher the price.

Glass tiles can run $20-50 per square foot depending on intricacy. Mosaic tiles also fall on the higher end due to their labor-intensive installations.

Tile materials, custom designs, intricate patterns and specialty tile work can increase costs. Skilled installers also charge more for tile installation labor.

Winner: Vinyl flooring wins for affordability and value. Tile provides outstanding durability at a premium price point.

Ease of Installation

How easy is it to install vinyl plank vs. tile floors? Let’s compare:

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is designed to be DIY friendly. Many vinyl planks click or float together without glue or nails. This “floating floor” system allows beginners to install vinyl flooring over concrete, plywood or existing floors.

Most vinyl planks are 2-6 inches wide with simulated grout lines. The narrow widths make them easy to cut to fit using just a utility knife. No messy adhesive or tile saw is needed.

Vinyl sheet flooring requires more skill to install properly. The sheets need to be cut to size and sealed tightly. Overall vinyl plank flooring is far simpler to install than tile.

Tile Flooring

Ceramic and porcelain tiles require careful installation to ensure the tile lasts without cracking or loosening. The subfloor must be completely level and stable.

Installing tiles takes skill and precision. Tiles need to be cut to fit using a wet saw or tile cutter. Tiles are set into thinset mortar adhesive using levels and spacers. Grout is then applied between tiles and requires sealing.

Large format tiles 12”x24” or larger and intricate patterns increase installation complexity. Natural stone tile often requires extra reinforcement to prevent cracking.

Tile installation is difficult for DIYers. In most cases, hiring a professional tile installer is worth the cost.

Winner: Vinyl plank flooring is the clear winner for easier installation. Tile requires skilled installers and proper prep.

Styles & Looks

Tiles and vinyl planks both come in a wide variety of styles. Here’s how they compare:

Vinyl Flooring Styles

Modern vinyl plank flooring mimics the look of real hardwood, stone and ceramic tile. Advances in printing technology allow incredibly realistic faux wood and stone patterns. You can find vinyl planks with these popular looks:

  • Wood look – oak, hickory, cherry, maple, exotic woods
  • Stone look – marble, travertine, slate, limestone
  • Tile look – ceramic, porcelain, mosaics
  • Concrete, brick, weathered barnwood

Vinyl plank styles range from distressed, rustic visuals to polished looks replicating stone and hardwood. Some planks have texture for an authentic feel underfoot.

Vinyl sheet options include solid colors and speckled patterns. Luxury sheet vinyl can mimic wood, stone and abstract designs.

Overall, vinyl plank and sheet floors come in almost unlimited options to match home décor.

Tile Flooring Styles

Tiles offer homeowners literally thousands of styles including:

  • Ceramic – glazed, matte, textured and hand-painted
  • Porcelain – wood look, stone look, mosaics
  • Natural stone – granite, marble, travertine, slate
  • Glass, metal, mosaic
  • Patterned, etched, textured tiles

Mixing and matching tile styles, colors, finishes and patterns creates endless custom looks. From minimalist contemporary to Old World rustic, tile flooring can match any style.

Tile also offers unique looks like crackled glazes, 3D surfaces, bold patterns and artistic motifs not found in vinyl.

Winner: Tile edges out vinyl for the most extensive style possibilities. But vinyl plank flooring offers impressive realism for a fraction of the cost.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Keep reading to see how vinyl and tile floors compare for ongoing maintenance:

Vinyl Flooring Maintenance

Vinyl plank flooring is low maintenance thanks to the durable top coat that resists stains and scratches. Sweep, mop or vacuum to remove dirt and dust. For deeper cleaning, use vinyl floor cleaner and a soft bristle brush.

The seams between vinyl planks won’t trap dirt and debris like tile grout. This keeps cleaning simple.

Properly installed vinyl floors are waterproof. Spills and messes can be wiped up without worry. Just avoid flooding standing water.

Over time, vinyl floors can show signs of wear in high traffic areas. Apply vinyl floor polish occasionally to renew the shine.

Overall, vinyl requires little regular maintenance, making it a great flooring choice for busy families.

Tile Flooring Maintenance

Tile floors require more intensive maintenance than vinyl planks:

  • Sweep/mop frequently to prevent gritty dirt from scratching tiles
  • Deep clean grout lines using a grout brush and grout cleaner
  • Re-seal grout every 1-2 years to prevent staining
  • Seal natural stone tiles annually to resist staining
  • Be cautious of dropping heavy objects that can crack tiles

Porcelain and ceramic tiles are very stain-resistant if properly sealed. Natural stone tiles demand careful maintenance to prevent etching and staining in the porous material.

Tile maintenance is worthwhile to protect the floor’s beauty and longevity. But it requires more time and care than vinyl.

Winner: Vinyl plank flooring wins for easier maintenance and cleaning. Tile requires sealing and grout maintenance.

Moisture Resistance

Let’s compare how vinyl and tile stand up to water exposure:

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is 100% waterproof if properly installed. The layers of PVC vinyl and fiberglass backing prevent moisture penetration.

Luxury vinyl planks with pre-attached underlayment provide moisture barriers against subfloor dampness. This makes vinyl suitable even for basements and bathrooms.

Spills, pet accidents and cleaning mopping can be easily wiped up without damage to the vinyl floor. Just avoid standing water pooling on the floor long-term.

Vinyl sheet flooring is also waterproof when professionally installed without gaps at the seams. Overall, vinyl plank and sheet flooring offer excellent resistance to moisture.

Tile Flooring

Porcelain and ceramic tiles resist water well, making tile suitable for wet areas like bathrooms and laundries. The tiles themselves won’t absorb moisture.

However, the grout between tiles is prone to moisture damage. Grout needs re-sealing regularly to maintain water resistance. If the grout crumbles or cracks due to moisture, tiles can become loose.

Natural stone tiles must be sealed properly to prevent water stains and etching. Some very porous stones like limestone require extra precautions in wet areas.

Winner: Vinyl is the clear winner for waterproofing. The seams between planks won’t allow water underneath as grout can.

Environmentally Friendly Options

If you’re environmentally-conscious, here’s how vinyl and tile compare:

Vinyl Flooring

Traditional vinyl contains PVC resin which emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs). PVC production also creates toxic byproducts.

However, newer water-based vinyl flooring eliminates much of the off-gassing and health hazards of older vinyl formulas.

There are also innovative bio-based vinyl planks made from sugar cane and recycled limestone. These offer non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives.

Look for green certifications like FloorScore, GREENGUARD, or Cradle to Cradle when choosing environmentally-friendly vinyl flooring.

While not perfect, vinyl flooring is improving regarding sustainability and indoor air quality.

Tile Flooring

Natural stone and ceramic tiles contain abundant natural ingredients like clay, granite and quartz sand. Production emits minimal VOCs or toxic byproducts.

Porcelain tile manufacturing uses recycled materials to reduce mining impacts. Tile contains no VOCs, formaldehyde or toxic adhesives.

However, tile production consumes significant energy for high firing temperatures. Transport also emits greenhouse gases.

Tile has better lifecycle analysis scores than vinyl when it comes to embodied energy. A tile floor can last over 50 years vs. 10-20 years for vinyl.

Winner: Tile edges out vinyl plank for sustainability benefits. But eco-friendly vinyl options are also available.

Vinyl Flooring vs. Tiles: Which is Better for My Home?

After comparing vinyl plank vs. tile across all factors, here are some final recommendations on which floor is best for specific applications:

  • Vinyl works best for:
  • DIY installation
  • Affordability and value
  • Beginner flooring projects
  • Basements and bathrooms prone to moisture
  • Homeowners wanting low maintenance
  • Active families with pets or kids
  • Tile works best for:
  • Skilled installation
  • Highest durability and longevity
  • Custom looks and designs
  • Homeowners wanting a premium, high-end look
  • Low-traffic, adults-only households
  • Environmentally-conscious building

Vinyl Flooring vs. Tiles Comparison Guide

For quick reference, here is a summary comparing vinyl plank flooring vs. tile flooring:

| Factor | Vinyl Flooring | Tile Flooring |
| Cost | $2-5 per sq. ft. installed | $5-50 per sq. ft. installed |
| Durability | Durable and scratch-resistant. 10-20 year lifespan. | Extremely durable and long-lasting. 50+ year lifespan. |
| Ease of Installation | Easy DIY installation. Floats or clicks together. | Challenging installation requiring skilled tile setters. |
| Styles/Looks | Realistic wood, stone and tile looks. Limited textures. | Unlimited styles, designs, colors, patterns, textures. |
| Maintenance | Easy no-wax maintenance. Just sweep and damp mop. | More intensive maintenance sealing grout and stone tiles. |
| Water Resistance | 100% waterproof if installed properly. | Porcelain/ceramic tiles resist water but grout lines can allow moisture. Natural stone requires sealing. |
| Environmentally-Friendly | Traditional vinyl has VOCs. Newer water-based vinyl and bio-vinyl alternatives are better. | Natural, abundant ingredients. High embodied energy for firing. |


Vinyl plank flooring and ceramic or stone tile both provide durable and attractive options to update home floors. But they excel in different areas.

Vinyl plank wins for affordability, easy installation and low maintenance. Tile provides superior durability and custom high-end looks.

Consider how each flooring type aligns with your budget, lifestyle needs and home décor goals. And consult with flooring specialists to determine if your subfloor requires special preparations.

With the right choice between vinyl vs. tile and professional installation, you can enjoy beautiful new floors that will last for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions About Vinyl Flooring vs. Tile

Is vinyl or tile more durable?

Both vinyl and tile are highly durable flooring materials built to last 10-30 years or longer. However, natural stone tiles like granite, slate and marble are the most durable and scratch-resistant option that can last 50+ years. Tile receives more durability from its rock-hard composition while vinyl is slightly more prone to dents and scratches. But vinyl provides impressive durability and wear resistance for the price.

What’s cheaper – vinyl or tile?

Vinyl plank flooring is significantly cheaper than most tile options. Vinyl plank costs $2-5 per square foot installed compared to ceramic tile at $3-15 per square foot. Natural stone tile ranges from $15-50 per square foot installed. The labor for tile installation also adds to costs. DIY-friendly vinyl plank flooring is the budget option.

Is it hard to install vinyl plank flooring?

No, vinyl plank flooring is designed to be easy for DIY installation in a floating floor system. Many vinyl planks simply click together without glue or nails. Cutting planks is easy with a utility knife. Prepping the subfloor properly is still important, but the vinyl plank installation itself is straightforward. Tile installation requires more skill and labor.

Can you use vinyl plank flooring in bathrooms?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring is 100% waterproof if properly installed, making it suitable for damp bathroom environments. Avoid constant standing water. Make sure to seal expansion joints for water resistance. Tile is also very moisture-resistant for bathrooms, but requires more intensive sealing and maintenance of the grout.

Is vinyl or tile better for resale value?

In general, tiled floors will provide greater resale value in luxury homes due to their premium, high-end look. But vinyl plank flooring offers an excellent return on investment for more budget-conscious buyers. Vinyl plank flooring can even increase resale value over carpets or laminate floors. As long as vinyl is well-maintained, it presents nicely to potential buyers.

Does vinyl flooring need underlayment?

Quality vinyl plank flooring will often have pre-attached underlayment on the bottom side. This provides moisture, sound and thermal insulation. If your planks don’t have attached underlayment, roll out separate underlayment prior to installation. This is especially important for concrete subfloors. Underlayment helps smooth out minor subfloor imperfections as well for aflush vinyl floor.

Final Thoughts on Choosing Vinyl Flooring vs. Tile

Vinyl plank and tile floors each offer unique benefits. Focus on your own needs and home use to determine if affordability and easy maintenance with vinyl or premium durability and style with tile better fits your lifestyle.

Consult with flooring professionals to ensure proper installation for whichever you choose. With the right prep work, both vinyl and tile floors can provide you with lasting beauty and enjoyment for decades to come.