Tile vs Laminate Flooring

By HomeAdvisor

Published October 12, 2021

A front door entrance with tile flooringphototropic/E+ via Getty Images

Tile and laminate are both smart flooring choices, with ample varieties to suit any budget. Tile is generally more expensive but also more durable than laminate. Laminate is less expensive and better suited to DIY installation. Explore the pros and cons of tile and laminate to decide which is the best for your home in terms of budget, durability, and aesthetics.

On This Page:

  1. What’s the Difference Between Tile and Laminate Flooring?
    1. Tile Flooring
    2. Laminate Flooring
  2. Tile vs. Laminate Flooring: Which is Better?
    1. Appearance
    2. Cost
    3. Ease of Installation
    4. Durability
    5. Durability
    6. Moisture Resistance
    7. Heat Resistance
  3. Tile vs. Laminate Flooring: Which is Best for Your Home?
    1. Which is Best for Homes With Pets?
    2. Which is Best for Bathrooms?
    3. Which is Best for Homes With Kids?
  4. Tile vs. Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring
Consult With a Flooring Pro Today

What’s the Difference Between Tile and Laminate Flooring?

A modern living room with laminate floorJacek Kadaj/Moment via Getty Images

Tile for flooring is usually natural stone or human-made in the form of ceramic, porcelain, or resin. Tiles are a single, solid layer that sometimes have a sealant to prevent moisture absorption and staining. Laminate flooring, whether in tile or plank form, consists of multiple human-made layers. High density fiberboard makes up the rigid base layer, followed by an image layer, and topped with a plastic wear layer.

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring ranges from rugged, natural stone like slate or limestone to sleek, shiny ceramic, porcelain, or resin. Tile flooring costs between $9 and $65 per square foot, installed.

Types of Tile Flooring

Type Cost per Square Foot Description
Ceramic  $9$44

Ceramic tile costs less than most

Most common type

Excellent variety

Great for high traffic and damp areas

Porcelain $11–$44

Harder than ceramic so extremely durable

Resists cracking and chipping

Suitable for high-traffic and high-moisture areas

Slate $12$35

Natural stone

Requires sealing and regular maintenance

Travertine / Limestone $10$44

Porous natural stone

Excellent durability when sealed

Granite $18$50

Most common stone type

Large selection of unique colors and designs

Requires sealing and maintenance

Marble $11$65

Natural and artificial varieties

Prone to scratches and staining

Good in low traffic spots, trim, accents, counters and accents

Fired Stone $10$50

Fired stone tiles

Extremely hard and durable

Naturally slip resistant

Resin $10$50

Unique designs

Can dent, chip and scratch easily

Use as accents or for walls, ceilings and backsplashes

Laminate Flooring

A small studio living room with laminate flooringMadhourse/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Laminate comes in plank or tile form. Planks usually mimic the look of wood while tiles mimic stone or porcelain. You can also find ones with interesting patterns and prints like mosaic or mandala prints. Laminate flooring costs $3 to $10 per square foot, installed. 

Types of Laminate Flooring

Type Cost per Square Foot Description
Plank $3$10

Laminated planks made from wood, resin, glues and wood dust

Extremely durable but can’t be refinished

Tile $3$10

Mimics stone and ceramic tiles but for half the price

Wide range of styles, colors and designs

Tile vs. Laminate Flooring: Which is Better?

A pair of blue welly boots on a tile floor
Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment via Getty Images

Tile and laminate flooring have an extensive range of benefits that make them popular options for flooring in any room, whether you’re doing a kitchen remodel or freshening up the hallway. Let’s explore which type of flooring performs best in each of these important categories.


Appearance is a key factor when it comes to flooring, as it impacts the look of your whole room and everything in it. Plus, a beautiful, well-maintained floor can add to the resale value of your home.

Laminate Flooring Pros:

  • No grout, so you don’t have to worry about it yellowing or looking grimy over time
  • High-end laminate convincingly mimics the look of real wood or stone
  • More even surface than tiles
  • Limitless appearance choices as the photographic layer can mimic any material or hold any pattern

Laminate Flooring Cons:

  • Pattern repetition makes laminate appear “fake” because it’s too even
  • On budget materials, the top layer is sometimes so glossy it makes the flooring look obviously fake

Tile Flooring Pros:

  • Stone tiles have a rugged, natural appearance
  • Lots of choice in color and stone type
  • Endless pattern, color, and style variations in manufactured tiles like porcelain, ceramic, and resin

Tile Flooring Cons:

  • Grout can eventually turn yellow or gray
  • Mildew and mold can build up on the grout in damp areas


Cost is a significant factor when it comes to choosing flooring, particularly if you’ve got a big space to cover. If you’ve got your heart set on high end marble tiles, but the cost for a whole room is just too much, consider just using marble around the periphery or to create a focal point in the center of the space, then use cheaper tile to cover the rest.


Tile flooring costs between $9 and 65 per square foot, depending on the type of tiles. Ceramic costs the least, starting at $9 per square foot, installed.

Laminate:  Laminate is less expensive than tiles per square foot, costing between $3 and $10, including installation.

Ease of Installation

A professional installing laminate floorLightFieldStudios/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

For both laminate and tiles, it’s best to hire a flooring specialist if you want to finish your flooring project to a high standard in a reasonable timeframe. However, if you really want to tackle this project yourself, here are the pros and cons of choosing the DIY route for each material.

Tile Installation Pros: 

  • Pre-cut tiles easy to install
  • Can be installed over existing floors
  • Can be installed below grade

Tile Installation Cons:

  • If you make a mistake its difficult to reverse
  • Stone tile is heavy and hard to cut
  • Requires mixing mortar or grout
  • Spacing tiles correctly is challenging

Laminate Installation Pros:

  • Quick and easy to install
  • Tongue and groove planks are easy to cut with miter saws
  • Can be fitted over existing floor
  • Underlayments can cadd insulation and control noise

Laminate Installation Cons:

  • You must place flooring in the area you’re installing it in for 48-72 hours to acclimatise it.
  • New laminate flooring has a distinctive chemical smell that can take up to a week to dissipate
  • Can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pose a potential health risk


A professional laying tilesmaskalin/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Your flooring, particularly in high-traffic areas, is exposed to a lot of wear and tear, so it’s vital that the product you choose is tough enough to keep up with those demands.

Tile Durability Pros: 

  • Tile is tough, durable, and hard to crack
  • If you damage a single tile, you can simply replace that one tile
  • Can withstand high amounts of foot traffic
  • Doesn’t scratch

Tile Durability Cons:

  • “Destructively hard” tiles can cause mutual destruction when things fall on them. 
  • May require sealing, depending on the type of stone, to increase stain resistance and improve durability

Laminate Durability Pros:

  • Resists scratches
  • A single plank or tile can be replaced

Laminate Durability Cons:

  • Can’t be revarnished or resealed
  • Once wear layer is gone, the floor needs replacement

Repair and Maintenance

Repairing and maintaining a floor should be relatively painless and simple. Both tile and laminate are fairly easy to clean and maintain. And, for resealing and repair jobs, hiring a local flooring pro ensures you get the best results with minimal effort.

Tile floor repair and maintenance pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Does not absorb moisture if sealed properly
  • Repair (or replace) individual tiles if necessary
  • Generally doesn’t scratch
  • Easy to reseal to maintain water and stain resistance

Tile floor repair and maintenance cons:

  • Will need regrouting periodically
  • Grout requires regular scrubbing and whitening

Laminate floor repair and maintenance pros:

  • Easy to clean with vacuum or broom
  • A single plank or tile can be replaced if damaged
  • Doesn’t require resealing

Laminate floor repair and maintenance cons:

  • Cannot be refinished or resealed
  • Cannot tolerate too much water
  • Planks can shrink over time, leaving unsightly gaps around the edge of the room and at joins

Moisture Resistance

Moisture resistance is crucial for flooring in bathrooms, kitchens, and hallways. Plus, accidents happen, drinks get knocked over, new furry friends take a while to potty train, and sometimes life gets messy. So it’s important that the flooring you choose can withstand the demands of everyday life.


  • If sealed correctly, tile is waterproof
  • Some stone tiles need periodic resealing to maintain their water resistance


  • Water resistant to a degree, but you must clear spills up immediately
  • Bottom layers of laminate are made from fiberboard so if water penetrates the boards or through the joins, the fiberboard gets soaked and irreparably damaged

Heat Resistance

Heat resistance is an important factor if you’re planning to lay a floor in your kitchen, as hot food, water, and pans may accidentally land on it.


  • Most tiles are heat resistant and resistant to cracking and discolouring over time with repeated exposure to heat 


  • Temperature fluctuations can cause laminate to expand and contract
  • Intense heat can cause laminate to blister and bubble

Tile vs. Laminate Flooring: Which is Best for Your Home?

Tile and laminate flooring both have appealing qualities as interior flooring options. However, the room you’re remodeling and your lifestyle both impact which type of flooring you should choose. You can always get expert advice from a local flooring installer.

Which is Best for Homes With Pets?

Both laminate and tile are a good choice for pets, but there are a few things to consider. Laminate and some tiles are slippery for humans and particularly pets. Therefore, if you have animals, it’s best to choose textured laminate or natural stone that’s already slip-resistant. Both options are easy to clean if your pet has an accident, but because laminate has a fiberboard base, repeated accidents that breach the water-resistant layer will cause damage.

Which is Best for Bathrooms?

Tile is the best flooring for bathrooms. Although it can be slippery unless you use a textured tile, it’s still better than laminate. Tiles such as porcelain are waterproof, whereas laminate is only water resistant. With continual exposure to moisture, laminate will quickly buckle and peel.

Which is Best for Homes With Kids?

Laminate is probably the best choice for homes with kids. Tile is extremely hard, so trips and falls are often more painful than with a laminate floor. Laminate wipes clean easily and is less likely to crack if someone drops something heavy on it.

Tile vs. Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is synthetic and consists of layers of fiberglass, PVC, a photographic layer, and multiple thin wear layers. Vinyl doesn’t look as realistic as laminate as it tends to be a little glossier and look more like an image than the real thing. Vinyl, unlike laminate, is waterproof, so is suitable for use in bathrooms and kitchens. For cleaning and maintenance, vinyl is much easier than tile or laminate. Vinyl flooring costs $5 to $10 per square foot, including labor and materials.

Consult With a Flooring Pro Today

No Comments Yet

Are You Familiar With This Topic? Share Your Experience.

Compare quotes from local pros Compare Quotes
Return to Top