Laminate flooring is made out of fiberboard and other protective layers. A plastic sheen is attached to the top of the fiberboard to give laminate the appearance of another nonplastic material. Wood is the most common option, but homeowners should also be able to find laminates that look like stone or tile. Laminate comes in many different shades and colors no matter what it is mimicking.
Tile is almost always made from some sort of stone. Ceramic tile is a popular option and is created from clay the same way pottery is made. Because of their glazes, ceramic tiles also come in nearly any color, but if homeowners opt for stone tiles, they will need to choose between basic granite, travertine and marble shades.
Laminate is very easy to install. It's one of the simplest flooring materials to put in any room of the house, providing the subfloor is level. Homeowners can usually install laminates themselves with the right adhesives, which saves a lot of money on installation labor. Tile, on the other hand, requires precise measurement, careful trimming to fit around corners, stronger adhesives, a more level subfloor and grout lines. Homeowners should either have experience in laying tile or contact a professional.
Laminate floors will usually be less expensive than tile. Some ceramic tiles may cost only a dollar or two per square foot, but as of 2010 most cost several dollars, not including grout--higher than most laminates. Prices can easily go up to $20 or more per square foot, and stone tiles are even more expensive. In 2010, laminates cost from a dollar or two per square foot to $6 or $7, making laminate one of the cheapest flooring options.
Tile, whether stone or ceramic, is one of the most durable options for flooring, and most tile lasts the lifetime of the house without any problems. Laminates, on the other hand, have a shorter lifespan than ceramics, only 10 or at the most 20 years before they need to be replaced.