What is Vinyl Flooring: An In-Depth Guide
Are you thinking of installing new flooring at your place? Well, people mostly prefer durable flooring capable of handling the regular traffic load. Vinyl flooring fits that criteria as it is one of the most economical types available in the market. Its water-resistant properties, ease of installation, and low maintenance have already made it a popular choice for home and commercial buildings. Not to mention the aesthetic appeal and varying design choices that come along.
The North American Vinyl Flooring market touched the 324.4 Million Square Meters mark in 2020, and continued growth of 6.4% is expected over the next five years. In this article, we will discuss vinyl flooring, its composition, and its various types and designs. So, let’s delve into them!
What is Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl flooring is a synthetic flooring type that consists of multiple layers. It was created to offer customers an easy flooring choice that doesn’t need any extra material before its installation. At the same time, the look that vinyl flooring has is nothing less than some of the most expensive stone, wood and other natural materials. But at way less cost.
What is Vinyl Flooring Made of?
The durability of vinyl flooring is one of its major selling points. Most of the vinyl flooring is made with a four-layer construction that is built to t last for years and decades:
The topmost layer, the surface that we come in contact with, is a durable, wear-and-scuff-resistant urethane sealant. It is transparent in color. The durability and some of the water-resistant properties that vinyl flooring has are because of this wear layer.
The aesthetic element of vinyl flooring comes from the print layer. It is just below the transparent wear layer, so the design and patterns are visible. This layer mimics any type of stone, ceramic, or wood floor. In many cases, this layer is registered embossed, so that you not only get the look of a natural floor, but also the texture.
The core is what adds structural stability to the flooring. This layer’s materials and construction will vary depending on the type of vinyl floor you purchase. It could be rigid or flexible, made from pure vinyl, or vinyl that is reinforced with fiberglass or some other material.
The bottom layer that makes up the vinyl flooring is underlayment. It can be made of fiber, rubber, or foam. This layer of vinyl floors offers insulation, durability, cushion, and sound absorption properties.
What Are The Different Types of Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl flooring has the following main types:
Just like ceramic tiles, vinyl tiles are available in 9”, 12”, and 18” squares, as well as various rectangles. They are often used when you want a porcelain or stone look. You can lay them on a slightly upheaved surface too.
Vinyl Sheet or Rolls
Consider it the basic version of vinyl flooring. It has a softer core as compared to other types of vinyl floors. You’ll need to provide a clear base for its installation as well as durability. They are also inexpensive and work best on bathroom and kitchen floors. Vinyl sheet comes in large, flexible, and continuous sheets. It comes in with a width of 6 feet or 12 feet. You can choose from these options to furnish your home.
The long, narrow, interlocking panels of the flooring are easy to install. They are thicker than vinyl sheets. Thick PVC forms the core, and they are available in many colors. Often used when you want to mimic the wooden floor look.
Luxury Vinyl Tile and Plank
Unlike the general vinyl tile and plank, Luxury Vinyl tile is five times thicker. They are created through 3D printers, thus replicating the look of natural wood. The core in luxury vinyl is most often reinforced with a fiberglass layer, with more premium floors using WPC (wood plastic composite) to add stability.
Vinyl Flooring Designs
While selecting the flooring for your place, you cannot ignore the aesthetic element. There are hundreds of designs available. Choosing from these main design inspiration categories is better before hopping on to the specific product design.
- Wood-inspired vinyl flooring
- Stone and Slate
- Porcelain and Ceramic Tile
Comparative Analysis of Pros and Cons of Vinyl Flooring
Here is a comparative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of vinyl flooring. So, you can mark the positives and negatives according to your requirements.
How to Install Vinyl Flooring?
Going through the installation process might tempt you to attempt DIY fixing. However, we advise you to get help from professionals. Although it is easy to install, any problems at this stage can result in premature wearing and damage to the entire flooring. Moreover, the installation method will differ depending on the exact type under consideration. Remove any existing layer (carpet, tiles, concrete, etc.) from underneath. Do not forget to scrap all the adhesive too.
- Interlocking installation - you can use the tongue and groove method. Align the planks like puzzle pieces and attach them through a click-lock.
- Glue-down installation - A special pressure-sensitive adhesive is added at the bottom in this installation type. That’s not done until you are ready to place the vinyl plank in its position.
- Loose Lay Installation - This type is risky for high-traffic areas, but you can use it for not-so-busy areas. You just have to place the tiles on the floor without adhesive or glue. The tile’s backing grips the subfloor, providing a perfect outlook.
- Peel and Stick Method - Manufacturers have already added an adhesive below in this method. You must peel the sticker and place the tile or plank in the desired position.
Vinyl flooring thickness for various applications.
Factors to Consider when Installing Vinyl Flooring
Below are the factors to consider when installing vinyl flooring:
Vinyl can be an excellent choice for areas with high foot traffic. Within vinyl flooring, you'll find options with varied thicknesses that can serve your purpose.
Another factor to consider before using vinyl flooring is the environment around it. Vinyl flooring can handle high traffic but not heavy loads. If you wish to have heavy equipment in the room, vinyl flooring is not the right choice. Vinyl flooring, particularly those without a reinforcing layer, are susceptible to temperature changes and should not be installed in areas of direct sunlight where the head will cause the floor to bubble or lift. Similarly, vinyl flooring type risks discoloration and fading from exposure to direct sunlight and damage by sharp objects (e.g., utility knife). If you have such conditions around, consider changing your choice.
Your current floor type will also determine your consideration for installing vinyl flooring. You can install vinyl floors over an existing layer of the same floor type. But, you’ll need to prepare the base well if your floor has concrete or wooden floors as a current layer. Any bumps, pits or uneven surface elements will “telegraph” through vinyl and cause an uneven top surface.
What is the Difference Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring?
Laminate is considered one of the alternatives to Vinyl flooring. So, you might be interested in knowing the difference between the two. Vinyl flooring consists of synthetic polymers, providing home and commercial owners with a water-resistant option. Laminate floors are made of a wood top layer and a high-density fiberboard, or a cross-construction wood core, which are then laminated together under a protective sheet. Compared to vinyl flooring, laminate flooring is more prone to moisture damage. But, many people find the designs in the laminate flooring type more natural and appealing than vinyl.
Regarding installation methods, vinyl offers more options, while most laminate floors are restricted to “floating” installation options. Maintaining a laminate floor requires a bit of delicacy, while vinyl flooring is considerably easy to maintain. From the cost point of view, luxury vinyl flooring is comparable to laminate, but varies on quality and manufacturers; otherwise, both options can be considered in the low to mid-cost flooring range. Within both these flooring types, Vinyl Flooring is often a winner for most people.
What is the difference between vinyl plank and vinyl tile?
- The only difference between vinyl plank and vinyl tile is the format. Both may be constructed in a variety of ways, with planks mimicking wood styles and cut in long planks as with wood floors, while vinyl tiles are made and cut to resemble ceramic or stone tiles.
What is sheet vinyl flooring?
- Sheet vinyl flooring is a subcategory of Vinyl flooring that comes in continuous and flexible layers. This is the most inexpensive category. However, the features associated with the vinyl flooring are all present in it. These sheets can provide good standing even on an unsteady base.
What is the best vinyl flooring?
- Without a doubt, luxury vinyl flooring is the best. They come with a better outlook than their counterparts and are much thicker, enhancing the floor’s durability.
What is the best adhesive for vinyl flooring?
- You can use acrylic-based adhesives for vinyl flooring. These adhesives can handle fluctuations in temperature and do not loosen up even in high moisture environments. You can buy it at an affordable cost per square foot of your vinyl flooring.
What is the difference between vinyl flooring and hardwood?
- Hardwood is a natural material used for floor creation, whereas vinyl is a synthetic material made of petroleum. Moreover, hardwood costs more than Vinyl Flooring. So, vinyl flooring is a good option to consider if you want a hardwood look at a lower price.
This information on vinyl flooring will help you determine if the benefits of vinyl are right for your home. Even from the design perspective, it offers you hundreds of options. You can explore some of the best vinyl flooring designs at Carpet Spectrum.
We ensure high-quality products and installation services. You can request a quote per square foot or get help from our cooperative staff in design selection. Explore the products at Carpet Spectrum to make the best choice for your space.