Vinyl Flooring Options – What you need to know
Vinyl flooring can be found in an overwhelming number of homes. This use is due to the incredible versatility of the product. Your vinyl flooring options are not limited to just one look or style. With advances in modern materials vinyl is a versatile and durable option that can be found in many homes. Modern options are part of a group of flooring options called resilient flooring.
Vinyl flooring is made by layering different materials together. Vinyl flooring begins with a backing of felt or fiberglass. This base layer is the one closest to the floor. For those looking for a soft feeling floor, the use of felt will give it the softness you are looking for. Above the backing layer is the core layer of the vinyl, this is where inlaid colors are inlaid. The core layer is also where the printing is put on top of for printed vinyl. The final layer is the wear layer, this is what will give vinyl the durability it is known for.
Some of the benefits of these is that they can be installed over existing wood flooring, other vinyl flooring, pretty much anything that isn’t overly flexible. Vinyl flooring is easy to maintain, it requires no resealing or refinishing. The shine is built into the product and requires only minimal maintenance like mopping and cleaning.
Luxury Vinyl Plank: This type of flooring is found in various widths and lenghts, much in the same way that hardwood is found. This is because plank vinyl is made in order to mimic the look of hardwood, and is found in various widths and lengths. Since it effectively mimics hardwood flooring options it can be used in much the same way. Vinyl made into planks is not in any way flexible and should be thought of much like hardwood. They often come in flooring systems that are premade to click together requiring no nails, and can be installed as a floating floor easily.
Luxury Vinyl Tile: Vinyl flooring also comes in a format called Vinyl Composite Tile, or just Vinyl Tile. These tiles are cut into precise sizes and can be found to fit any room. Once again the versatility of vinyl means it can look like many of the stone flooring options. The tiles come manufactured in different widths to avoid having to cut them specifically to size on site. These tiles are available with self adhesive backs to make installation easier. Or they can be found without backing and can be put into place using normal tile layout methods.
Sheeting: One of the main types that people are familiar with is vinyl sheeting. Normally vinyl sheeting comes in widths of 6 or 12 foot wide rolls. The rolls are bought and cut to length at the store, and final trim is made at the location. This type is best option for places where moisture is a problem or where seams are unwanted like in your kitchen or bathroom. This is the softest flooring option and when placed above a cork underlayment, is only rivaled by carpet for softness.
Know Your Wearlayer…
The most important part of your vinyl is the wear layer. This layer is what will determine how long your flooring lasts, and how it looks as time passes. Skimping on the wear layer and buying one for a low traffic area isn’t going to work well for you. Vinyl cant be refinished, if it wears through your only option is replacement. For tile or planks this is not a huge issue, for sheet vinyl this means taking up an entire section of flooring and replacing it, and it will not likely match even when this is done.
Grade 1/No Wax: This level of wearlayer is mostly a glossy coating. There is a minimal layer that is not very resistant to scratches and normal wear. This is best used in very low traffic areas and places where the flooring will not be subjected to scuffing or scratching by furniture that is moveable.
Grade 2/Urethane: The more standard grade, this is what is normally used in the kitchen and other areas of the home. The wearlayer is thick enough that it resists scratches and scuff marks relatively well. While no wearlayer can resist all scuffs and scratches, unless it is a deep scratch it serves as a good layer of protection for the flooring.
Grade 3/Enhanced Urethane: For commercial applications and extremely heavy traffic spots there is grade 3, or enhanced urethane. The extra thick wearlayer will resist scratches and scuff marks better than the other options. This grade of wearlayer is used in commercial entryways and lobbys as it will stand up to the wear and tear of heavy traffic.
Know Your Patterning…
How the pattern for your vinyl flooring is put into the product makes a large impact on how durable it is. The pattern can be manufactured in one of two methods, inlaid or printed.
Inlaid: In this option the colors of the image are built into the core layer. This means that scratches and scuffs will not wear away the image. This makes the image durable and long lasting.
Printed: With this option the pattern is printed onto a sheet on top of the core layer. This is a cheaper option, and if there is a scratch it can cut through the layer and reveal the blank core layer.
If you have additional questions, make sure to ask a pro that specializes in vinyl floors.