Vinyl may not be the first material that comes to mind when considering types of flooring, but its durability and aesthetic versatility make it an ideal option for kitchens, bathrooms, entryways, and more. Available as both sheets and tiles, vinyl flooring is fairly simple to install, and requires little to no maintenance. It can mimic styles ranging from hardwood, to tile and stone, and offers an array of colors and patterns to choose from.
Let’s take a look at vinyl's composition, the qualities which make it both a unique and cost-efficient option, and the typical maintenance required to ensure that it serves your home well for many years to come.
Composition and Categories
Vinyl flooring is generally comprised of six components: the base, serving to support the other five layers; fiberglass, which holds the sheet flat; the cushion, adding bounce, texture and insulation; pattern, which supplies the sheet’s color and overall look; the wear layer, serving to safeguard the pattern; and a top coat, which adds sheen as it protects the wear layer.
Vinyl sheets generally come in 6- or 12-foot-wide rolls, and can be installed seamlessly, making them ideal for use in rooms that may contain moisture. These can be laid over a subfloor or glued down. Tiles and planks, by contrast, are sturdier than sheets, and can be glued or joined at the edges to “float” over the subfloor in varying patterns, from checkerboard to diagonal orientation. They can also be grouted for a more natural appearance.
Vinyl tile can be further broken down into the following categories: VCT, vinyl composition tile; SVT, solid vinyl tile; and LVT, luxury vinyl tile. VCT is commonly used in schools and institutions, and is made of a no-flex mixture of vinyl and ground limestone. Woven vinyl, containing strands of fiberglass interlaced into soft, textured sheets, embodies more of a natural, springy quality.
Due to its durability and resistance to spills and general wear and tear, vinyl flooring is ideal for rooms where moisture might typically be an issue. Kitchens and bathrooms, where frequent spills are common, can be greatly served by the addition of vinyl, specifically, in seamless sheets where there are no cracks for water to seep through.
High-traffic areas, such as entryways, utility rooms, and even children’s bedrooms, can also benefit from vinyl’s unique ability to bear the brunt of everything from dirt and snow to detergent spills and crayon scribbles. Basements, yet another location susceptible to dampness, are similarly suited for this damage-resistant surface.
Installation & Maintenance
Vinyl flooring can be installed fairly quickly, and without great expense. Though tiles and planks make for suitable DIY projects, it is recommended that a professional be hired to lay sheet flooring. Depending upon the style selected and the room intended for installation, vinyl flooring can be purchased in several forms: peel-and-stick backs, peel-and-stick edges, click-and-lock edges, or loose sheets, to be glued down.
Consumers are advised to do their research when it comes to pinpointing those types of flooring that have been properly certified to meet standards for indoor air quality, as certain varieties have been found to emit potentially harmful chemicals depending upon the type of glue used in the backing. Many also come with lifetime warranties, another consideration when evaluating the countless options available.
Maintenance is limited to regular sweeping or vacuuming, with the occasional mopping with soapy water recommended to remove any built-up grime and keep the colors vibrant. For those vinyl floors with a gloss finish, homeowners may want to strip and reapply polish as necessary; however, bleach and ammonia should be avoided, as should any type of abrasive waxing or buffing.
As vinyl flooring becomes more popular, certain varieties are being imbued with antimicrobial protection to resist bacteria, mold and mildew. Still others now contain recycled content, as flooring of all types moves toward meeting greener, more eco-friendly standards.
If you’re in the market for a remodel, consider vinyl as a viable option for your flooring needs. To request a free quote, contact Burt Lumber, today.