Can You Use Vinyl Flooring Outside? (Explained!)

Vinyl flooring is becoming increasingly popular in homes and offices today but can you install a vinyl floor outside?

Vinyl flooring can be used outside. But, it’s best to install the vinyl floor under a shade or temperature-controlled environment to prevent the vinyl floor from UV rays and extreme temperatures that can cause fading and discoloration on the vinyl floor.

Also, you should only use waterproof vinyl planks outside as this type of vinyl floor has multiple layers and a rigid core that protects the vinyl flooring from rainfall and moisture. However, you should know that you’ll need to glue the vinyl floor too.

This post reveals more about using vinyl floor outside including the pros and cons of outdoor vinyl flooring. So, let’s dive in.

Can Vinyl Flooring Withstand Extreme Outside Temperature?

Vinyl flooring can’t withstand extreme outside temperatures. This is because vinyl flooring is designed to expand and contract based on temperature changes around the vinyl floor. If the weather outside gets too cold or too hot, it will affect the vinyl flooring. This is why it’s advised not to expose vinyl floors to extreme outdoor weather.

Generally, vinyl flooring responds easily to changes in the ambient temperature. When the temperature gets cold, the vinyl planks contract slightly to prevent moisture from damaging the floor.

When the temperature gets hot, the vinyl planks expand slightly to deal with the heat. Of course, this is not a problem indoors as the temperature inside the home is moderate enough for the vinyl floor to deal with. The problem with the temperature arises when you install the vinyl flooring outside.

While the indoor temperature is moderate enough for the vinyl floor, the outer temperature can get too high or too low for the vinyl to cope with. If the outer temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit as it does during the cold winter months, your vinyl floor can wrap or shrink causing wrinkles on the planks.

If the temperature gets higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit as it does during the hot summer months, your vinyl floor will expand beyond its capacity and eventually swell. This is why it’s advised to provide a shade to the vinyl flooring outside to protect it from extreme temperatures that can ruin the floor.

Should You Install Vinyl Flooring Outside? (Pros/Cons)

Here are the pros and cons of whether you should install vinyl flooring outside or not.

Pros of Using Vinyl Flooring Outside

Here are the perks of using a vinyl floor outside:

  1. Vinyl flooring is easy to clean and maintain so stains and dirt can be easily removed.
  2. Luxury vinyl plank is waterproof so rainfall can’t damage the flooring.
  3. Vinyl flooring is resistant to mold growth.
  4. Installing vinyl flooring outside is a task you can do yourself.
  5. Vinyl planks are very easy to install outside as very little prep work is needed.
  6. Vinyl flooring can be installed on any type of outdoor base including concrete, tiles, and decks.
  7. You can get your vinyl floor to match or mimic any look as the flooring comes in different styles and colors.

Cons of Using Vinyl Flooring Outside

Here are some disadvantages to consider before installing a vinyl floor outside your home:

  1. Vinyl flooring isn’t very strong so putting items like rocking chairs on the vinyl floor will cause chips and scratches.
  2. Vinyl flooring can’t withstand extreme outer temperatures.
  3. The vinyl floor will fade if exposed to UV rays from the sun.
  4. It will be difficult to revert to the existing floor as vinyl floors are usually glued to the subfloor.

So what type of vinyl floor should be used outside? Let’s find out.

What Type Of Vinyl Can Be Used Outside?

You are to only use waterproof vinyl flooring outside. This type of vinyl flooring has multiple layers and a rigid core that repels moisture preventing the flooring from water damage.

Asides from being waterproof, the vinyl floor also has to be strong enough to handle the outside environment. Here are top choices of vinyl flooring that can be used outside:

Luxury Vinyl Planks

Luxury vinyl is largely regarded as the strongest type of vinyl flooring. The planks of a luxury vinyl floor are reinforced to handle heavy furniture and intense traffic without chipping or separating.

The planks have multiple layers made of recycled PVC, vinyl resins, and wood fibers that make the vinyl floor impervious to water damage. This type of vinyl floor will be great outside your home as it offers moisture resistance and weather protection.

Composite Vinyl Flooring

The composite vinyl floor is another type of vinyl flooring that will stay well outside. The vinyl floor is made of vinyl resins, wood fibers, and other compounds like stone plastic.

The complex makeup of the vinyl floor is why it is referred to as composite vinyl flooring. This vinyl floor is very durable, water-resistant, and strong which is why it’s great for outdoor floors.

Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring

Luxury vinyl tile flooring can also be used outside. This flooring is designed to mimic the attributes of a tiled floor including the hard texture and moisture resistance of the floor.

The luxury tile flooring will withstand the outer temperature and conditions properly without giving way or chipping.

You should know that it’s not advised to use vinyl sheets or wraps outside. This is because vinyl sheets are not as strong as plank vinyl. If used outside, vinyl sheets will get damaged quickly.

Do You Need To Glue Vinyl Flooring Outside?

It’s generally advised to glue vinyl flooring outside to prevent the vinyl planks from separating and creating gaps on the floor. Gluing the vinyl floor also prevents moisture from getting underneath the floor and helps the vinyl floor to be even, especially on rough or patchy surfaces.

Ordinarily, you don’t need to glue vinyl floors to the subfloor. This is because a vinyl floor is a floating floor that can be arranged by assembling the planks or sheets without gluing them to the subfloor. However, this only works for indoor floors.

If you want to install a vinyl floor outside your home or office, it’s better to glue the vinyl planks to the subfloor. The major reason for this is to prevent the vinyl floor from shifting or separating especially when made to support heavy furniture.

If you don’t glue the vinyl floor down to the subfloor, the planks will gradually move while being walked on. This will continuously put pressure on the locking mechanism of the vinyl planks causing the planks to separate and cause gaps.

Also, gluing the vinyl floor down prevents moisture, dust, and debris from getting underneath the floor. When you install the vinyl floor outside, the floor will be exposed to dust nibs, flying debris, leaves, and all sorts of contaminants. Gluing the vinyl down prevents these contaminants from getting underneath the floor and ruining it.

Where Can You Place Vinyl Flooring Outside?

Decks

You can install a vinyl floor on a deck but you need to ensure that the vinyl floor is waterproof. Also, you can only use plank vinyl on decks as vinyl sheets will get ruined easily and quickly since the sheets are not as strong as plank vinyl. However, you should know that vinyl flooring will not last on a deck.

The reason for this is that decks are usually exposed to high traffic, rainfall, and sunlight. It’s also common to place items like rocking chairs, grills, barbecues, and driers on the outdoor deck. All of these items will scar and can damage a vinyl floor so vinyl isn’t the best option to use on an outdoor deck.

Porches

Vinyl plank flooring can be used on outdoor porches. This is because the vinyl floor is moisture-resistant and strong enough to cope with the traffic on the porch.

Also, porches are usually covered and protected by a roof or shade. The shade will also protect the vinyl floor from extreme temperatures, heat, and UV rays that can cause the vinyl floor to fade.

Patios

You can use a vinyl floor on a patio but it’s best to use vinyl floors for only covered patios. This is because the roof or covering over the patio floor will protect the flooring from harsh weather that can cause fading on the floor.

Also, you should provide foam padding or rubber fitting on the vinyl floor before putting heavy furniture on it. This is even more important if the furniture has a sharp or pointy frame that can dent the vinyl flooring.

Walkways?

It’s not a good idea to install vinyl floor on walkways because the vinyl floor will be exposed to extreme temperatures in the winter and summer that can cause the vinyl planks to buckle, lift, wrap, or even separate.

It’s best to use hard floors like concrete on walkways as these floors can hold up better to the traffic and temperature on the walkway.

How Long Does Vinyl Flooring Last Outside?

Vinyl floors usually last less than 10 years when used outside. This is because the vinyl floor will be exposed to harsh conditions and the elements that can cause the flooring to experience problems and damage.

You should know that vinyl flooring by design isn’t the best flooring for outdoor use. The floor though tough is made from wood fibers and recycled materials which makes it great for indoor floors and not outdoor floors. For a floor to withstand the outside conditions, the flooring has to have weather resistance such as UV block and heat resistance.

Vinyl flooring doesn’t have any of these features and the flooring is known to respond easily to extreme temperatures. This is why vinyl flooring rarely hits the 10-year mark when installed outdoors. However, if durability is what you want, it’s best to go for luxury vinyl planks as this flooring is stronger and more durable than regular vinyl floors. So, luxury vinyl will last longer outside.

How To Protect Vinyl Floor Outside

The following tips will help you protect your vinyl floor from harsh conditions so the floor can last longer outside:

  1. Only install the vinyl flooring under a roofed or covered outdoor floor to shield the floor from extreme temperatures.
  2. Install a protective and waterproof floor mat on the vinyl floor.
  3. Ensure to glue the vinyl floor to the subfloor to prevent it from coming off.
  4. Always use rubber or foam padding under heavy furniture.
  5. In rainy seasons, tape a waterproof sheet or nylon over the vinyl floor.
  6. Wipe and clean the vinyl floor regularly.
  7. Don’t use corrosive cleaners like bleach on the vinyl floor.
  8. Ensure to seal holes and gaps in the floor.

Final Words

In summary, vinyl floors can be used outside due to the moisture-resistant features of the floor. But you should only use a vinyl floor in a temperature-controlled environment such as covered patios or porches. This way, the vinyl floor wouldn’t be exposed to harsh conditions, UV rays, or heat that can cause the flooring to fade.

You should also ensure to provide a protective covering over the vinyl floor when used outside. This also makes the flooring last longer than it would ordinarily.

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