Before using vinyl flooring, you must know its advantages and disadvantages. So, what are they?
The biggest advantages of vinyl flooring are moisture resistance and an easy installation process. The biggest disadvantage is that the floor isn’t weather resistant and can’t be used outdoors.
However, there are different types of vinyl, and each type has its pros and cons.
What is Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl is a floating floor made of synthetic materials such as fiberglass, PVC, plasticizers, and polyvinyl chloride. The base of the floor is made of fiberglass and PVC coating. At the top, it has a design layer that reveals the print or pattern of the floor.
The design layer is covered with multiple layers of urethane plastic, which serves as the wear layer to protect the floor material from dents and scratches. In addition, the wear layer helps the floor to withstand traffic and weight without getting damaged.
Vinyl floors have good water resistance; you can use them on the kitchen, living room, and bedroom floors.
Types of Vinyl Floors:
Based on Material:
- Vinyl Sheets – This is a multi-layered floor with a printed top layer. The printed top layer carries the print and design of the floor. Vinyl sheets are thin and broad, offering good coverage and moisture resistance but low durability.
- Vinyl Planks – This floor is designed in planks (or boards). Each plank has a locking mechanism (at the sides) that can be used to lock planks together. You can also glue them to the floor. Because of the gaps between the planks, vinyl plank flooring isn’t waterproof and shouldn’t be used on high-moisture surfaces.
- Luxury Vinyl – This floor is designed in planks (just like vinyl planks), but it has a much stronger and tougher surface. Luxury vinyl flooring (LVP) has the best moisture resistance qualities among all vinyl types.
- Composite Vinyl – This floor is engineered to have the properties (qualities) of a hardwood floor. Except for vinyl, it also contains synthetic compounds. Popular types include stone-plastic composite (SPC) and wood-plastic composite (WPC).
Based on The Method of Installation:
- Glue-on Vinyl – This vinyl type is installed using vinyl adhesive to glue down the floor to the subfloor or underlayment. Glue-on vinyl sticks well to a surface, but removing it is hard and time-consuming.
- Click and Lock Vinyl – This type of vinyl flooring is designed with a tongue and groove locking mechanism that allows each plank to slide perfectly to the next. This is the most common installation method.
1. Easy Installation
Vinyl floors are easy to install and considered D-I-Y (do it yourself). To install it, you can either glue it down or use the planks’ locking mechanism. Optionally, you can lay a waterproof underlayment over the subfloor to increase the floor’s stability and moisture resistance features.
2. Easy Maintenance
Because of its waterproof wear layer, this floor doesn’t absorb or attract stains and dirt. So, you can clean it with a dampened rag (with water).
Maintaining it is also easy. If a plank gets damaged, you can remove it and replace it with a new plank from the same set. Even vinyl sheets are easy to fix; just cut the damaged part and replace it. However, the spot may be obvious after.
If the floor is scratched, you can fix it with a scratch-fix PU pen.
Vinyl flooring is one of the cheapest options compared to other floors because it costs between $1.5-3 per square foot.
Vinyl floorings are durable because they have a thick wear layer. The wear layer is made of urethane compounds and protects the floor from scratches, dents, gouges, and high traffic. The thicker the wear layer, the more weight and traffic the vinyl flooring will support.
This floor is versatile and has a wide range of designs you can pick. Vinyl sheets can mimic (or match) every floor, color, pattern, or design. So, you can get a vinyl floor that matches the hardwood floor, tiled floor, or ceramic floor appearance.
Vinyl planks with an underlayment underneath offer comfort and make the floor soften to walk on.
7. Water Resistance
Since it has a thick wear layer and is sealed with a waterproof sealant, most vinyl floors are waterproof. For instance, vinyl sheet is waterproof because the sheets don’t have seams or gaps that allow water to pass through.
However, you shouldn’t install it on a bathroom (or high-moisture) floor as water can get underneath and damage it. Also, vinyl planks are waterproof, but water can get through the spaces between the planks and damage the floor from underneath.
1. Not Weather Friendly
You shouldn’t install vinyl sheets outdoors because they don’t have weather resistance. Rain and other weather elements will cause the floor to fade and become white.
2. Difficult To Remove
Glue-down vinyl floors are hard to remove without damaging the subfloor. That’s because the glue is too strong, and the floor adheres perfectly to the subfloor. Except for the subfloor, you will also damage the floor and can’t re-use it.
3. Not Ideal For Bathrooms
Though vinyl flooring is waterproof (some types), you shouldn’t use it on a bathroom or high-moisture floor. That’s because water can get underneath the floor, causing the floor to separate or lift.
4. Need Underlayment
Thin floors, such as vinyl sheets, need an underlayment because they are too thin to provide durability or stability. However, some types of vinyl come with pre-attached underlayment.
In summary, vinyl flooring has its pros and cons. For instance, the floor is durable, easy to install, and affordable. But you can’t use it on high-moisture surfaces and you must install an underlayment.
Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about,