Different vinyl floor types come with different thickness levels. So, what thickness should you choose?
You should choose a vinyl flooring that has a wear layer of 6-10mil for low-traffic areas such as bedrooms. For outdoor or high-traffic areas, choose vinyl flooring with a wear layer of at least 18 mils.
A thicker floor will provide more stability and support and last longer. However, a thinner floor is easier to install and costs less.
Why Does it Matter?
The vinyl thickness matters because it determines the support and comfortability. Thicker floors offer more support, comfort, and better sound insulation. That’s because they are harder to move from their place, and it’s hard for sound to travel through the frame.
However, there’s a difference between the width (thickness) of the vinyl floor and its wear layer. If the floor is thicker it will support more weight and stability. But, if the wear layer is thicker (in mil), the floor can handle more traffic without damage, leading to increased durability.
Durability means the ability of a floor to handle traffic without showing signs of damage. So, durability is determined by the wear layer, not the floor itself. So, if you get a thick floor (in mm) with a thin wear layer (in mil), the floor won’t be durable because the thin layer will fade fast.
Once the wear layer is faded (removed), the planks and their design will be exposed to different elements that can damage the floor. So, in terms of durability, a thicker floor has little significance.
Floor vs Wear Layer Thickness
The vinyl flooring thickness is calculated in mm (millimeter) and mil. mm is an abbreviation for millimeter, and one mm (or millimeter) equals 39.37 (approximately 40) mil. Mil is a unit of measure and is not the same as a millimeter. mm (millimeter) is used to measure the thickness of the floor, while mil is used to measure the thickness of the wear layer.
Vinyl flooring is designed by compressing several layers of PVC, hard plastic, vinyl resins, and recycled wood. The number of compressed layers determines the thickness of the floor (measured in millimeters). So, if you see a floor measured in mm, the measurement is a reading of how thick the whole floor is.
After the vinyl has been compressed, the layers are sealed with a waterproof and protective plastic sheeting, known as the wear layer. The wear layer is measured in mil (1-40 mils) and determines the floor’s durability. So, if you see vinyl flooring measured in mil, it’s a reading of how thick the wear layer is.
How To Choose The Thickness of The Vinyl?
The right vinyl floor thickness will depend on two main factors. Here they are:
1. The Condition of the Subfloor
You don’t need a thick floor if the subfloor is strong and durable. That’s because the subfloor is already strong enough to support the weight of the traffic. In this case, go for a mid-level thickness with a thick wear layer.
However, for patched, rough, or weak subfloors, you need a sturdy floor to support the weight of traffic. In this case, get a vinyl floor with at least 6mm in thickness. Also, for subfloors made of wood or other delicate materials, you need a thick floor since the subfloor isn’t strong enough.
2. Surface Type
You don’t need a thick floor for low-traffic surfaces, such as bedrooms, since the surface won’t see heavy traffic or weight. In this case, you can go for a thickness level of 4mm and a wear layer of 10 mils.
For outdoor or high-traffic surfaces, you need a thicker wear layer to increase the floor’s durability. In this case, choose a floor thickness of 6-8mm.
Here is the vinyl flooring thickness chart:
|The Type of Floor||Ideal Wear Layer Thickness||Ideal Vinyl Floor Thickness|
|Bedroom floor||6-10 mil||2-4 mm|
|Kitchen floor||8-12 mil||4-6 mm|
|Ground floor||20-28 mil||6-8 mm|
|Living room floor||12-20 mil||4-6 mm|
|Outside floor||24 – 40 mil||4-8 mm|
Different Types of Vinyl Floorings
Vinyl planks have a thickness between 2-5mm, with 3mm being the most common in homes. The wear layer of this floor ranges between 4-20 mil.
- For low-traffic surfaces, go for a 3mm floor and 8-12 mil wear layer.
- For high-traffic surfaces, go for a 5mm floor and 16-20 mil wear layer.
Luxury vinyl flooring is thicker because it has a sturdier structure. It has a thickness level of 4.5-8mm, and the wear layer can reach 40 mils.
Vinyl sheets are thin and have low durability and stability because they come in wraps or carpet form. This floor is 6mm thick and has a wear layer of fewer than 20 mils. Due to their thin nature, you can only use this flooring on low-traffic surfaces.
SPC Vinyl Flooring
Stone composite vinyl (or SPC) is a sturdy floor designed using special machines. This floor is a hybrid or crosslink of a hardwood floor and traditional vinyl. SPC has a thickness level of 5-8mm.
This floor has a complex structure containing vinyl resins, wood fibers, and hard plastic materials. So, SPC flooring is reinforced to handle high traffic and weight and is one of the few vinyl floorings that can be used indoors and outdoors.
WPC Vinyl Flooring
WPC vinyl has a thickness between 4.5mm and 7mm and a wear layer of 10-40 mils. Wood plastic composite vinyl (WPC) is similar to SPC flooring and is reinforced to handle traffic and heavy furniture. So, this floor is ideal for high-traffic and busy surfaces.
In summary, you should use thick vinyl flooring (in mm) for high-traffic surfaces that will see heavy furniture and weight. The thickness of the floor will provide more support and sturdiness.
On the other hand, you should go for a thicker wear layer (in mil) for surfaces that will see a lot of foot traffic, scratches, and dents.
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,