Aug 15, 2011

A primer on vinyl flooring.

Check out the new vinyl floors! They are beautiful, durable, and easy to install and maintain. When you're seeking a price conscious option for a high traffic area and want softness underfoot, vinyl may be the right choice.

Vinyl flooring comes in sheets, tiles and planks. The evolution of vinyl, introduced to the residential market around 1940, has brought about a totally different look and feel from early products. Patterns and textures mimic traditional counterparts like stone, porcelain, and wood or go modern, boldly.  Manufacturers have introduced vinyl flooring that meets new indoor health standards (no or low off gassing of volatile organic compounds), and is environmentally friendly. Easy to clean, regular vacuuming or sweeping, with the occasional wash with soapy water to remove stains, will  keep the color and texture through the warranty period. Abrasive cleaners should not be used,  and ammonia and bleach will strip the finish.  Typically, vinyl flooring is used in kitchens and baths, but is ideal for mud & utility rooms, finished basements, playrooms, meeting rooms, commercial spaces, and even family and living rooms - using vinyl plank. Depending upon the type of vinyl flooring, the location, and the installation, you can do it yourself or hire a professional installer.


Sheet vinyl is cost-effective and beautiful.
Sheet vinyl: Generally the width of sheets is 6 to 15.5 feet. They come in varying thicknesses and are durable in proportion to that thickness. Styles can be flat, textured, and even have recessed "grout lines". The best sheets are 0.125" thick with a 15 mil wear layer. Warranties are generally 25 years. Some have special topcoats with anti-microbial and stain resistant properties. Next in line are those sheets with 0.100" thickness and a 10 mil wear layer. They are warrantied for 15 years. The lower levels of sheeting have 0.0080 thickness and 10 mil wear layer thickness. Many have built in stain protection in the top coat. Warranties are 7-10 years. The cost for vinyl sheet flooring is usually $0.75 to $4.00 per square foot.
Vinyl tile mimics stone without the cost or care.

Vinyl tile and plank: Sizes start at 6" squares and go to 24". The manufacturing is similar to sheet vinyl but the pieces come out harder and stiffer. They can be glued down or joined at the edges and 'floated' over the sub floor. Vinyl planks are embossed strips of 3 and 4 feet long, that have the appearance of wood plank. They do look and feel like wood for a fraction of the cost!  Many commercial spaces use vinyl planks since they have significantly higher durability and ease of maintenance over a wood floor counterpart.  Tiles range from $1.00 to $8.00 per square foot uninstalled.

Gorgeous and durable vinyl plank floors.

Woven vinyl is made when strands of fiberglass are 
encapsulated in vinyl, and woven into soft, textured sheets. They are naturally springy due to the weave, and the patterns and resulting textures are gorgeous. The cost per square foot is $4.00 to $5.00 with installation being extra.