Vinyl Flooring

Kitchen with table set --- Image by © Kate Kunz/Corbis

Because of its durability, comfort under foot, aesthetic appeal, long lasting beauty, and cost effectiveness, vinyl flooring is used in a wide range of commercial and residential applications. The ease of cleaning and removing spills as well as the overall moisture resistance are important reasons why so many homeowners and commercial building owners select vinyl flooring. vinyl_sheet_cutaway

In residences, vinyl flooring is commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, entryways, family rooms and increasingly in other areas of a house or apartment where rugs are used in conjunction with vinyl flooring. In residences occupied by hypersensitive persons, vinyl flooring is commonly used because these floors can be easily cleaned and do not tend to trap dust, which when combined with moisture, can produce microbial contamination.

Vinyl flooring is broken down into two main categories- vinyl composition tile and resilient sheet flooring.

As the name implies, vinyl composition tile is a resilient floor tile, normally 12” x 12”, that is used in commercial applications and in residential kitchens and baths.  It gives you the capability to mix and match colors, put borders around a room, and checkboard patterns to give your area a unique look.

Resilient sheet flooring is layered sheet flooring usually 12’ or 6’ wide, and is one of the most versatile flooring values for today’s busy lifestyles.  In addition to being durable and easy to clean, you have hundreds of styles and colors to choose from.  The makeup of a typical sheet vinyl is shown below:

Sheet Vinyl  is used in residential and commercial applications, and comes in 6’ and 12’ widths.

There are two types of construction, typically described by the type of backing:

Felt represents over 90% of vinyl sheet floors sold today.

Fiberglass is a newer construction format. Fiberglass is the “cushiest” form of vinyl flooring and offers the most installation options.

The uppermost layers for both types are identical:

A) Protective top coat:  Urethane or other high-performance top coats which make the product easy to clean and resist scratches and scuffs.

B) Protective clear vinyl layer:  Adds durability and helps protect against rips, tears and gouges. The thicker this layer, the better the performance. The flooring’s appearance retention and general durability is largely dependent on the quality and thickness of the clear wear layer.

C) Printed vinyl design layer: The rotogravure printing process offers an unlimited range of patterns and designs, including very realistic interpretations of natural materials.

The bottom layers for both constructions differ:

D) Felt: Felt bottom layer that adheres to the subfloor.

F) Fiberglass: A fiberglass structural layer makes the product more dimensionally stable (will not curl, allows it to lay flat, and install without glue). A cushiony vinyl backing provides added underfoot comfort.

Keep In Mind: The type of backing determines how it can be installed

Floor Score™ is a trademark of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute.

Other Sheet vinyl tips:

Inlaid sheet flooring vs. printed cushion vinyl

Inlaid products will resist the rips, tears and burns far better than printed cushion vinyl products. New innovations like ToughGuard backing from Armstrong help cushion vinyl floors resist tearing.

Residential inlaid products are generally 6’ wide and will require seams while most printed cushion vinyl products are available 12’ wide and can offer seamless installation. However, most residential inlaid product patterns are designed so the seam falls in a grout line and therefore not obvious to the eye.

In recent years, backing materials have been affected by back staining. Ask for newer backings like Armstrong’s ToughGuard, which are designed to resist back staining.

Most residential sheet flooring products offer no-wax performance and a wide variety of colors and patterns–more than any other flooring product. Printed on products will offer the widest assortment. Some commercial rated inlaid products require waxing.

Generally speaking, cushion flooring is the most economical of all flooring choices.

Some products are designed to help you reduce subfloor preparation costs

Next to ceramic tile, vinyl flooring installation demands properly prepared subflooring. Many of the printed cushion vinyl products are very thin. When they are installed with a full spread of adhesive over a poorly prepared subfloor, irregularities can telegraph through. Products designed for perimeter installation will greatly reduce the effects of subfloor irregularities while lowering subfloor preparation costs. In fact, many of these products can be installed over your existing flooring.

Special Considerations when choosing sheet vinyl flooring

Asphalt staining or dragging heavy objects across the floor can result in permanent damage to vinyl surfaces.

There is no substitute for a knowledgeable salesperson

If you’ve looked around,  there are so many varieties and colors that it can be super confusing.  Our knowledgeable design people can help you sort out colors and styles and match them to your performance needs so that your purchase makes sense while achieving beauty and quality for your home or office.

The installation process is just as important to a successful project as the products that we sell. Our craftsmen deliver the end product that ulitmately makes our clients proud of their project. We pride ourselves on our quality of installation. Each member of our team knows our commitment to doing a job right. We reinforce this by a system of continuing education and certification, training programs and seminars, and on the job implementation. Our installers are our own employees and work strictly for us, unlike the independent installation subcontractors that most others use. LEARN MORE