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Considerations When Choosing Vinyl Flooring

Considerations When Choosing Vinyl Flooring

When you are considering flooring options, modern vinyl can be attractive for a number of reasons.

First, it is visually attractive. The variety of patterns, colors, and designs is virtually unlimited.
Second, it provides visual beauty at a cost that is significantly less than many other options. The installation cost is also typically much less.
Third, vinyl flooring manufacturing methods vary, to expand your flooring choices even more.

It is available in vinyl sheets, which also come in two types, inlaid and printed, and also in vinyl tile, manufactured as composition or as solid vinyl.

Vinyl sheets that are “inlaid” maintain their color even when they are chipped or scratched, because the pattern in the vinyl extends completely through the depth of the vinyl. “Printed” vinyl, on the other hand, is manufactured by printing a pattern on backing material, then covering it with clear vinyl or urethane, which is the wear layer. Damage that extends beyond the wear layer will show in the pattern.

Vinyl tile that is manufactured as composition is made up of several different materials and fillers, with texture, colors, and a wear layer may be added to the top surface. Thus, the pattern in the composition tile is not the same on both sides. Conversely, solid vinyl tile appears the same on either side. That’s the easy way to tell composition from all-vinyl tile. Vinyl tile has no fillers, as does composition tile.

The surface on vinyl flooring is also available as “wax” or “no-wax”. No-wax surfaces are easier to maintain, but even they will eventually be dulled. They can be restored by buffing or re-coating the no-wax finish. Much like the wear-layer surface, the no-wax layer can be clear urethane or clear vinyl. The former is harder, more expensive, and usually lasts longer than the vinyl finish. A urethane finish provides a higher gloss.

The degree of gloss and surface texture are important considerations. Vinyl sheets and tile are available in a “high-gloss” or “low-gloss” finish, but a high-gloss finish with little surface texture tends to dull in high traffic areas and can show irregularities in the floor surface. If you are going to install the floor in an area where the finish might be scratched, consider a low-gloss finish with texture. A textured surface with a low-gloss finish tends not to magnify scratches like a high-gloss finish with little surface texture.

Other considerations when deciding on vinyl flooring are how well the surface recovers from indentation, how well it resists ultraviolet damage from sunlight, and how comfortable it is underfoot.

With all there is to know about vinyl flooring, your best bet is to find a contractor who has the experience and knowledge to fully explain your options. Better yet, visit a showroom to examine your vinyl flooring choices firsthand and get the answers to all your questions on the spot.

 

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