Invented in the 1930’s, vinyl flooring first made an impact on the architectural world in the years following World War Two. By the 1950’s it was a major competitor against other resilient options, and had all but usurped linoleum’s position as a low cost water resistant flooring option.
A variety of desirable characteristics continue to make this versatile flooring material a popular option to this day. However there are also a number of drawbacks to using this material in your home.
Advantages of Vinyl Flooring
There are a variety of advantages that come with installing vinyl flooring in your home. These are the same tried and true characteristics that have been touted since the fifties by vinyl flooring retailers and suppliers.
Vinyl Design Options
The colors and pattern options that are available with vinyl flooring are nearly endless. Solid and composite vinyl can be combined to create a number of unique, random patterns. Printed vinyl is even more versatile, allowing you to recreate the look of natural stone, hardwood, or any other material you can think of. You can even mix and match material facades to make it look like you’ve combined different elements in your floor.
Vinyl flooring is relatively easy to care for. You have to make sure that grit and dirt are kept swept free to maintain the surface of the floor. Then you can use a damp mop and an approved vinyl floor cleaner to remove stains.
A well installed vinyl floor is almost impervious to water penetration, making this the perfect material for use in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or other high moisture space in the home.
Vinyl does not get cold in the winter, and is generally soft beneath your feet. Some vinyl sheets and tiles have a padded layer that can make walking on these floors even more pleasurable.
At the low range vinyl can cost as little as fifty cents per square foot. However higher end premium vinyl materials can cost as much as ten dollars a square foot. The difference in price is determined by the quality of the tile, and the design options found in the surface.
Durable Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl is generally considered to be a highly durable material that, if properly installed and maintained, can last upwards of ten to twenty years. However the quality of the material that you purchase, and the way it was manufactured, will determine how well your floor lasts over time.
Solid vinyl and composite vinyl tiles are homogenous, with colors permeating every layer making them resistant to damage from scratches. Printed Vinyl will be as durable as the clear wear layer that protects the surface. Fiberglass reinforced vinyl sheets are extremely durable while also being pliable and resistant to damage. When using vinyl tiles, individual pieces that are damaged can also be easily replaced.
Stain Resistant Tiles and Sheets
Printed vinyl tiles and sheets have a clear wear layer that acts as a surface barrier, protecting the floor from stains and spills. These materials are very easy to clean and maintain. Solid and composite vinyl tiles do not have this surface protection, and will be more susceptible to stains, requiring occasional stripping and polishing.
Ease Of Installation
Vinyl tiles and vinyl plank flooring is relatively easy to install. However you have to ensure that you have a completely dry, level subfloor to work with. It is possible to do this project yourself, but you may want to have a professional prepare the subfloor for you.
Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring
While vinyl flooring is low maintenance and highly durable, there are also a number of drawbacks that are associated with this material. Of these, its ecological impact on the personal and world environment may be some of the most disconcerting.