Your flooring choice needs to reflect your lifestyle and your budget. If any of the following words conjure up visions of your home — wet dogs, muddy footprints, teetering toddlers, sippy cups, grape juice, spring gardening, volcanic science projects, skateboards or roller blades — you are in the right floor space. Vinyl Flooring is also known as ‘sheet vinyl or resilient’ and has been around for decades. But it’s certainly not your grandmother’s floor! Today’s technology allows for extremely realistic replication of natural looks and textures like stone, slate, and wood. It’s easy to clean and maintain, budget-friendly, and contains recycled content, too. Resilient vinyl flooring is a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to keep clean. It’s durable, water resistant and doesn’t fade, stain, or dent.
What are the trends in Vinyl Flooring?
Choices for vinyl flooring include a wide spectrum of styles, colors, textures and patterns. Add in vinyl’s easy-to-clean characteristics, comfort under foot and family-friendly stain-resistance, and the result is increasing popularity with value-hungry shoppers.
Vinyl flooring is as versatile as tile, laminate and carpeting. The colors, textures, patterns and designs are calculated to stir your imagination and fit your budget. Today’s vinyl flooring is the great imposter. It can have the look and feel of brick, stone, marble, linoleum or wood. The only limits are in your mind’s eye.
Vinyl is the acknowledged workhorse of the flooring world. That’s why we love it for our kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It’s practical and durable and very fashionable. It can go anywhere. Imagine it in your living room, dining room and bedrooms. It’s warm and cushiony underfoot and so easy to clean.
Vinyl is simply a very versatile plastic. We have vinyl records, shoes, wall coverings and fence posts. There’s even a documentary film and a record album called Vinyl. But it is most popular as a floor covering.
Vinyl flooring is made up of layers of material starting with a core of vinyl over a backing of felt or fiberglass. Decorative designs are printed on the next layer that sits on top of the core. That decorative design layer is what makes vinyl flooring so versatile. It can be made to look like almost any material. The final layer is also vinyl and is called the wear layer.
Rotogravure: The key to the many faces of vinyl flooring is the printing process, called rotogravure. Using a rotary press with photoengraved plates allows manufacturers to create the look of stone, brick, marble, wood and hundreds of other patterns and designs. And if that wasn’t enough, some manufacturers enhance the design by adding color or colored vinyl chips to the wear layer coating to add more depth to the design.
Wear Layer: Practically speaking, the wear layer, the last one applied, is most important. This top layer of vinyl is about 10 mils thick on average. (A straight human hair is about 1 mil. thick.) The thicker the wear layer, the more durable the flooring. The flooring industry is constantly experimenting to find wear layers that are tougher and more resistant, but still beautiful and practical. Resilient vinyl flooring offers homeowners these advantages:
- It’s tough and resists scratching, denting and tearing
- It cleans easily and doesn’t need to be waxed
- It resists staining and scratching
Fine grit and sand can cause scratches to the surface of vinyl and over time, will diminish the look. Placing walk off mats at entrances and sweeping frequently will extend the life of your vinyl floor. Be sure the mats you buy are for vinyl floors. Some rubber-backed mats may leave stains or marks. And be sure to read the section on caring for your resilient floor.
Given it’s beauty, durability, and budget loving prices, it’s easy to find vinyl flooring that fits your lifestyle.
Resilient vinyl flooring comes in a wide price range. As you move into the more expensive products, you’ll find a greater selection of colors and textures — plus enhanced performance. That all important wear layer is often tougher and thicker in the premium flooring, which means it’s more resistant to scratching, staining, denting and tearing. Some premium wear layers are enhanced with aluminum oxide, providing outstanding resistance to scratching.
Choosing the style or pattern that’s right for you
This is the fun part. You’ve done your homework. You’ve made your decision. You want resilient vinyl flooring. So how do you even start to narrow down your choices?
How big is your room?
Start with the size of your room. Keep in mind that rooms appear smaller if the flooring is dark and larger if you choose a light color.
How big is your floor pattern?
Now consider the pattern of the flooring. In most cases, a smaller pattern works best in small rooms where the pattern will be visually interrupted with pieces of furniture, say a bathroom vanity or a dining room table. On the other hand, to make the room feel more spacious, you might use a larger pattern.
How will your flooring work with your wallpaper or fabrics?
Think about what else is in the room. Just like matching the right tie to the right shirt, if the wallpaper has a large pattern, you should probably choose a small pattern for the floor. And the opposite works, too. Fabric or wallpaper with a small pattern can look terrific paired with large patterned flooring.
One final shiny consideration.
Vinyl flooring comes in a range of gloss levels. The lower the gloss level, the more resistant your floor will be to the wear and tear of daily life. Just something to keep in mind when choosing the floor that’s right for you.
Your style is a reflection of you. It can’t be dictated. There is no formula. So have some fun. The perfect vinyl flooring for your project is just waiting to be discovered.