Invented in the 1930s, vinyl flooring first made an impact on the architectural world in the years following World War II. By the 1950s, it was a major competitor against other resilient options and had all but surpassed linoleum’s position as the best low-cost water-resistant flooring option for locations such as bathrooms and kitchens.
A variety of desirable characteristics continues 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. Consider both the merits and drawbacks when deciding if resilient vinyl is the choice for you.
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.
Low maintenance. 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. But few flooring options are as easy to care for as vinyl.
Water resistance: 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, and most are at most moderate in price. However, higher-end premium vinyl materials can cost as much as ten dollars a square foot, though this can still be less expensive than premium flooring choices, like stone
. The difference in price of resilient vinyl products is determined by the quality of the material and the design options found in the surface.
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, a feature that makes them more resistant to damage from scratches. Printed vinyl will be only 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. One advantage of using vinyl tiles is that individual pieces can be easily replaced when they are damaged.
Stain resistance. 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 are relatively easy to install, though you do have to ensure that you have a completely dry, level subfloor. It is possible to do this project yourself, but you may want to have a professional prepare the subfloor for you.