We examine the pros and cons of vinyl flooring, to help homeowners to decide what is right for their house
Flooring is an important element when it comes to home designing. A well-chosen flooring can dramatically change the look of your home. Vinyl flooring is one of the trendy flooring options, used in many homes.
What is vinyl flooring?
Vinyl flooring, which is also known as resilient flooring, is a popular flooring option in both, residential and commercial spaces. It is made from artificial and natural polymer materials, placed in recurring structural units. Due to advanced techniques that are available now, vinyl flooring sheets can even resemble hardwood, marble, or stone floorings.
Vinyl flooring is composed primarily of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is hence also referred to as PVC vinyl flooring. Another variant is when vinyl flooring is made with a combination of PVC and wood, in which case it is known as WPC and if it is made from stone (calcium carbonate) and PVC, it is known as SPC.
Types of vinyl flooring
This type of flooring comes in numerous colors and patterns, from budget to high-end premium range. It is available as sheet vinyl flooring, vinyl flooring planks, and tile vinyl flooring.
Vinyl sheets are available in six or 12-ft wide single rolls in various designs and colors that mimic wood and tile.
Vinyl plank flooring has the richness, deep texture, and look of real hardwood flooring. Most types of plank vinyl flooring have a foam core that delivers rigidity and strength.
Vinyl tiles comprise individual squares that, when assembled, give the appearance of stone tiles. One can add grout between the vinyl tiles to give a realistic look that is akin to ceramic tiles. Luxury vinyl tiles are designed using 3D printers and can mimic almost any natural stone or wooden flooring that is a traditional rustic exotic wood, or even modern industrial design. It is thicker than standard vinyl and has sound-absorbing properties.
Advantages of vinyl flooring
This is determined by the quality of installation. A properly fitted vinyl floor is resilient to water penetration and can be used for the bathroom and kitchen too.
Vinyl is a highly durable material and if it is correctly installed and maintained, it can last for 10-20 years. Also, vinyl tiles can be easily replaced when they are damaged as they come in individual pieces. Vinyl sheet flooring is a good choice for the bathroom, as a single sheet is used for the entire area which ensures no seams for water to seep through.
Comfortable to walk on
Vinyl flooring feels soft beneath the feet as some vinyl sheets and tiles have a layer of padding. Also, vinyl flooring has a certain degree of elasticity. Moreover, as vinyl has a soft surface, objects are less likely to break, when dropped on it.
Vinyl flooring is easy to clean and maintain. Sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping are the simplest ways to keep the vinyl flooring free of dirt. Vinyl flooring is highly stain-resistant, thanks to its wear layer that protects the flooring from stains. Mild floor cleaners mixed with warm water can clean up tough stains.
Vinyl flooring comes with anti-skid resistance, which can prevent a person from slipping and falling in the bathroom or kitchen.
Vinyl floorings come in amazing designs, colors, patterns, and textures resembling wood, marble, stone, decorative tile, and concrete, which can enhance any home décor style. It is quite inexpensive as compared to wood, marble, or stone flooring.
Disadvantages of vinyl flooring
The chemicals used in the manufacture of vinyl flooring can cause a toxic release that may lead to respiratory problems or eye irritation.
Vinyl flooring is not biodegradable and is usually not recycled. Hence, old, worn-out materials often end up in landfills.
While installing vinyl flooring, it is important to have a perfectly smooth, flat surface to work on. As it is relatively soft, even small particles stuck beneath the floor can wear down the material over time, causing bulges to appear on the surface.
Prone to scratches and dents
Heavy furniture can cause permanent dents on the vinyl flooring. If a heavy or pointed object is pulled across the floor, it can cause permanent marks. If a vinyl tile or sheet is damaged, it cannot be repaired and you will have to replace it with a new one.
Fades over time
Over the years vinyl flooring can fade or discolor if it is exposed to excessive sunlight.
What is laminate flooring?
Laminate is crafted from synthetic materials similar to hardwood. Laminates consist of four layers, coated by a resin: a top wear layer, a printed décor coating, a fiberboard layer, and a backing layer. Laminate flooring is available in many styles that mimic natural wood and stone.
Types of laminate floorings
Laminate flooring comes in planks or tiles. Most of them have floating floor systems, which can be installed over the old flooring with no glue or nails.
Difference between vinyl and laminate flooring
Vinyl is a synthetic flooring material that is highly water-resistant and easy to maintain. Laminate flooring is a thin pressed wood floor with a photographic wood copy shielded with a clear wear layer. It is not water-resistant. Laminate flooring is also slightly more costly than vinyl flooring prices.
Advantages of laminate flooring
Laminate floors imitate the look of wooden flooring or stone flooring and are a hard material that resists scratches. Due to the high wood content, laminate flooring is also a more environmentally-friendly option compared to vinyl. However, laminate does have a plastic surface layer and the melamine resin in the core layer and so it is not an eco-friendly material.
Since laminate flooring is made from natural materials, it is non-allergenic and will not emit VOCs.
Disadvantages of laminate flooring
Maintaining a laminate floor is not easy. One cannot sweep or clean it using water daily, since it can damage the surface. Laminate flooring is not waterproof and like tiles, laminate can be slippery when wet. During the monsoon season, there are chances that the flooring can swell due to humidity and moisture. It is best to avoid laminate floors in wet rooms, such as bathrooms.
Walking over laminate flooring can also create some noise, which can be irritating.
Tips for selecting vinyl or laminate flooring
- Vinyl is often chosen over laminate in places where moisture can be a factor.
- Vinyl flooring is tough and can stand up to high footfalls.
- Laminate has limited moisture resistance. So, use it in rooms where there is not much moisture.
- Usage of the room is the first consideration that a homeowner should keep in mind while selecting a material for the flooring. A dark floor absorbs light, lending a warm feel to the room. A bright floor reflects light, which can make the room seem bigger.
- Ideally, opt for smaller floor patterns in smaller rooms and larger patterns in larger rooms.
- Ultimately, both laminate and vinyl are budget-friendly alternatives to real wood or stone floors.