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Resource Center

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring was invented in the 1920’s, but really came to prominence in the housing boom after World War II because it was an easily installed, durable, cheap flooring alternative to linoleum. As a flooring option, vinyl flooring is now second only to carpet in the U.S. Vinyl is predominantly sold in three main forms for both residential and commercial use: large rolls of sheet vinyl, vinyl tile and vinyl plank flooring.
One of the main reasons people select vinyl over the varieties of hardwood flooring and laminate flooring is its durability. Vinyl is widely used commercially because it is not just water resistant, but often is a fully waterproof flooring. This makes it the best choice for kitchens, bathrooms and basements as well. It is also extremely stain, dent, and scratch resistant. Vinyl flooring is made of shock absorbent materials. In addition to adding to its ruggedness, this adds to the walking comfort. Vinyl floors can be easy to stand on, even for long periods of time. They are often backed with a layer of foam or felt, which makes them both safer, and quieter, to walk on. Vinyl flooring falls under the heading of “resilience flooring” because of its tendency to bounce back into shape after being compressed, whether by feet or furniture. That feature also suppresses sound.

The very same qualities which make vinyl flooring durable also make it very easy to clean and to care for. Because there are no pockets or grooves, vinyl will not collect dust, dander or other allergens, and its moisture resistance keeps it from being a habitat for mold. Many vinyl floors even have anti-bacterial elements manufactured into them. Usually all you have to do is damp mop the floor.

Because it can be a printed floor, vinyl can have an almost unlimited number of design, style, pattern and color options. It can match the decor in any room, and really is, hands down, the most versatile kind of flooring regarding appearance. Vinyl flooring can be sort of abstract, like the checkerboard looks we associate with 1950’s malt shops, or it can present a more natural look, resembling ceramic, stone, or even wood flooring. Thicker vinyl floors may even have a textured surface, which can enhance the realism of the wood or stone look. Often these natural looks can be achieved with vinyl at a substantially lower cost than using the real thing.

Vinyl can be one of the least expensive of all of your flooring options. Thickness and design are the main factors in the pricing. Thick vinyl costs more than thin vinyl. The floor designs with textured surfaces will cost more than a smooth surface vinyl, especially if the texture is “embossed in register”, which means that the texturing matches the pattern underneath, for extreme realism. It’s still usually cheaper than wood or stone. You would think that longevity would also factor into the cost, yet oddly enough with vinyl flooring it frequently doesn’t. Warranties may range from 1 to 10 years, but a quality vinyl floor should actually last up to 20 years.

Something that factors into the overall cost is that vinyl floors are easily installed. Some are do-it-yourself friendly, and ease also means speed for an installer, which also shaves expenses for you. Additional savings are to be found here, at Floors To Your Home, discount flooring specialists. This is especially true if your order qualifies for our flooring with free shipping offers, which the majority of our orders do.

The three factors most relevant to the longevity of your vinyl floor are the wear layer, ensuring a proper installation, and the care and maintenance that follow.

The GREENness of vinyl

Properly installed, Vinyl flooring has little long term negative impact on indoor air quality. According to a test called the “lifecycle assessment model” established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Building for Environment and Economic Sustainability VCT beats linoleum as well as the ceramic tiles which use recycled material. Vinyl’s durability means that it doesn’t have to be frequently replaced, saving resources. And because it is an inert compound, when it is removed, vinyl can be disposed of in landfills without special handling.



– – – –
David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’) and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty’s Google+

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30 comments on “Vinyl Flooring
  1. Russell Noyes says:

    My wife and i are replacing our old carpeting with vinyl plank flooring and have a question. Can we use tape on flooring primarily advertised as glue down? Thanks!

    • David says:

      Hi Russell! Great question, and yes, you absolutely can. Just make sure you’re using tape specifically for vinyl flooring, and you’re good.

  2. Arvin says:

    What is the average age of Vinyl Flooring? I want to change my drawing room floor with Vinyl , but I am curious to know about how long it lasts. Also, I am planning to shop a Vinyl cutter for Wall Art and already made my mind for Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine. Is that a good machine? Rated no 1 by this site http://www.topreviewhut.com/best-vinyl-cutting-machines/

    Please advise me which one will be best for home use.

    Thank you!

    • David says:

      Hi, Arvin,

      For the life of a vinyl floor, it’s more product specific than it is material specific. You’ll want to check the specific warranty on any given product you’re considering, as a good sign of how long the manufacturer is willing to stand behind their flooring’s longevity. So, for example, I checked a random sampling of our Vinyl Plank floors, and I found this variety of coverage lengths:

      5 Year Structural Warranty
      15 Year Residential 5 Year Light Commercial
      20 Year Residential 5 Year Commercial Warranty
      25 Year Residential 5 Year Light Commercial Warranty
      25 Years Residential 5 Years Commercial
      Lifetime Residential / 25 Year Light Commercial

      Now, we post this info on our products’ pages, and anyone reputable should as well. We post the actual documentation too, whatever they give us, so you can read ahead before you buy. If you wind up shopping at a place that doesn’t do that, someone on the other end of the phone there should be able to give you your specifics. If they can’t, then you should buy from someone else.

      As far as the machine goes, I’m afraid I can’t be of specific help there. Since we deal primarily in cartons of vinyl planks, we don’t work with a cutter, let alone many, so that we would know the good from the bad. Looking at reviews as you are – you’re already doing the smartest thing, and I would look up a few sites. I *can* advise you there to be careful with your sources. Some companies invent review sites for their own products, so if one site you check seems to exist only to review the Silhouette Cameo, especially if all the reviews seem well written, excited, and all showed up within a couple of months, then maybe discount it. On the other hand, if the URL says something like popularmechanics.com, then you’re probably right to trust it. I think fake sites are probably unlikely for this kind of machine – they normally get made for things like super weight loss pills – but I pass that along just in case.

      – David

  3. Craig Zinkoski says:

    Hello David,

    I am a School Facilities Manager looking to put down one of your Loose Lay floorings and have contacted FTYH already and have ordered 3 colored samples which have helped with our decision tremendously. A question cam up from one of our Administrators about if this type of floor could be laid down on an angle (/) so as to make the room look larger?

    • admin says:

      Hi, Craig,

      Installing these at an angle is definitely an option. Here are the things to keep in mind.

      Where most plank flooring needs a gap between the planks and the walls, usually around 1/3″, Loose Lay has to be snug up against every vertical surface (usually the walls). Going at an angle means cutting the short side of every single plank. That’s not actually such a big increase in labor because most rows’ end pieces would be cut anyway, but sometimes angles are harder to mark than cross cuts. The main difficulty here would be in the corner where the floor starts, and the corner where it finishes. As those rows shrink to less than three or four feet in length, you have to cut both ends of a single piece to fit exactly on both sides. It feels less like trimming an edge, and more like cutting a specific shape to fit a specific hole. It can certainly be done, but that’s just where the work is a little extra.

      The other issue would be at a doorway. Instead of the long end of a plank or two going across the doorway, you’ll necessarily have a few short ends stopping at the doorway. There, you’ll want to glue from the edge of each of those planks inward no less than 2″ to keep them from being able to slide.

      Angled installations can look really nice with these.

  4. Cheri Dawson says:

    Twenty years ago we enclosed our patio, putting in a new concrete slab, and carpet over it. We’ve replaced the carpet once, and it’s time again. We had an older dog who was using it for her bathroom and before we figured it out and kept her contained, she had done a lot of damage. She is gone now, but we still have two other dogs who may, at some point, become like her. I know from what I have read, that the only thing to do is put down vinyl, since it is waterproof and easily cleanable. But it will make the room so cold that I am concerned the hardness and cold will keep us from using it, which would be a waste. My current thoughts are vinyl with a big area rug, or just re-carpeting and changing it out again when needed. I’d love your thoughts if there is anything that we can use (put down plywood over the concrete and before the vinyl?) to make it not so hard and cold, but still easily cleanable. Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi, Cheri,

      You’ve come up with the best answer to address both of your concerns! For warmth underfoot, putting a plywood subfloor over your concrete is going to do the most to accomplish that. Then standing on an area rug would be the icing on plywood’s cake. If spills or urine are such a strong likelihood though, vinyl plank in between those two is probably going to be your best bet, and I would add that click together vinyl plank may be the best option there. I would suggest loose lay if you were going directly over the concrete, because it can be so easily lifted to clean underneath when necessary, but with the plywood, you really just don’t want anything getting through at all. While we cannot technically say that liquid will never get through the seams in a click locked vinyl plank, the fact is that we can’t get it to happen. It might as well be a solid sheet because the lock is so tight. The floor itself is 100% waterproof, so it won’t be affected, and it is the easiest to clean. I’ve also put up some details on which solutions clean specific spills on vinyl.

  5. Adam says:

    I want to replace carpet with vinyl waterproof flooring in the second floor of the house. How does the the vinyl compare to carpet in terms of sound proofing?

    • admin says:

      Adam, I can pretty solidly say that carpet wins hands down on sound proofing within the room over any hard surface type of flooring. It’s soft and irregular, so almost any sound that hits it has nowhere useful to bounce. As for what’s coming through the floor, carpeting is usually thicker, but also less dense than vinyl, and it also usually has a layer of padding underneath it. Vinyl won’t, and layers can matter. I think that difference is going to be minimal because a thump is a thump, but the edge would still be for carpet in terms of sound going up or down between rooms. It’s probably not much of an edge though.
      – David

  6. al says:

    I would like to install 12×12 self stick vinyl tiles, but i need also and more importantly to install 1/4″ cork underlayment in my tenament for soundproofing… will the 12×12 tiles adhear properly to the cork???

    • admin says:

      Al, that is probably not going to work, I’m sorry to have to say. With cork being a porous material, we don’t think the tiles will adhere very well. The only underlayment which is good for glue or self stick down tiles is a luan backer board. This is a 1/4″ sheet of plywood with one finished surface, usually coming in 4′ x 8′ sheets. You nail this down to the subfloor and then your tiles can stick right onto it.

  7. patti persell says:

    Just put down vinyl plank flooring. It has a matte finish and I hate it.. Can I wax it and what product should I use?

    • admin says:

      Patti, I don’t know what brand you have installed, but it’s very likely that you shouldn’t wax it. Your exact instructions will tell you what you can do, but I’ll quote from way down the page on my article How to Remove Specific Spills, Stains & Scuffs from Your Vinyl Floor. I realize that it assumes a shine in the first place, but it applies to matte floors as well.

      “The designation “no wax” doesn’t mean that you don’t have to wax your floor. It actually means you don’t get to. It means that your floor gets its bright shine from a polyurethane coating, something to which wax does not adhere very well. Instead the wax becomes the mess, hiding the shine beneath it. This will also happen with a product like Mop-n-Glow, which has some wax in it. The same can happen with so-called acrylic waxes, which are really just plastic. Resting on your polyurethane finish, they instead adhere to dirt and dust. You will need to get that wax off your floor. Use a solution made of 1 part isopropyl alcohol to 3 parts hot water. You will have to scrub the floor, not just mop it. There are products made just for restoring the shine to no-wax vinyl flooring. Check your documentation for restrictions and recommendations. First make sure the floor is perfectly clean, then use the chemical as directed.”

      Honestly, I do not believe that there is a product which will put a shine on a matte finish vinyl floor in the way you probably want. Some products exist in home stores, but if they’re temporary then you’ll be leaving prints and scuffs just walking across your floor. If they are permanent, adhering to the surface, then your warranty will likely be voided and they really might damage the surface after a while. With real wood floors people often swap the top coating by refinishing the floor – even sanding and re-staining – but with vinyl and laminate planks the decision about shine vs. matte is pretty much made at the time of purchase. I’m sorry to only have bad news for you here.


  8. Mike says:

    I want to replace carpet over somehat uneven contrete. My dogs have the run of this room. Because ther has been some moisture issues with the room in the past, I want to use vinyl plank instead of laminate.

    Do you think the dogs running around the room (they are somewhat excited when they come in the house) will scratch or gouge the vinyl?

    Any type of vinyl product you would recommend? Click together loose lay something else?


    • admin says:

      Mike there are two things affecting your best answer. Your two best options are any Vinyl Plank floor, or a Laminate that is not ultra high gloss (and very few are ultra enough to matter). For your pets’ nails the laminate option is best. It has the most durable surface. This is assuming the dogs might be really attacking one spot, like some do when they’re in one room and you’re in another and they just dig at the floor. You’d want tough stuff for that. The issue there is that concrete can have moisture issues, so you’ll need to know your floor. If you have recurrent puddles or high moisture from the ground then laminate is not going to be the best option. If not, a laminate will handle this for sure. Nothing beats aluminum oxide for a surface protector.

      If you do have moisture, then Vinyl Plank is the way to go, and while it’s not as durable, we think that any dog under 100 lbs ought to be fine on either Click Together or Loose Lay as long as they don’t have razor sharp nails. The way dogs’ nails are, they’re generally pretty dull tipped. They’re likely at their sharpest after you trim them, and then maybe only for a day or so. A thick vinyl floor is actually more likely to dent, say from a refrigerator that has not moved in years, than it is to scratch in some immediate event (and with most products even that dent will probably push out over a week).

      As for unevenness, if the difference in flatness is more than 1/8″ over 3-10 feet (instructions will vary) you will need to level out the concrete before installing any of these. Leveling compound can be found at most home stores.

      Oh, and for the other possible issue with dogs, and why you might choose Loose Lay over Click Together, see my piece on Waterproof Vinyl Flooring vs. Cat Pee.

      – David

  9. Carol says:

    Can the click type vinyl planks work over a concrete floor in a basement with electric floor heat

    • admin says:

      Yes, in general. There will be temperature limitations for each product. One of our manufacturer’s instructions says, “Concrete floors with a radiant heating system are satisfactory, provided the temperature of the floor does not exceed 92 degrees at any point.” Another makes no reference to radiant heating, and only says, “Preferred temperature should be 62-85 F” Basically you will need to keep within whatever limits are stated in the documentation that comes with your flooring, but otherwise you should be just fine.

      One other thing to consider is that if you have had the radiant heating installed recently, you may have to wait for your new concrete to ‘cure’. 60 to 90 days are often recommended for that process, but again, you would get the best information from any documentation, both with the concrete and your new flooring.

  10. Heather Bryant says:

    We just suffered from flooding and had carpet removed from two rooms. I definitely want vinyl planks but is the Supreme Click the only waterproof vinyl or are the Shaw vinyl planks also as good? We own but it is not our forever home and want to save some money.

    • admin says:

      We have two *kinds* of waterproof planks, most with a click-together installation and then others with a loose lay installation style. As I write today, we currently have in stock loose lay brands called Supreme Elite Freedom (with Gold varieties). The click together brands in stock right now are Supreme Click Elite (also with Gold options), Supreme Click INNOcore, IVC, Shaw, First Choice, Feather Weight, Master Design and Konecto. Those are the waterproof options. If you want to browse only those, go to our big list of vinyl products and you’ll see a checkbox on the left side. Check it to filter in only the waterproof options.

      Also, I wrote a brief blog post on our Two 100% Waterproof Floors illustrating the differences between the click and loose lay planks, with videos included on the features and installation methods. I hope that helps! -David

  11. Steve says:

    Hi, I m remodeling a bathroom, and picked up some Vinyl plank flooring relatively cheap. It is going over concrete and requires to be glued down, and rolled with a 100lb roller. First question is will this be ok to put in a bathroom. Second is if I dont have a 100lb roller. Is there any other method to press it out, or do I need to rent one? Im not even sure if I can, or where, but I know what they are.

    • admin says:

      Hi, Steve,

      A properly installed glue down vinyl should be good in a bathroom, and the rollers you might need should be available in any construction equipment rental place. The roller is used to secure the vinyl into the adhesive. When you spread the adhesive, you’re doing so onto your subfloor, so the goal with this pressure is to make sure the adhesive transfers to the back of the material as well. If you can make sure that enough pressure is applied to the material so the trowel ridges you leave as you spread the adhesive around get well compressed, and the adhesive is fully covering the back of the material, then you could be okay without the roller. I thank our installer specialist, Shawn, for the roller tips.

      I hope that helps!

  12. Gabrielle says:

    Hello, I’d like to know if this flooring is semi-permanent and if it can be applied over ceramic tile. I live in an apartment with hideous flooring and its driving me insane. I want to know, is it easy to remove? (say someone would prefer the gross tile) Also, I can’t seem to find information on shipping to Canada. Do you ship to Canada and if so, how much?


    • admin says:

      Hello, Gabrielle!

      Any vinyl that is not glued down or glued together is going to be pretty good for your apartment (semi-permanence) needs. Most of what we sell comes in the form of planks, and they either click together or lay loose (not to mean un-snug, but just not clicked together). Both can be taken back up when you move on, and the loose lay would make that exceptionally easy.

      All of the vinyl must go over a flat surface, so it will matter if your ceramic is perfectly flat like marble, or if it has been left with a more ‘natural’ surface (somewhat bumpy) or has deep grout grooves. Unlike a laminate or hardwood plank, the vinyl is somewhat pliable, so it’s going to respond to those features.

      As for shipping to Canada, I am passing this along to Adam, who handles our Canada traffic…

      Hi my name is Adam,

      Regarding Canada shipping, there are some fees associated with that. There are duties & taxes due of 16%, and we factor that in when you place your order with us. There is a second option to avoid the duties and taxes through us. If you are located near the U.S. border, I’ve had people in the past drive in to pick it up and just pay at the border when they go back (it might be a bit cheaper). If you know a town just inside the U.S. we can ship the material to there and you would meet the shipping company driver.

      Also we will need to get you a quote on shipping (if going into Canada), as our free shipping applies to the U.S. If you know what product you are interested in I can get a quote for you. I just need to know the quantity you need and your postal code.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks for asking us, Gabrielle,
      Adam (& David)

  13. Linda says:

    What is the name and maker of the wood vinyl flooring in the third picture above the dark wood on the right? I am remodeling my bathroom and love this floor.

  14. Jane Mugisha says:

    I need some advise. I am renovating my house and I want to remove the carpet….what would you advise me to replace it with?

    • admin says:

      Hi, Jane,

      That’s such a broad question, that I may not be able do it full justice to here. Some of it depends on the demands of particular rooms and how one uses them, and much of it depends on preference, basically what you like. At this point, almost any floor can look like any other floor (so, we have stone tile looks in laminate flooring, as well as wood looks in ceramic) so the place you want to start is with the other features, durability, how well a certain floor handles moisture, things like that. Since you know your specifics, the best I can do here is to point you to this piece we wrote as the starting point for our Flooring Learning Center. The vinyl article to which you posted your comment was there. This one goes over a lot of the factors people like to consider when starting to floor shop, and makes recommendations for which kinds are best or worst for that particular factor. A menu on the left will lead you to more information about any of the floor types.

      We also have a series of articles on kinds of rooms or environments, and which floors can be best and worst for those. So if you like reading, those should give you some solid sense of where to start. You can definitely also feel free to call our customer service folks. They actually do more discussing of flooring with people than taking of orders, and they would be glad to hear about your situation – the kinds of rooms you have, what you like, all of that – and give you as much or little advice as you’d like on what might work best for you.

      Thanks for reading and asking us, Jane. I hope this helps!

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