Let’s hear it for Vinyl Flooring
At Royal Scot Carpet & Flooring we love all our floors, that’s why we sell these products. We know that no two customers are the same; this could mean they need flooring for personal or business use or it could be in terms of rooms they want to change. Our flooring ranges are of an excellent quality and we pride ourselves on our customer service. So why were talking about Vinyl flooring? Vinyl floors are a popular option among homeowners, particularly in kitchen and bathroom applications. A synthetic cousin of linoleum, vinyl flooring is water-and stain-resistant, versatile, and provides good durability for the cost. Thanks to advances in the technology over the last few years today’s vinyl floors are attractive and economical.
There are two types of vinyl flooring: sheet flooring, in which the flooring material is laid down in sheets 6 or 12 feet wide, and tile flooring, which uses tiles of 9″x9″ or 12″x12″.
At Royal Scot Carpet & Flooring we usually use the sheet variety because sheet flooring is more water resistant and is easier to install, both tile and sheet replicate the look of a ceramic tile or wood flooring at a more affordable cost.
Vinyl tiles are still (for the most part) being used in commercial settings where there is heavy traffic and a need to keep the place squeaky clean! These could be used in a household environment typically where high moisture levels are expected. Vinyl tiles could also be used to replace higher maintenance flooring like carpet or hardwood.
How is it made?
Vinyl flooring is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), with a few other bits thrown in that will alter the material’s characteristics such as colour, flexibility, hardness and sheen.
The main objective to creating vinyl is to produce a simple sheet. To do this, manufacturers suspend the vinyl in a liquid, creating a mixture that can be spread into a thin layer by a rolling process. From here this plastisol, or liquid plastic, coat is dried with heat and air that fuses the material into a tough, durable sheet.
The Sheets are then cut into the appropriate size for sheets or for squares.
To produce the variation of design that vinyl flooring is noted for, manufacturers turn to modern printing technology and a layered, varied construction. In layered construction, flooring makers typically create a foam plastisol layer that’s about 25 mils thick.
To support this vinyl core, it’s bonded to a 25-mil felt backing that’s made from fibrous components used in the papermaking industry, limestone and clay, all held together with a plastic binder. Next, the decorative pattern is printed on a very thin vinyl coating that covers the core layer. Of course, without some protection, this thin printed layer would soon disappear through normal abrasion. To solve the problem, manufacturers add a top vinyl layer that’s about 10 mm thick. When dry, this layer of clear PVC, called the wear layer, protects the printed pattern and also provides a relatively maintenance-free surface that doesn’t require waxing.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vinyl Floors
Vinyl flooring is durable and stands up well to heavy foot traffic. It is comfortable under foot and reduces noise, which can be important for owners with kids or pets. It is also less expensive than many other flooring options and is easy to install and maintain. Vinyl flooring comes in a broad range of colours and patterns to match every decor, including a variety of lifelike wood grains.
On the other hand, vinyl floors do not stand up well to heavy loads and can be damaged by sharp objects. Also, colours can fade with exposure to too much direct sunlight and floors can be damaged by extreme temperatures. For that reason, vinyl is not recommended for outdoor or indoor/outdoor uses.
What to About Installation
The key to successful installation of vinyl flooring lies beneath the flooring itself. Vinyl tiles require an extremely smooth surface, because any flaws and imperfections will show through as bumps and indentations in your floor. Usually the best subfloor is a layer of well-sanded plywood.
Most manufacturers do not recommend laying new vinyl over more than one layer of existing vinyl, and in fact will not guarantee the flooring if there is more than one layer of vinyl beneath. Another problem with laying over existing vinyl is that if the lower layer is patterned, the texture will eventually show through your top layer.
Vinyl flooring can be laid on top of concrete, but again, uniformity and smoothness can be a problem. Also, a plywood layer will give you a better feel under foot.
Some manufacturers offer do-it-yourself installation kits, but many homeowners choose to use a contractor in order to achieve a smooth, professional look.