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How to Buy the Best Vinyl Flooring

How to Buy the Best Vinyl Flooring

What do you think of when you hear the words, “vinyl floor?” Do you automatically picture Grandma’s flowered linoleum kitchen floor? Well get that image out of your head because vinyl floors have officially made a comeback!

With newer technologies and designs, vinyl is a popular flooring choice for smart homeowners who want a beautiful, durable floor at an affordable price. But before we take a deep dive into everything vinyl, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing.

What’s the difference between vinyl, linoleum, and luxury vinyl (LVT) flooring?

Many people get these three flooring options confused. Here’s info to help you understand the difference between them:

Vinyl:

Made by forming vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) into sheets. Waterproof and fire-resistant, vinyl is durable, low maintenance, and inexpensive.

Linoleum:

Made with materials like linoxyn (solidified linseed oil extracted from flax seeds) and mixed with tree resins, wood flour, and cork dust.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT):

Made up of several layers, including PVC vinyl, LVT is flexible, can replicate the look of stone or wood, and has a clear top layer to protect it from daily wear.

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Why are vinyl floors popular?

Vinyl has its own special set of features and benefits and comes in various designs, patterns, colors and styles. There’s even a “luxury” segment of vinyl flooring that has added texture to further replicate hardwood, stone, or ceramic tile. This floor looks and feels so real it’s hard to believe it’s not.

How do I choose a vinyl floor that’s right for me?

There are three ways to buy vinyl flooring: in planks, tiles or sheets. Each has its own advantages based on the size of the room, amount of foot traffic, and budget.

Planks:

Vinyl planks come in strips, have a hard, durable top layer, and are backed with flexible material to make the floor softer and more comfortable to walk on. Planks are cut in a similar size and shape as hardwood, so they look incredibly realistic.

Tiles:

Vinyl tile offers the most versatility in configuration. They can be installed on a diagonal, in a checkerboard pattern, or mixed and matched to suit your style.

Sheets:

Sheet vinyl comes in large pieces, so there will be few (if any) seams, which makes it great for high-moisture areas.

How are vinyl floors made?

Vinyl flooring consists of several layers. The bottom layer is a flexible material that provides added comfort while walking or standing. The patterned layer has the printed design. The wear layer adds durability, and a top layer helps protect the floor from scratches and makes it easy to clean.

How durable is a vinyl floor?

The wear layer contains a sealant that strengthens the floor and comes in three thicknesses, or grades. Grade one is the thickest option for high traffic areas, grade two is a medium durability, and grade three is the least durable, for rooms with minimal foot traffic, like a bedroom.

What is the best vinyl floor for my house?

Choose the vinyl floor that best suits the room. For example, a kitchen gets a lot of daily traffic and water usage. In this case, a more durable grade vinyl floor makes the most sense. On the other hand, a bedroom doesn’t get much foot traffic at all, so a less durable floor will do just fine.

What is luxury vinyl flooring?

Luxury vinyl tiles and planks are made to look as authentic as possible, whether they copy a hardwood pattern, natural stone design or ceramic style. Designated as “luxury” because this flooring has natural colors, realistic prints, surface texture, and can be installed with grout (if preferred).

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What style vinyl floor should I buy?

With such a wide-range of sizes, colors, patterns and textures, it may be difficult to choose.

Hardwood:

For a floor that mimics real hardwood in appearance and texture, and is more durable than some hardwoods, luxury vinyl planks look so real you’ll do a double-take.

Stone:

It looks like natural stone but feels warm and comfortable underfoot. Luxury vinyl tiles replicate the qualities of authentic stone and can be installed with or without grout.

Ceramic:

Get a floor with the sophisticated look of ceramic and the low maintenance of vinyl. Beautiful and luxurious at a lower cost.

Decorative:

Is your style funky, modern or retro? Choose from geometric patterns or unique tile designs to create your own unique look.

Are vinyl floors comfortable to stand on?

Yes. The cushioned backing provides added comfort, making vinyl floors perfect for home cooks who stand for long periods of time chopping, slicing and dicing to their heart’s content.

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Why should I hire a professional floor installer?

If you watch DIY home improvement shows, you might consider installing a new vinyl floor on your own. After all, they make it look so easy on TV. Sure, you’ll save a little money doing it yourself... but at what cost? Your time? Your sanity? Remember, professional floor installers do their jobs full-time, and can do it better than you, and in less time.

For more information, check out our vinyl page to find out what type of vinyl flooring is right for you. To see samples in person, come in to one of our showrooms or schedule a home visit from our Mobile Floor Source.

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