In the 1960s when vinyl hit the flooring market, it almost displaced other floors types. Many years later, the same thing is happening, with the floor being one of the most installed. Statistics indicate that the popularity of this flooring is experiencing an upsurge, especially after the introduction of Luxury Vinyl Plank. This variety of vinyl flooring offers more realistic replicas, making it a favorite with many homeowners. If you had set your eyes on purchasing vinyl plank flooring, you’re on the right track, more so for choosing to read this review. Because here, we will look into every detail of this floor. Read on for more information concerning the benefits of vinyl flooring, the downsides, its installation process, and how to select the most appropriate type.
- 1 Vinyl plank flooring pros
- 2 Vinyl plank flooring cons
- 3 How to buy quality vinyl planks
- 4 Vinyl flooring brands reviews
- 5 Budgeting for your vinyl plank flooring installation
- 6 Vinyl plank flooring vs. Laminate flooring
- 7 Final words
To start us off, a look at the many benefits of vinyl floors.
Vinyl plank flooring pros
Cleaning vinyl plank flooring is a breeze. It takes less time and doesn’t require any skills. Sweeping it daily does the trick, while regular damp-mopping keeps it free from dirt and germs. You may use cleaners on it, but avoid the harsh types at all costs.
Important Tip: Wipe spills as soon as they happen. A piece of cloth is enough before cleaning the affected surface with a mild cleaner. If damage on your vinyl flooring is irreparable, you can easily fix the problem by replacing the ruined piece.
Vinyl floors can be used in any area of your home, including the places that are moisture-prone. The product is water-resistant and suitable for installation in damp places such as the kitchen, bathroom or even the basement. While vinyl flooring handles moisture well, it’s always a good idea to take some extra precaution. Have a moisture barrier underneath vinyl planks that do not have an attached barrier. If you install flooring of lower quality, use a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels low. This way, you’re sure that your vinyl floor will remain in top condition for long.
The comfort of walking or standing on vinyl is exceptional. The floor has a “give” that provides a cushiony feel. This makes it suitable for places such as the kitchen where you spend long hours standing. The flooring is also suitable if you have children in your home. You don’t want them to get hurt when they bump their bodies against the floor, and vinyl flooring is soft enough to ensure their safety.
Wide range of styles
The designs, colors, and styles available for vinyl plank flooring are almost limitless. You can have exotic hardwood, stone or even marble replicas. What’s more, the replicas will be almost identical to the real one. It would take a keen eye to realize your hardwood look-alike vinyl floor isn’t solid wood. If you want to use this flooring instead, check out my hardwood flooring review.
Vinyl flooring exists in a wide range of formats and textures to choose from. There’s the tile vinyl, the large sheets, and the standard plank. Textures include the hand-scraped, distressed, and wire-brushed.
Important Tip: Always feel the floors before buying to ensure the texture is one you can put up with.
You may also want to test the various color options available before settling for a particular one. This will ensure that your choice matches perfectly with the theme of your home. Ask for samples to take home and see how they rhyme with the surrounding. It’s the best approach to avoid regrets after installation.
Your vinyl plank flooring will last for years even when exposed to constant beatings. This floor resists most of the scratches and gouges other floors types are susceptible to. It doesn’t chip as a result of hard objects falling on it, and dents easily clear over time. The only things to avoid would be sharp objects; they can easily pierce your vinyl floor to damage it irreparably. Another advantage of vinyl flooring is that damage to its surface is usually less visible. The homogeneous color of the floor helps to hide scratches. If you have children in your home or even pets, vinyl would make an excellent floor covering. You won’t have to worry about them ruining the floor.
Vinyl plank flooring offers a low-cost option for residential as well as commercial applications. At a considerably low price, you get a quality replica of expensive floors such as hardwood, stone, marble, and more. It makes an excellent alternative, especially when covering large areas.
LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) sells at between $3-$7 a square foot. You can also get other types of vinyl floors for a lower price, but the available styles and colors diminish as prices go down. When buying your vinyl flooring, it’s advisable that you scout around for offers. Doing so ensures you get a quality product without harming your finances.
This resilient flooring provides insulation for both heat and sound. It remains warm all throughout, even in the extreme temperatures of winter. With this flooring, you won’t need to avoid walking barefoot on it. The warmth is desirable, especially if you have children or seniors in your home. Should you require more warmth, you can use radiant heating systems underneath this floor. Only be sure to check with the manufacturer first, as different varieties and brands go with particular heating systems. Done the right way, radiant hearing makes your vinyl flooring even cosier.
Easy to install
Vinyl plank flooring is one of the easiest to install. You don’t need to be a professional installer or even have prior experience for you to carry out the installation. You will mostly use the glue-down method for sheet and tile vinyl. For the plank type of vinyl flooring, the click-lock method usually applies.
The installation method that’s suitable for your project depends on several factors. For areas that are high-traffic, the glue-down method is better since it results in a stable floor that can withstand pressure. If yours is a light-traffic area, you may consider the click-lock method which is easier to work with.
Your budget will also determine what method to go for. A floating floor installed by use of the click-lock method is cheaper to install. Vinyl sheets and tiles are more difficult to install and may require you to hire a professional installer which raises the costs involved.
Important Tip: When choosing the method to use, make sure you read the manufacturer’s installation guidelines. Going against the guidelines may render the flooring’s warranty unusable. It may also result in an unstable floor that breaks down sooner than expected.
Vinyl plank flooring cons
Not useful in raising home value
Unfortunately, vinyl plank flooring won’t raise the amount you sell your home for. Even if it did, the figure would be too small to be of any effect. Yes, people love vinyl flooring, but they don’t take it to be a valuable investment. The only way vinyl would be of help when selling your home would be to make it saleable. If the original floor is severely damaged, you could take advantage of the low-cost nature of vinyl to make renovations. At a fraction of what other floor types would cost, you will have a new floor covering that makes your home attract buyers. Plus, any buyer conversant with the benefits of this flooring would be more than willing to purchase your vinyl floored home.
Requires thorough subfloor preparation
Vinyl plank flooring is extremely sensitive to subfloor imperfections. Any raised spots, dips, moisture, and more can cause problems later. It may take a lot of time and labor to prepare the substrate for a vinyl flooring, but it’s with it.
So, ensure a uniformly level and moisture-free subfloor before you begin the installation process. Remove all dust and debris, especially when using the glue-down method. If installing the floor on concrete, ensure the vinyl comes with an attached vapor barrier. If it doesn’t, buy one and lay it before installing the vinyl flooring. Despite vinyl being resistant to water, you may want extra assurance by protecting it from moisture. Besides, concrete is known for being a substrate that subjects this flooring to excessive amounts of moisture.
Some areas of a room can be a headache to cover when installing vinyl flooring. They include corners and doorways. If you’re not skilled in the installation of this floor type, you may end up wasting a lot of materials as a result of wrong measurements. You may also end up with a floor that’s far from perfect. To avoid this problem, you can opt to hire a qualified installer. This is especially if you’re installing a floor for the first time, or if installation involves the glue-down method. The click-lock flooring may be easy for you to install. However, you may also consider hiring an expert for better results.
Not accessible by walking aids
Vinyl plank flooring is not ideal for wheelchairs or walkers. The floating type is often unstable, and a wheelchair would cause the floor to move position. Or, the boards may break when the wheels roll over them. Planks may also give way and cause the wheelchair wheels to get caught in the gaps, which could cause problems for the wheelchair and damage to the floor.
That doesn’t mean doing away with vinyl flooring, though. If a family member makes use of movement aiding devices, you can opt for sheet vinyl flooring that’s larger and more stable. The glue used to secure the sheets also makes this type of flooring not prone to shifting under pressure.
Cannot be refinished
Unlike hardwood or bamboo flooring, you cannot sand down a worn out vinyl floor. If its surface happens to fade away or gets damaged in any way, your options are limited. You can only replace it.
On the other hand, this may not be a significant disadvantage. Vinyl plank flooring costs much less and replacing it won’t hit you hard financially. Besides, you may not need to install a new floor anytime soon if you care for it well. Also, it’s possible to replace only the individual pieces that look damaged.
Can emit toxins
Vinyl flooring contains harmful VOCs. Modern manufacturing and government regulatory rules have led to the manufacture of vinyl flooring products with lowers levels of the chemicals. However, the risk still exists.
It makes this type of flooring unsuitable if you have an allergic condition that could be triggered by VOCs. If you’re still determined to cover your home with vinyl flooring, look for companies that manufacture low VOC floors. Ensure solid proof of this. Demanding for documents from manufacturers that show the levels of volatile chemicals in their products.
You may also visit the EPA website. It contains information on flooring brands and their adherence to responsible manufacturing. The website is a resource you can trust. Consult it before committing to purchase the particular flooring you’re interested in.
Vinyl won’t decompose, and recycling it isn’t a feasible option either. At the end of its life, it will likely remain in a landfill for years. This is one of the main disadvantages of this type of flooring. However, some manufacturers today use recycled fillers in making vinyl planks. These floors may provide for more environmentally-friendly products. The only problem is, they’re low-quality and get damaged easily.
There are brands, though, that make vinyl flooring that’s both safe to the environment and quality. These are the companies you will find in the brand reviews section of this guide. The companies have documents from regulatory bodies to show their products are manufactured responsibly.
Prone to fading
Exposed to direct sun for long, vinyl plank flooring will gradually lose its color. If you’ve sunlight penetrating your home, this type of flooring may not be a good choice. It would fade and look old.
If you don’t want to change the design of your home, you could try to cover the entry points of the direct sun. If it’s the windows, cover them with blinds or curtains to block sunlight.
How to buy quality vinyl planks
When buying your vinyl flooring, you’re presented with many options. This floor exists in a wide range of types regarding style and design. The question is, how do you sift through the choices to find the best flooring? Here are the things to consider.
Every vinyl flooring comes with a wear layer, but not all layers are equal in thickness. Quality floors feature a thicker layer for increased durability. This is usually indicated in mil, as opposed to mm used for a floor’s entire thickness. Choose brands with a higher figure for mil. A wear layer of 20mil or more is ideal for heavy traffic areas, while 12mil or more suits low foot traffic areas.
You want a floor that will be safe for both you and your family. Vinyl flooring brands that are safe health wise are also quality, having come from responsible manufacturers. Look out for safety labels on the floor’s packaging, and only buy products that are certified by FloorScore. Also, buy floors that are CARB2 compliant. Such products will not only be quality and safe for your home, but will also be environmentally friendly.
Floors indicated as having ” diamond hardened”, or ” titanium” coats are bound to be high quality. They will resist wear better and are long-lasting. By looks, the coat should appear as a hardened and clear layer.
The length of time covered by the warranty is important. A company that does not believe in the quality of its products will often offer Shorter warranties. Look for a guarantee that covers at least ten years for surface wear.
Vinyl flooring brands reviews
You’re now conversant with what to look for when buying vinyl flooring. Let’s now look at some of the brands you can consider. These brands are the ones that are preferred by most homeowners.
Mannington Adura Max
This line exists as either planks or tiles. It’s an eco-friendly vinyl floor, and comes from a company known for safe manufacturing practices. Having it grace your home won’t subject you to allergies. The Adura Max floor is also comfortable, featuring a foam backing that improves its bounce. It also adequately absorbs noise to give you a silent floor for a tranquil home. Prices per square foot range from $3-$4.
Mannington is a leading maker of vinyl flooring. The company has been in the business for more than a decade, supplying homeowners with quality flooring products. Its Adura Max line of flooring enjoys reviews that are mostly favorable.
This vinyl plank flooring is popular with many homeowners, and customer reviews concerning it are favorable. It comes in a wide range of styles, designs and sizes. If looking for a flooring to cover high foot traffic places, the Plus line should be one of your top considerations. It comes with a wear layer of 20 mil, which is adequate for such places..
Expect to pay between $4-$7 a square foot. Despite the high prices, the floor’s overall installation costs are not high. This is because it comes in an easy-to-install click-lock system. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to settle for a low-end floor, the Plus line would be a suitable choice.
Mohawk is one of the most trusted brands, and SolidTech one of its best lines of vinyl flooring. The floor is available in various tones and designs. You’re sure to find your choice color and style.
SolidTech floors can resist staining and moisture. The only downside is in its wear layer quality. It’s a 12mil, which makes it unsuitable for places with high foot traffic. However, it would suit less frequented floors without any problem. The price per square foot of this floor is not high. It retails at &3. The product also comes with a warranty.
Floors in this line are quality and can be installed in virtually any area of your home. They come with a 20ml wear layer and are water and scratch-resistant. Prices per square foot of the floor lie between a low of $3 to a high of $4. This line also offers one of the widest choices. With over 100 styles and floor sizes, the options available are overwhelmingly varied. What’s more, the floors come in three methods of installation. There’s the glue-down, click-lock, and the loose-lay options.
Planks in the Korlock line are large, measuring up to 9 inches in width. The floor is resistant to water as well as scratches, which makes it a quality flooring for your home. With a 20ml wear layer, you can be sure the flooring will last for years. The Korlock flooring features a click-lock design, which makes it easy to install. Prices range from $4-$5. On top of this, it comes with a warranty that covers 20 years. Karndean is a household name when it comes to flooring, and their products are popular with many homeowners.
This floor comes in a stunning 49 different colors and tones to choose from. With this variety, it’s unlikely that you will lack a color you like. It also features five different styles. Planks in this line are not only waterproof but also resist scratch better. The wear layer ranges from 30 to 40mil. Prices range between $3-$5 a square foot. Given the quality of the wear layer it comes with, the prices are quite fair. Installing the Modin line of floors is pretty simple; they feature a click-lock design. However, you will only be able to purchase this floor online through the company’s website.
The Floorte line of vinyl flooring exists in three types, with Largo being the highest. This floor comes in planks that are water-resistant. The planks are also resistant to scratches, with a 20 mil wear layer. It means you can install it in areas that experience high traffic and it will still perform excellently. The quality of Largo floors is evidenced by the reviews it has received so far. They’re mostly positive, which shows excellent customer satisfaction. The floor comes in planks of different length which can be used to create stunning patterns.
This floor comes in 20 different tones to choose from, which is quite a variety. The planks in this line are made to absorb noise better for a silent floor. They’re also made to resist scratches and damp conditions. Prices for the Armstrong Pryzm flooring range from $4-$7 a square foot, which is fair considering the excellent features the planks come with. The floor is a click-lock, and won’t cost you a lot to install.
Budgeting for your vinyl plank flooring installation
Once you have chosen your vinyl flooring style and brand, it’s now time to discuss its installation. Installation costs involve various parts, from preparing the subfloor to laying the actual floor. The costs include;
If you’re replacing an existing floor, you would need to remove it first before installing your vinyl flooring. The old floor must be stored somewhere to allow space for the new installation. Unless you have enough space to store it, you may have to rent one. This may require you to budget for at least $100 to rent the storage.
Trim and molding
These pieces are a necessity, despite their being costly. It’s difficult to indicate the exact number of pieces you will need, or the exact amount they will cost you. On average, add about $200-$300 to your project’s cost to cater for trim and moulding pieces.
Vinyl is water-resistant, but adding a moisture barrier beneath it as a precautionary measure won’t hurt. Besides, not all vinyl floors come with a backing meant to prevent the seeping of moisture into the seams. A vapor barrier will cost you between $0.3 to $0.5 a square foot.
If you plan to install the vinyl plank flooring yourself, you will need to budget for the following; a multi-tool, a hammer or mallet, an L-square, knee pads, a utility knife, a small roller or tapping block, and a moisture measuring tool.
Tips to minimize flooring costs
To minimize the costs of your vinyl flooring project, do the following:
- Start early and scout for free offers that companies give out from time to time. Keep the floors you get from these promotions in readiness for your vinyl flooring installation.
- Grab the discounts or coupons appearing on the websites of flooring companies.
- Shop at a time when you’re likely to get discounts, such as at the end of the year or during clearance sales.
- Determine the traffic of your home and buy a floor that’s suitable for the traffic level
Installing your vinyl flooding
We are now ready, complete with our vinyl flooring, the subfloor prepared, and the necessary tools on standby. Let’s now move on to the final part of the project; installation.
Methods to install vinyl flooring
- Glue Down Method – This method is suitable for sheet and tile vinyl. It involves the use of adhesives to stick the boards to the subfloor. The glue is applied to the back of the flooring.
- Peel and Stick Method – This method is used for vinyl flooring that comes with its adhesive. You peel back the adhesive back then attack the board to the subfloor
- Loose Lay Method – This method does not use glue or nails. Instead, the vinyl flooring makes use of the friction that exists between it and the subfloor to stay in place.
- Click-Lock Method – This is the most popular installation method for vinyl plank flooring. It’s also, by far, the easiest. The method involves the use of interlocking pieces. You only need to snap the planks together, without the use of any adhesive or nails.
Tips when installing vinyl flooring
|For floating floor installation||For glue-down installation|
|- Have with you extra flooring to replace the pieces you cut off during installation|
- Lay out the boards before clicking them together and make the necessary adjustments
- Work in rows and along the length of the room
- During installation, leave room for the floor's expansion to prevent buckling
- Gently tap raised boards with a rubber mallet to make them lie completely flat
- Don't throw away the planks that remain after installation; you will need them later to replace damaged pieces
|- Start the installation by marking a grid on the subfloor using chalk. The grid will act as a guide to aid in laying the floor pieces|
- Spread glue on the tiles starting from the center
- Work in rows, pressing the vinyl tiles into place
- Use a roller once through to press the seams flat
- After the installation work is finished, check to ensure the tiles are correctly fitted. For adjustments, lift the affected tiles using a trowel and fix the imperfection
- Ensure three hours are over before walking on the floor. This is to allow the glue to set
- Always use quality glue to install your vinyl flooring
Hiring a professional vs. doing it yourself
For your vinyl plank flooring project, you may opt for a DIY route or hire a professional installer. Unless you’re working on a tight budget, having an expert install the flooring for you is better. The finished work is unlikely to have imperfections, and you will be assured of the floor’s durability.
Installation costs range from $30 to 50 an hour. The price may vary outside of this range depending on the location or the amount of work involved. Get several quotes and compare prices before settling for any installer.
For a more reliable installation expert, ask from friends or relatives for referrals. Or, you may ask your flooring supplier for an installer they can recommend. Sometimes, the supplier may even be providing installation services. Before signing any installation contract, confirm that the installer is licensed to carry out such work. Ensure, too, that they’re insured. You may ask for proof of past work from them. Evidence could be in the form or photos or referrals.
When shopping for your vinyl flooring, ask to know more about the variety you select. Request to be shown the necessary documentation to confirm that the floor is safe for your health. During installation, ensure you have all the required materials. Above all, ensure you have extra flooring to cater for the wasted pieces and to act as replacements.
Vinyl plank flooring vs. Laminate flooring
Here are the main differences between vinyl planks and laminate flooring:
|Vinyl plank flooring||Laminate flooring|
|Material||100% plastic||90%+ wood|
|Durability||Minimum 20 years||Minimum 25 years|
|Walking on||Harder surface||More comfortable|
|Noise||Quieter - sound absolving||More noisy|
|Moisture||Highly resistant||Not resistant|
|DIY||Good (interlock system on LVP)||Best for DIY (click-and-lock system)|
|Resale value||No added resell value||Slightly more appreciated than vinyl|
Vinyl plank flooring is an affordable option that comes with great features. It’s versatile, stylish, easy to install, and comfortable to walk on. If you’re thinking of installing it, you can go right ahead and do it. Only ensure the vinyl flooring you buy is certified as safe for home flooring.
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