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Vinyl Buying Guide Floor Types

Having a better understanding of the definitions and terms associated with different types of vinyl flooring can help you when it's time for your flooring project. This section provides a handy guide of important terminology when it comes to vinyl flooring styles, construction and wear levels.

Vinyl Styles

Sheet Vinyl

Sheet vinyl is most commonly available in 6 to 12 ft. rolls and accounts for 85–90% of all vinyl flooring sales. Great for quickly covering large areas relatively seamlessly, these floors are very moisture–resistant when the seams are sealed with chemical bonding or heat welding. There are three types of sheet vinyl flooring:

  • Homogeneous: Sheet vinyl that is uniform in structure and composition throughout.
  • Inlaid: Particles of vinyl are stenciled onto a vinyl backing and heater with the wear layer, resulting in through and through coloring/patterning that will resist fading even after the wear layer is worn down.
  • Layered Composite Sheet Vinyl: The most common type of vinyl flooring, composite vinyl is made up of four layers. A backing layers of vinyl or felt, a liquid urethane (PVC) and filler layer over it, a decorative layer over that and finally a layer of clear vinyl.

Vinyl Tile

Vinyl tiles come in a multitude of colors and patterns. These tiles are much easier to repair than sheet vinyl as a tile or two can be popped out and replaced if damage occurs. Vinyl manufactured to look like wood is available in plank–shaped tiles. There are three types of vinyl tiles:

  • Solid Vinyl Tiles: These tiles are comprised of homogeneous vinyl.
  • Inlaid Vinyl Tiles: These tiles are made of inlaid vinyl.
  • Vinyl Composition Tiles: These tiles are constructed with composite vinyl.

Vinyl Construction

There are two types of vinyl flooring construction.

Rotogravure

Also called rotovinyl, this is when a pattern is printed directly onto the top layer of the vinyl flooring and then covered with a clear wear layer.

Inlaid

Vinyl chips or particles on a vinyl backing create durable flooring with colors/patterns that won't wear away.

Vinyl Wear Layers

The wear layer is the top layer of both vinyl sheets and vinyl tile. The wear layer gives the vinyl flooring its sheen as well as protects the flooring from stains, scuffing and moisture. There are three kinds of vinyl wear layers.

Vinyl no–wax

Stain resistant and easy to clean, a vinyl no–wax wear layer protects a vinyl floor's color and pattern. And, as you may have surmised, it never needs waxing.

Urethane (PVC)

Urethane is more durable, stain resistant and easier to clean than a no–wax layer. Urethane never needs polishing and it keeps your vinyl floor looking brand new longer.

Enhanced Urethane

The king of wear layers, an enhanced urethane wear layer outperforms both vinyl no–wax and urethane. It takes vinyl durability, stain and scuff resistance to a whole new level.

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