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Vinyl Flooring Buying Guide Basics

About Vinyl

Vinyl may bring to mind elementary school hallways, grocery stores and airports, but its use goes much more beyond that. This durable and affordable flooring has been a staple in homes across the country for over 60 years. Today, vinyl flooring can be constructed to resemble hardwood, stone or tile; enhancing the décor of any room in your home. It is available in sheet vinyl, tiles, or planks. Within each category of vinyl there are different wear layers, sealers and construction types to choose from. created this buying guide to help you wade through the sea of choices and choose the vinyl flooring that is perfect for your home and lifestyle.

Your Home Environment

Vinyl flooring, like cork and linoleum, falls into the family of resilient flooring. Basically, vinyl flooring will add a little spring to your step, and not just because it is such a beautiful and affordable flooring material. Vinyl is flexible, and this resiliency makes this type of flooring more comfortable to walk and stand on.

Foot Traffic

Vinyl flooring can handle heavy foot traffic. Just consider the places one typically sees vinyl flooring: airports, grocery stores, hospitals. Residential vinyl is able to stand up to heavier foot traffic than many other types of flooring. All vinyl has a wear layer, the top layer of the vinyl, and a home with heavy foot traffic should choose a wear level that is appropriate.

Recommendation: For the high traffic areas of your home, vinyl will hold up like a champ.


Vinyl flooring that is exposed to direct sunlight can fade or change color over time. Utilize your professional flooring installer's knowledge by describing the rooms in which you want to install vinyl and ask him for his recommendation on how to handle the sunnier areas of your home.

Recommendation: Make sure your windows have coverings such as curtains or shutters and keep them closed on sunny days. This will reduce fading on vinyl flooring.

Room–by–Room Practicality

Versatile vinyl can work throughout your home. Vinyl's resiliency, water–resistance and easy to clean nature make it an all–around good choice.


Vinyl is the most popular type of kitchen flooring; it is tailor made for kitchens. It is durable, moisture–resistant, easy to clean and comfortable to stand on. Hours spent slaving over Thanksgiving dinner will no longer result in sore feet, achy joints and not to mention a messy, hard to clean floor.


The same features that make vinyl such an awesome choice in kitchen flooring apply to the bathroom as well. Vinyl flooring also allows water to be clean up with incredible ease with no concern of damage to the floor.

Living Room

Vinyl can be made to resemble other types of flooring such as stone and hardwood, making it an affordable way to achieve an elegant living room décor.


Vinyl's natural resiliency can be a plus for your bedroom. A comfortable floor in the room in which you're frequently barefoot in is an advantage that cannot be overlooked. Vinyl's versatility can be used to create a cozy room, such as with "wood" plank vinyl. Vinyl is also good for allergy sufferers.

Other rooms

Vinyl's ability to stand up to almost anything makes it a great choice for places like laundry rooms, utility rooms and entryways.

Lifestyle Elements

It is important to consider your lifestyle and any special needs you may have when beginning a new flooring project.


Pet owners sing the praises of vinyl flooring. Its moisture–resistance and durability stand up exceptionally well to pet traffic.

Recommendation: If you have a larger pet install vinyl flooring with a good wear layer, such as urethane (PVC), to prevent stains and excess wear and tear.


Vinyl's toughness and resiliency make it a great flooring choice for homes with children. Vinyl will stand up to the playfulness of children. Should your child take an unexpected fall down, vinyl provides a softer landing then other floors such as tile and stone.

Recommendation: A good wear layer will protect your vinyl floors from any scuffing and staining caused by child's play.

Noise Insulation

Vinyl's natural buoyancy masks the sound of foot traffic. Noise reduction can be achieved with a quality underlayment.

Recommendation: Installing an underlayment will add to the noise insulation your vinyl floor can provide.

Special Mobility Needs

Vinyl's relatively smooth surface and its cushioning properties make it a good choice for homes with special mobility needs.

Recommendation: Install vinyl with a good quality wear layer to prevent possible scuffing from canes, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.

Basic Care

When planning to install any new type of flooring, it is important to know how to maintain it. Keep your vinyl looking clean and new with the following tips.


  • DO sweep vinyl floors regularly to remove dirt and debris.
  • DO mop when needed with water and a cleaning solution recommended for your vinyl flooring.
  • DO wipe up spills as soon as possible with a damp cloth.


  • DON'T use floor mats that have a rubber backing. The backing can alter the color and damage your vinyl floor.
  • DON'T drag or roll heavy objects across your vinyl floor.
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