There are several different vinyl floor types, wear layers, and decorative
processes to choose from. These vinyl flooring factors – along with the way the floor is constructed – will have
a direct affect
on your vinyl floor's appearance, durability and ease of maintenance. Knowing the types of vinyl flooring and the options you
have when selecting a new floor, will help you decide whicy type of vinyl flooring is best for you. With the constant
evolution of vinyl flooring, you now have choices beyond sheet and tile vinyl flooring. Now, you can get vinyl plank flooring
that simulates hardwood and bamboo floors, without the constant maintenance of cleaning up.
Featured Vinyl Flooring Products
Vinyl Flooring Types
Vinyl flooring comes in sheets, tiles or planks. The type of flooring that's best for you will depend in part on how you
want your floor installed.
Sheet vinyl is the most popular type of vinyl flooring. It is generally available in 6 to 12–foot rolls. This type
of floor is great for quickly covering large areas without having a lot of seams where dirt and
moisture can gather. Seamless surfaces are actually very moisture–resistant. If your flooring project requires multiple
sheets of vinyl, seams can be sealed with chemical bonding or heat welding.
The size of sheet vinyl can make it difficult to handle, so sheet flooring installation is typically done by a
professional flooring installer. Sheet vinyl comprises 85–90% of vinyl flooring sales.
Vinyl Tiles or Planks
Vinyl tiles or planks may take longer to install than sheet vinyl, but their size and ease of handling make them the
preferred choice for do–it–yourself projects. Vinyl tiles are typically 1–foot squares, while planks are
made to resemble wood and can measure 3 inches by 36 inches or longer. Both tiles and planks are available in a variety of
colors and patterns that allow for plenty of creativity when it comes to appearance. They are also easier to replace than
sheet vinyl floors. If you're installing vinyl floor tiles or planks yourself, be sure to follow the manufacturer's
directions on cleaning and sealing your new floor.
Vinyl Flooring Construction
Vinyl flooring is created in one of the following ways:
- Homogenous or Solid: Homogenous (solid) vinyl is uniform in structure and composition throughout, with
no added backing.
- Inlaid: Inlaid vinyl is made by adding granules of vinyl to a vinyl backing and heating them with the
wear (surface) layer. This creates colors and patterns that will last even if the surface layer begins to wear down.
- Layered composite: Layered composite vinyl is the most common type of vinyl flooring. It consists of
four distinct layers. The backing (bottom) layer is vinyl, fiberglass or felt. This layer is covered with a core layer of
liquid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and filler, which is topped with a decorative layer and a wear layer of protective,
Vinyl Floor Patterns and Designs
The way patterns are applied to your floor is one of the key factors that determine both appearance and durability.
- Rotogravure: In this process, also called rotovinyl, a pattern is printed onto the vinyl floor's core
layer, with a clear wear layer added on top of that. A variety of designs and patterns are available, giving you a great deal
of options for your floor. Since the pattern is only printed on the core layer, however, the durability of the wear layer
will affect how long the floor maintains its original appearance.
- Inlaid: Vinyl granules or chips make up inlaid vinyl floors, creating a unique color and pattern. These
materials go all the way to the floor's backing layer, making this type of vinyl floor especially durable. True inlaid vinyl
floors come in 6–foot wide rolls only. If you find inlaid vinyl floors in 12–foot wide rolls, beware: some of the
color may actually be part of the wear layer.
Vinyl Flooring Wear Layers
The wear layer atop your vinyl floor dictates the longevity and amount of maintenance you'll have to put forth, so be sure
to know what to ask for.
- Vinyl no–wax: The least durable of the three, your floor will nonetheless resist scrapes, scuffs,
and some stains. It also sports a much smoother finish. Required maintenance includes regular washing and a good polishing
from time to time to restore shine.
- Urethane (PVC): Urethane surfaces will keep their "like new" appearance longer than most vinyl
no–wax surfaces, as well as resist stains, scrapes, scuffs, and heel marks. It has a more textured surface, which
sometimes simulates tile or stone patterns.
- Enhanced Urethane: This most durable of wear layers resists staining from many common household
elements. Since grime and dirt will not stick to this type of surface, the only maintenance needed is an occasional sweep or
mopping. Watch out for fading, which may occur if your vinyl floors are exposed to strong sunlight.