The Versatility and Strength of Vinyl Flooring Gains in PopularityTable of Contents [show]
It’s been around for nearly a century, is used in dozens of industries and is one of the largest selling plastics in the world. The “it” is vinyl.
In spite of its impressive performance in a variety of applications, vinyl flooring may still be underestimated – especially when it comes to residential flooring.
However, one need only look at the composition of vinyl flooring to appreciate how much of an effective and efficient option it is. Here’s a glance at how vinyl is made, to create a beautiful yet functional base in homes around the globe.
What Is Vinyl Flooring?Vinyl is a truly versatile material, and can be found just about everywhere – sometimes in places you’d least expect.
While some of its more well-known appearances have been with music records, shoes, plastic wrap and shower curtains, it also plays a crucial role in hospitals, where vinyl resin is used in medical equipment such as IV bags and tubing.
Its fire-resistant quality makes for effective electrical-wire insulation. While, its ability to present in hard and soft forms is why it is used for packaging.
The Versatility of Vinyl FlooringVinyl has hundreds of different applications, according to the Vinyl Institute, which explains how vinyl’s physicality can be rigid or flexible; thick or thin; weather, heat and impact resistant; and virtually any colour.
It’s this degree of versatility that allows it to be manipulated in so many ways.
These characteristics also make vinyl a sought-after material for home construction and renovations projects, including siding and wallcovering. Flooring is likely its most notable residential use, and is a perfect choice for homeowners looking for a durable, low-maintenance and attractive material at a reasonable price.
Vinyl’s water-resistant (and in some forms, 100 percent waterproof) feature is a selling point for those in need of bathroom, laundry room and kitchen flooring. Vinyl has definitely come a long way in the style department with its endless colours and patterns, which means it can be matched to any décor.
Core and Design – The Inner Layers of Vinyl FlooringVinyl flooring is made up of several layers, all of which have an important part to play in the performance and appearance of the overall product.
The first layer is the core of the flooring, and consists of a plastic layer on top of a felt or fiberglass backing. The next layer is where style takes the stage.
With printed vinyl, designs and colours are transferred with a printing process that uses a rotary press, called rotogravure. Patterns are printed directly onto the surface of a vinyl sheet, and can be made to realistically imitate more high-end substances such as hardwood, marble or stone.
Rotogravure is the most commonly used method for residential vinyl flooring due to its impressive visual appeal and cost effectiveness.
On the other hand, colours and patterns become a part of the material with inlaid vinyl, as a colour pattern is injected directly into a vinyl sheet. This process may make the flooring look newer longer, but is more limited in the patterns it can produce.
Wear It Out – The Final Layer of Vinyl FlooringThe third and final layer is what gives vinyl flooring its reputation for being strong and durable. The wear layer is the clear top surface of the flooring, and is what offers protection against scuffs, scratches, stains, dents and moisture.
While the thickness of the wear layer will vary between products and manufacturers, the thicker it is the more resilient the floor will be.
It also helps in the cleaning department, making the floor easy to sweep or mop, and abolishing the need for waxes and polishes. For an extra touch to visual appeal; colour or coloured vinyl chips can be added to the layer’s coating for even more detail.
Three of the most common coatings are vinyl no-wax, urethane and enhanced urethane, all of which have their own unique advantages. A no-wax finish is a low-maintenance option that holds its shine. It is also quite cost effective, and stain resistant.
Urethane is also easy to keep clean and shiny, but offers better protection against scratches and stains. Spending a bit more money now will help ensure your floor preserves its new look.
Enhanced urethane is the strongest of the three finishes, and will pass the test of time by holding up against heavy and frequent footfall, as well as household damage.
Shapes and Forms of Vinyl FlooringWhile the manufacturing process for residential vinyl flooring may differ slightly between makers and products, the form the material comes in will also affect how it’s made.
Sheet vinyl flooring is available in large rolls that are laid out and cut to fit a floor, and it can be made with the addition of felt or fibreglass backing for added strength and comfort. While felt-backed is the most common to see in a home, a fibreglass backing is stronger and more stable.
Vinyl flooring can also be made in tiles with adhesive backings, as well as planks, which are pressed together at installation to create the look and feel of a real hardwood floor.
Final ThoughtsThe production of vinyl flooring has come a long way with innovations in design and structure, making it an appealing choice for homeowners.
Never before has it been made so stable, durable and attractive. There’s no wonder it continues to be relied upon for some of the most active areas of a house. Its layered composition gives it the strength to stand up against competing flooring types, as well as a shiny newness that can last years to come.
About Shawn Farina — Flooring Expert at Diverse FlooringShawn Farina operates Diverse Flooring, a family-run business in Maple Ridge, with his younger brother, Todd. He has been in the flooring industry for 18 years. Shawn is passionate about design and feels flooring has been a great avenue to help others make the best decisions for their homes.
“Flooring is something we all will at one time or another have to purchase. It’s really satisfying feeling to see when a client is truly happy with their choice in both the new flooring and our company.” – Shawn Farina