Today's active households need flooring that's durable, low-maintenance and attractive. Traditionally favoured in kitchens and laundry rooms, vinyl flooring now comes in a variety of patterns and styles. With so many choices, it's the perfect choice for almost any room.
Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl plank flooring is an innovative type of vinyl that looks and feels like real wood. It is also waterproof, so it can be installed in moisture-prone areas that are normally "off limits" to hardwood and laminate flooring, such as basements and bathrooms. Vinyl plank flooring is also quiet and warm under foot, and relatively easy to install, requiring no adhesives for a beautiful, stylish alternative to traditional vinyl flooring and other flooring products.
Vinyl flooring is available in two common formats: vinyl sheet and vinyl tile. When choosing between the two, the most important consideration should be the look of your floor. If you prefer a highly-patterned design, vinyl sheet may be a better choice. For a checkerboard pattern, vinyl tile may be ideal.
Vinyl sheet is a large roll of vinyl flooring that can either be felt-backed, vinyl-backed or modified loose-lay. Each is designed for different methods of installation.
Felt-backed: The most common type of vinyl sheet, with a layer of felt added to the back for strength and cushion, and installed with an adhesive.
Vinyl-backed: The least common format for vinyl sheet; installed by gluing to the floor only at the edges, and generally recommended for professional installation only.
Modified loose-lay: Contains a fibreglass backing for greater strength and stability than felt or vinyl-backed, and is installed without adhesives. Double-sided tape secures the sheet near appliances and doors.
Vinyl tile is generally available in 12-by-12-inch squares with an adhesive backing, but can also be found in strips of three. Vinyl tile floors look very different from vinyl sheet floors, which have fewer lines and seams. The regular pattern of lines in a vinyl tile floor is an important part of its design.
Vinyl flooring offers comfort and quality, and is relatively easy to install if you choose to do it yourself. Picking a style you like best may be the most difficult decision you'll face when choosing vinyl flooring. There are two distinct patterns for vinyl flooring: printed and inlaid.
Printed vinyl is made by printing a pattern directly onto the surface of a vinyl sheet, and then covering it with a protective layer. This type of vinyl is also called rotovinyl, from the name of the printing process. Printed vinyl is available in a variety of patterns and colours, and is more cost-effective than inlaid vinyl. However, it is less durable.
Inlaid vinyl is made by injecting a colour pattern directly into a vinyl sheet, and then fusing both together so that colours and pattern become part of the material. This type of process gives inlaid vinyl a rich, longer-lasting appearance than printed vinyl. However, inlaid vinyl tends to come in fewer patterns and colours.
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Whether you choose vinyl sheet or vinyl tile, it's important to have a vinyl floor that remains durable for years to come. This will depend on a number of factors, including your vinyl floor's wear layer, or finish, which is a coating applied to vinyl to maintain its shine. There are three types of finishes commonly used:
The most cost-effective choice. Stain-resistant and easy to clean; stays shiny so there's no need to polish or buff.
Easy to clean and more resistant to scuffs and stains than no-wax finishes; keeps its original appearance longer. Stays shiny without polishing or buffing.
Outperforms vinyl no-wax and regular urethane finishes. Resists scuffs, scratches and household stains better; longer-lasting shine with no polishing or buffing.
Maintaining Your Vinyl Floor
Vinyl provides an attractive look at an affordable price. Vinyl is also easier to care for than most people think. When you wash it, for example, simply use a non-rinsing cleaner that leaves no film. Most products sold as vinyl cleaners fit the bill. To keep your vinyl flooring looking new, follow these simple tips:
Use felt pads on chair and table legs, and other furniture, to avoid scratching the floor.
Avoid putting rubber-backed rugs on vinyl flooring - the rubber can stain the floor.
Put a heavy-duty doormat at your front door and encourage visitors to wipe their feet. This is especially true if you have an asphalt driveway; the chemicals in asphalt can cause vinyl flooring to turn yellow.
Remove stains as soon as possible with an appropriate no rinse floor cleaner and wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any residue.