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Luxury vinyl flooring…an overview

Luxury vinyl flooring…an overview

What is vinyl flooring?

The term vinyl flooring refers to a resilient flooring material made of synthetic materials. Vinyl flooring has been around for more than 100 years in various forms and became more popular when homeowners started looking for flooring options that were resilient, durable and resistant to water.

In many homes, the bathroom and kitchen have been the main areas where vinyl flooring has been used. Vinyl is quite easy to clean, making it a great choice for these rooms. Sheet vinyl was always a popular choice for these areas. But as technology has improved, luxury vinyl planks and tiles have started to become very popular for people looking for vinyl flooring options.

Luxury vinyl planks and tiles are made to look like other flooring types, typically wood planks and stone tiles. There are many different vinyl companies making a wide variety of planks made to look like different species of wood in a huge collection of colours. There have not been as many options for stone-look vinyl tiles, but more options are coming out all the time.

Wood look luxury vinyl planks
(Karndean Korlok Oyster Oak)
Stone look luxury vinyl tiles
(Karndean Korlok Metro Grey)

Glue down or floating vinyl…which is the right choice for you?

There are two main types of luxury vinyl flooring: glue down and floating. Glue down vinyl is attached directly to the subfloor using an appropriate adhesive. Floating vinyl is not attached directly to the subfloor. Rather, it is installed on top of the subfloor and clicks together using a locking mechanism built into each plank/tile. Most floating vinyl options also come with a thin pad attached to the back of the planks. This eliminates the need to use an underlay in most circumstances.

Many of our clients here at Burritt Bros will ask if glue down is the better option or if floating is the better option. The answer will depend on a few factors.

Where is the vinyl floor being installed?

While both glue down and floating vinyl is resistant to water, we generally recommend using a glue down vinyl in rooms where there is the potential for water more often. These can include laundry rooms, entry areas/mud rooms or bathrooms where lots of splashing may occur. The adhesive used in the glue down installation is going to provide an extra level of protection from water getting underneath the vinyl, where it could potentially develop a mold issue if the water does not have a chance to dry out.

Floating vinyl is a suitable choice for other areas of the home, including kitchens. Homeowners may even choose to install floating vinyl in their bathrooms if there is not going to be any excess water being splashed out of the tub.

Another area to consider is stairs. If you are thinking of installing vinyl planks on your stairs, then floating vinyl options are usually the better choice. I will have a post in the future specifically regarding vinyl on stairs, but floating vinyl is generally a better option because of its solid core. We will often have stair nosings fabricated from the actual floating vinyl planks which makes for an exact match to the vinyl being used on the rest of the stairs.

Who is installing the vinyl floor?

Here at Burritt Bros, our skilled installers install both glue down and floating vinyl floors all the time. However, if homeowners are looking to tackle the installation themselves, then the choice of vinyl could make a big difference in the overall project.

Glue down vinyl takes a bit more expertise to install properly. The different adhesives that are used for the installation have “open times” and “working times”. Open time is the amount of time recommended for the adhesive to set before the flooring is installed into it. Open time is affected by humidity and temperature. Working time is the amount of time from when the adhesive is set until the flooring will no longer bond. Working time is also affected by humidity and temperature. If the vinyl is laid in place too soon or too late, the result will be a floor that does not look as good as it should. More importantly, it can also lead to the floor failing and potentially causing a trip hazard.

Floating vinyl can be more user friendly for a DIY installation. The absence of adhesive means that a homeowner can leave the installation process to do other things and not worry about the adhesive.

For either option, it is always best to have a qualified installer do the job. Using a qualified installer will almost always get the floor installed more quickly than a DIY installation. A DIY installation will also require certain tools that the average homeowner may not have.

Is luxury vinyl flooring the right choice for you?

A growing percentage of our clients are now choosing a luxury vinyl option for the flooring projects. Whether it is for the home they are living in or a home they are renting out, vinyl has proven itself to be a durable floor that also looks good. For many clients, luxury vinyl allows them to have the look of hardwood with the easy of use and maintenance that is inherent to vinyl.

Please feel free to send us any questions you have about vinyl floors or visit our showroom to check out the huge selection of vinyl flooring products we have to offer.

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