Vinyl flooring comes in either tile or sheet form. One of the least expensive forms of flooring, vinyl is very popular among homeowners, because it offers great value.
Available in a wide range of colors, designs and styles, vinyl tiles are easy to cut and install by the average do-it-yourselfer, especially when the tiles feature self-adhesive backing.
Sheet vinyl, on the other hand, can be very difficult for homeowners to install, and therefore, it should be installed by a seasoned professional for the best results.
Of course, before choosing vinyl for your floor’s surface, you should carefully weigh the product’s pros and cons to ensure you’re getting exactly the type of floor you’re expecting.
Pros of Vinyl Flooring
- Vinyl flooring provides a slightly softer surface than options like tile or wood, because the product is backed with a thin layer of either felt or foam—depending on the manufacturer. The soft layer results in the floor having a little more flexibility and give, which makes it easier to stand on for long periods of time.
- Vinyl tiles are available in a huge assortment of colors and styles, with some designs even mimicking the look of stone tiles or wood planks. While you can notice the difference up close, it can be hard to tell from afar the floor is vinyl.
- Vinyl also wears incredibly well. It is extremely durable, with many manufacturers backing their products with warranties of 15 years or more. In truth, a well-installed and properly maintained vinyl floor can last for well over 20 years.
- Vinyl flooring is very resistant to dirt and water, and it’s one of the few flooring types that can be installed directly over the subfloor—or over a previous vinyl or linoleum installation—without requiring demolition first. It is also one of the best choices for installing on a floor with a lot of cracks or excessive movement.
- As far as cleaning and maintenance goes, vinyl is hard to beat. Requiring practically no maintenance after installation, vinyl needs to just be swept and mopped occasionally to keep the floor clean.
Cons of Vinyl Flooring
- One of the biggest problems facing vinyl is the product is manufactured using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will emit volatile organic compounds (VOC), especially when it is new. It is important to note, however, that since 2010, many manufacturers have started using less PVC in their vinyl flooring products.
- While vinyl tiles are very easy to install on one’s own, getting the subfloor ready for installation can prove to be a difficult job. In order for the tiles to look their best, the subfloor needs to be free of all particles—or they may show through the tiles in bumps and lumps. In addition, installing peel-and-stick tiles on a dirty floor will result in loose tiles quicker than you might expect.
- The spongy quality of vinyl flooring may prevent a glass from breaking if it’s dropped on the floor, but a sharp object can gouge the surface if dropped. This is also a concern when it comes to moving furniture. Furniture pads needs to be installed on the feet of all furniture—or moving the couch could result in scratching or gouging the tile or popping the tile off the floor entirely.
- Vinyl flooring does nothing to a home’s resale value, and it can prove very difficult to remove once it is installed.
Is Vinyl Flooring Right for You?
Like all other types of flooring materials, there will always be a market for vinyl flooring.
For many, the low cost and durability far outweigh the VOC emissions.
For others, the fact that they can enjoy a floor that resembles wood or stone tile—but isn’t as hard on the feet—is enough to warrant the product’s use.
Ultimately, the homeowner’s choice will be based on their budget, the type of room the flooring is being installed in and their expectations.