Vinyl Flooring — SimplifyDIY — DIY and Home Improvement Solutions

Vinyl Flooring - SimplifyDIY - DIY and Home Improvement Solutions

Vinyl Flooring

Introduction

The mention of vinyl can conjure recollections of some pretty disastrous linoleum flooring from the 1960s, however vinyl is in fact a completely distinct type of floor-covering to lino. made of very different materials. Public perception considers these materials to be one and the same so we’ll deal with them both here.

Advances in textures and prints now provide a wide selection of both vinyl tiles and sheets that can do a convincing impression of wood and stone as well as the more common patterned designs. Compared to alternative materials, vinly makes a flexible and cost-effective flooring solution .

The main ingredient for vinyl flooring is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or plastic, which is combined with various compounds to alter its colour, flexibility and sheen. It is available in sheets, ranging from 1829mm (6ft) to 3658mm (12ft) wide, or tiles which are usually 305mm (12in) squares .

Vinyl tiles are easy to lay and are often already pre-coated with glue on the back, vinyl sheet is a little trickier to install but it does produce a sleek and seamless surface.

When purchasing vinyl. ensure each pack of tiles or sheet section has the same batch code to ensure that the colour, texture and pattern will run consistently across the entirety of your floor surface.

Vinyl floor coverings are;

  • Highly durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Available in a wide range of colours, textures and patterns
  • Able to provide a seamless surface (sheet vinyl)
  • Quite easy to install
  • Easy to clean
  • Suitable for underfloor heating
  • Lightweight
  • Relatively thin so will show undulations in sub-floor surface
  • Vinyl Flooring - SimplifyDIY - DIY and Home Improvement Solutions
Sheet vinyl flooring

Sheet vinyl floorings are produced via two manufacturing processes;

This method of construction involves forcing coloured vinyl granules through a series of templates onto a backing sheet where they are bonded together under heat and pressure.

The advantage to this process is that inlaid vinyl carries its pattern all the way through the flooring. Excellent visual depth can also be achieved by fusing multiple layers together, and as the pattern is protected by a top sheet, or wear layer, of clear vinyl, the end product is particularly hard wearing.

Rotogravure

This is the cheaper and more commonly used method of manufacture. which offers limitless possibilities for pattern and design. When combined with an embossed surface, these vinyl sheets can do a convincing impression in both colour and texture of other flooring materials such as wood and stone.

A thin layer of liquid vinyl is rolled and heated to form a tough sheet, this is then bonded to a felt backing. On top, a thin layer of vinyl coating is printed with the decorative pattern via a rotary cylinder carrying photoengraved plates. A top skin, or ‘wear-layer’ of clear vinyl is then added to the surface to protect the printed surface from abrasion.

The felt backing may vary in thickness. where a thin layer creates ‘unbacked vinyl’ and a thick layer creates ‘backed vinyl’, the latter of which is warmer and softer to walk on.

Vinyl floor tiles

Vinyl tiles can simply be produced by cutting sheet vinyl into smaller squares. However those with the greatest durability will be specifically constructed to have colour running throughout their depth, which makes them harder wearing and minimises the effects of abrasion.

Alternatively vinyl composition tiles (VCT) are available. which are manufactured with synthetic fillers and binders, or mineral fibres and clay, to provide a variety of textures and flexibility.

The wear-layer is crucial to the durability of a vinyl floor. A thicker top layer of vinyl will be more resistant to soiling, staining and wear, but a vinyl wear-layer can slowly lose its shine. A urethane wear layer will keep its shine, but can be more prone to staining. The more expensive vinyls will have these improved wear-layers and this will be reflected in their price and their longevity.

Linoleum

Developed in the 1960s lino became a commonplace flooring for kitchens, today however it suffers from a somewhat old-fashioned reputation. More recently though, with improved patterns and design. it is undergoing something of a revival in popularity.

Lino is an entirely natural material made from linseed oil, pine resins, powdered cork and wood, limestone and pigments which are pressed onto a sheet of burlap backing.

Linoleum floor coverings are;

  • Highly durable
  • Biodegradable
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Somewhat high maintenance as they need to be waxed periodically
  • Not water-proof
  • More expensive than vinyl
  • unable to be cleaned with ammonia
  • Relatively thin so will show undulations in sub-floor surface
Measuring up vinyl flooring

Vinyl or linoleum sheets are best laid in one piece. however to accomodate corners and nooks in the layout of the room there is often some considerable wastage. To limit the amount of wastage, and thus overspend. its a good idea to throughly survey your room(s) to consider which options will give the most ecnomical coverage.

  • Remember vinyl flooring may be cheaper than carpet or wood flooring but it is still important to have it correctly fitted, so if any doubt about how to fit it, always consult/hire a professional fitter .
Further information and useful links


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