Are Vinyl Floors for me?
One of the hottest flooring products in the construction and remodeling industry is Luxury Vinyl, also called LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank), or LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile). In the last ten years hundreds of brands have been released, as well as numerous variations in the product’s construction. You may hear terms like WPC (wood composite core) , SPC (stone composite core), solid vinyl, virgin vinyl, click-lock, loose-lay, floating, or one of the other thousand terms manufacturers use to make their product a little more unique than their competition. Honestly, it can be the most confusing product when trying to pick a new floor for your home. I’ve heard salespeople describing these products as “bullet proof”, “waterproof”, “life-proof”, “pet-proof”, “kid-proof”, heck even “nuclear-fallout proof”! So, is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Starting out, I’d like to say that Vinyl flooring is not a new product. It has been out for decades in some form or fashion. It hit the market back in the 1950’s, as a recyclable alternative to some of the other products on the market. Even that Winn Dixie where you perused the isles back in 1984 dodging the old guy riding the buffing machine had a variation of vinyl that is still commonly used in the industry. So why has it surged in popularity over the last ten years? In my opinion, it’s because of two major factors. First, the failures of the Laminate flooring industry. Box stores carried $.59 laminate products with ridiculous warranties and really failed their consumers. Sure, quality laminate products did exist then and still do, but thousands fell in the cheap laminate trap and got exactly what they paid for. It looked pretty, but with the slightest bit of moisture it failed, and failed miserably. The Second major reason it has become more popular is due to the technological advancement in digital printing. They can make it look more realistic and much more aesthetically pleasing than ever before.
So, is Vinyl Flooring the right product for you? I tell most of our customers that Luxury Vinyl is one of the best products for the average consumer, however it is not for everyone. Luxury vinyl is inherently waterproof making it great for those household spills, pet accidents, or indoor water balloon fights. Most quality Vinyl products also have a top layer that make is scratch and wear resistant. These layers can be made of different materials and have different thicknesses. This makes it where Rin-Tin-Tin’s unclipped nails wont harm the surface of the floor. Being that the images are digitally printed, you can find products in thousands of colors and aesthetics that can’t be matched by a natural product. These features allow you to find the perfect color and durability for your needs. Soooo, It’s the perfect flooring product, right???
Well, not necessarily. First, vinyl isn’t wood or stone. It is impossible to get the elegance, luster, and depth a natural product will have. If you love hardwood, more than likely you will be disappointed if you “settle” for vinyl. Same thing with products that mimic stone. Second, most of the products are “floating”. This means they aren’t bonded to the floor with any type of adhesive. This can create a sound that some people find unpleasant. Floor prep is the key! A professional installer will ensure the floor is flat and within standards before installing. Third, it’s waterproof. Wait, isn’t that a good thing? Well, not in all circumstances. Just like it stops moisture from the top down, it stops moisture from the bottom up. This means if the subfloor has any moisture issues or you have a larger water spill, such as washing machine leak, or a tub overflowing, the moisture can get trapped between the subfloor and Vinyl and cause more extensive problems. Fourth, the real estate market is slow to accept it. I have heard realtors steering clients away from vinyl out of fear it will make the future sale more difficult. This has gotten better over the last few years, but I still run into it on a regular basis.
To wrap this up, Vinyl flooring is a fantastic flooring product that fits the needs of many consumers, whether it is revamping an older home or installing in your new dreamhouse. Here are some tips I recommend when looking for vinyl flooring:
- When selecting flooring, do your research! Find a dealer with a good reputation. Ask questions about the product brands and finishes.
- Make sure the product fits your needs. Know yourself! Know your personal expectations. Don’t settle for something if you know your heart is in another product.
Know your situation! If you have plans to sell or rent your home, ask your realtor for advice on what products are helping local home sell or rent.
Know your installer! Whether it is a DIY project or you’re hiring a professional, make sure they follow the instructions and flooring standards to insure a great install.
If you follow these tips, you will have a great flooring experience!