VINYL PLANKS: The Basics

In residential homes, vinyl planks have become all the rage, and this trend isn’t going anywhere soon. So what’s the deal with vinyl planks? Find out why they’ve become so popular, what your options are and how you can make a more informed choice on flooring for your home.

 

Okay, so by now you’ve probably heard that vinyl planks are the hottest new trend in residential flooring. I’ve said it. Other have said it. This is a trend that is here for the long haul.

As more and more homes make the switch from carpet to hard, solid flooring, people are looking for something new and fresh. We all want the looks of natural stone and traditional hardwood but, the truth it, most people can’t afford it, and those options come with a lofty installation, upkeep and maintenance.

Like it or not, the world we live in is technologically savvy, fast paced, all about getting the most bang for your buck and moving onto the next big thing. Essentially, we want our home to look great with the least amount of effort possible. It’s not bad. It’s realistic. That’s where vinyl makes it’s comeback, and why vinyl will (likely) continue it’s lead as the fastest growing flooring option on the market for years to come.

But wait a second, let’s back up. Sure, it’s popular, but what are all these options and what do they even mean? At least that was my reaction when I entered face first into the world of flooring. Wear layer, thickness, wide planks…it’s like vinyl has it’s own secret made up language and only the flooring experts have the code. Don’t worry, I want to give you the code. Let’s break it down and discuss our options. I love options.

Wear layer, thickness, wide planks…it’s like vinyl has it’s own secret made up language and only the flooring experts have the code. Don’t worry, I want to give you the code. Let’s break it down and discuss our options. I love options.

 
 
 
 

Types of Residential Vinyl Planks

 

Vinyl Planks by Installation:
Wait…we just started, how did we get to installation??? These are pretty big differences, so it’s good to get a look at the options up front, and then see what sounds best for your home and lifestyle. Types of vinyl installation include:

Vinyl Planks

Peel & Stick.
Peel & stick vinyl is exactly what it sounds like. You peel it off and lay it on the area you wish to cover. This is great for a temporary flooring solution that can give you a hardwood look on a tight budget, or when you’re renting a house or apartment. The pros are it’s inexpensive, easy to install, low maintenance, and really easy to replace when you’re ready for a change.

Glue Down.
Glue down vinyl is kind of like getting a tattoo. It’s pretty darn permanent, and you’d better be sure you want it there for a good, long time. Glue down is great at holding up to high traffic, and for when you find the vinyl of your dreams.

Interlocking/Floating.
This is your easy, elegant, and affordable option. The interlocking design is very similar to classic tongue and groove laminate. No contractor needed, these vinyl planks offer detail, texture and design, and they are more comfortable to walk on than the glue-down option. So basically: easy, pretty and comfy, but won’t break the bank–not to play favorites, but totally my favorite.

Loose Lay.
These babies are the cream of the crop. They are robust, no fuss, and built to last. Loose lay vinyl planks only require perimeter tape around the edges, and they are super easy to replace if one section becomes damaged. They are often more expensive (although still affordable), but ya get what ya pay for!

 
 
 
 

Vinyl Planks by Thickness:
There are two main factors that determine the quality of your vinyl: thickness and wear layer (which we’ll get to below). It’s pretty simple, thick vinyl + thick wear layer = higher quality. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need 8mm vinyl for every use–every situation is different and has different requirements. Popular vinyl thicknesses include:

 
 
 
 

About that vinyl wear layer...
So we talked about how the thickness of the vinyl plank + the thickness of the wear layer are the two things that give us the filet mignon in vinyl flooring. Just like there is a place for ground chuck, when you’re trying to impress, the filet is where it’s at and so let’s chat a little about what gives you the “filet mignon” of vinyl flooring.

A thinner wear layer means your floor is much more susceptible to scratching, scarring and damage. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR FLOOR??? Well, okay if it’s in a low traffic area, you can get away with it. But on a floor that will be lived on, we don’t recommend skimping out on this piece of the puzzle. Popular vinyl wear layers include:

 
 
 
 

Make it pretty!
Okay, I know I’m not the only one who hears a bunch of quality jargin and thinks “Yeah, yeah….but WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE???”. I have the same problem when I search for running shoes. I know I need a neutral, medium cushioned shoe, but I found myself dreaming about the ones with the prettiest colors.

Don’t worry, with vinyl planks, you really don’t have to sacrifice look for quality! With tons of options and shades to choose from, the only challenge may be narrowing down the final choice from all of your favorites! Popular vinyl looks include: