VINYL PLANKS: The Basics
Wood look vinyl floor planks are super trendy, and this fashionable item isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So what’s the deal with vinyl planks? Why are they so popular? What are your options? And what do you need to know in order to make a more informed choice on flooring for your home? Let us help you below.
As more and more homes make the switch from carpet to hard, solid flooring, people are looking for something new and fresh. Most people enjoy the looks of luxurious 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.
Types of Residential Vinyl Planks
There are a few different types of installation options with vinyl flooring, depending on what product type you choose. This choice can be important and you may prefer to choose based on your DIY skill level. Take a look below. Types of vinyl installation include:
Glue down vinyl permanent, and it's not moving anywhere. Glue down is the perfect solution for holding up strong against high foot traffic, in areas like retail shops, offices, and even grocery stores.
This is one of the more common installation types these days, with new technologies booming and waterproof cores coming out, higher quality visuals, and more. This installation type involves an installation tool kit, with an interlocking system that keeps the whole floor together. Easy breezy!
Now this - this is cool! Loose lay vinyl product are exactly that - you lay them 'loose' on the floor. They are not glued or interlocked as a whole floating system, which is an added benefit because if one gets damaged you can simply pop it out and put a new one in it's place. To keep the floor in place, double sided carpet tape is required around the perimeter of the floor and it is that simple.
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 that 8mm vinyl is necessary in every situation - it could actually be overkill. But, you wouldn't want to install thin paper like flooring in an area that's going to get a high amount of foot traffic. Popular vinyl thicknesses include:
About that vinyl wear layer...
So we know that 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. Now, there is definitely still a place for ground chuck in the world, but when you’re trying to impress, the filet is where it’s at. Let’s chat a little about the “filet mignon” of vinyl flooring.
A thinner wear layer essentially means a thinner protection for your floor from scratches and damage. Well, okay if it’s in a low traffic area, you can get away with it. It's like not wearing sunscreen to the beach - your body can only fight the sun naturally for so long. But on a floor that will be lived on, you are going to need to remember to wear sunscreen. Here are a few common vinyl wear layer options: