Buying Tips

The quality and price of vinyl flooring depends on these four important factors which you should consider before purchasing vinyl:

  • Surface Appearance.
  • Ease of Maintenance.
  • Resistance to Tears, Indentations, Scuffs and Scratches.
  • Underfoot Comfort.

High traffic areas need more durable vinyl.

Labor is a significant cost of a vinyl installation so buying cheaper materials but having to have it reinstalled often does not save you money in the long run.

Vinyl comes in 6’, 12’, 13’2” widths.

The backing layer can be made of either felt or fiberglass with a cushion backing. How sheet vinyl flooring can be installed is determined by the backing.

  • Felt: Felt bottom layer that is adhered to the subfloor. It is the most common of sheet vinyl floors today.
  • Fiberglass: A structural layer of fiberglass with vinyl above and below adds more dimensionally stability.  A vinyl cushion backing provides added underfoot comfort. This floor lays flat and can be installed without glue.

Basics

Sheet vinyl, also known as resilient, is one of the most affordable flooring solution available. Vinyl offers a vast array of choices in terms of color and design. Its ease of installation, versatility, low maintenance, attractiveness, and high durability make vinyl a popular flooring choice.

Sheet vinyl is a layered construction coated with a “wear layer” that seals the vinyl and creates a finished look that can range from a natural matte to a glossy shine. Sheet vinyl typically comes in 6′, 12′ and 13’2″ widths and almost any length.

There are four typical layers to sheet vinyl construction:

  • Protective top coat:  This coat is urethane or another high-performance top coat which make the product easy to clean and resist scratches and scuffs.
  • Protective clear vinyl layer:  This layer adds durability and can protect against rips, tears and gouges. The thicker this layer, the better the performance. The flooring’s appearance retention and durability is mostly dependent on the quality and thickness of the clear wear layer.
  • Printed vinyl design layer: The rotogravure printing process offers an unlimited range of patterns and designs, including very realistic interpretations of natural materials.
  • Backing: The backing layer can be made of either felt or vinyl encapsulated fiberglass. How sheet vinyl flooring can be installed is determined by the backing.
  • Felt: Felt bottom layer that is adhered to the subfloor. It is the most common of sheet vinyl floors today.
  • Fiberglass: A structural layer of fiberglass with vinyl above and below adds more dimensionally stability.  A vinyl cushion backing provides added underfoot comfort. This floor lays flat and can be installed without glue.

You can use vinyl virtually anywhere in your home. Since it can be installed below grade level, it makes an excellent choice for basements.

Although vinyl is waterproof, the installation adhesive is water-soluble. Do not over-expose vinyl floors to water around the perimeter or near any seams.

Thicker is better! If you plan to install vinyl flooring in a high traffic area or in a primary bathroom, or if the floor needs to withstand wear from children and pets, choose a thicker  vinyl with a urethane or enhanced urethane wear layer.

Avoid using sheet vinyl on stairs, as it is meant for flat, level surfaces.

Care & Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of your vinyl floor begins right after installation. For example, keep traffic light for the first 24 hours after installation is completed so that the adhesive can dry properly. The seam sealers also need that long to dry before being stepped on. Also, try to avoid scrubbing or washing your new vinyl floor for at least 3 days after installation. You should clean any adhesive residue leftover from installation with a clean, white cloth dipped in mineral spirits. Take care, though; mineral spirits, plus other chemicals like lighter fluid, painter’s naphtha and isopropyl alcohol are flammable. Take any and all precautions listed on their containers.

First of all, sweep your floor often to remove loose dirt. Wipe up spills as soon as you can. If you have dried spills remove them with a mild cleaner or clean cloth. You should not use harsh abrasives or scrubbing tools on your vinyl floor. Occasionally take a damp mop to the floor using a quality no-rinse cleaner to eliminate dirt build-up. Use a manufacturer’s recommended cleaner or 2-3 capfuls of clear, non-sudsy ammonia diluted into one gallon of water. Using too much ammonia can leave a dull film on your floor.

Some care and maintenance tips that work for hardwood floors are just as well with your vinyl floors: do not drag furniture across the floor; use ”glides” instead. Try to keep the floor from excessive or strong direct sunlight so close those drapes or blinds. Use non-staining mats or rugs in high traffic areas to reduce damage. Use a beater bar when vacuuming because without it you can visibly damage the floor surface.

Scuff marks that could not be removed with routine cleaning can be tackled with multi-purpose household cleaner such as Fantastic or Lysol. Apply it directly to the problem area, let it stand for 10-15 seconds, then remove it with a damp cloth. Some pesky marks may require a little mineral spirits applied to a clean cloth.

Household stains such as acids, alkalis, blood, ketchup, mustard, food dye, fruit juice, rust, urine, and excrement can be taken care of with a full-strength mild detergent applied with a wet cloth or sponge. Really stubborn stains can be defeated with a 1-1 mixture of water and liquid bleach on a saturated cloth for up to a maximum of one hour. Rinse it well.