If you’re looking for affordable, durable flooring for your home, vinyl can be a great choice. This versatile flooring works well in any room, and it can give your home an instant update without the high price tag. Before you decide whether or not vinyl flooring is right for you, read on to learn more about this material and what it entails so you can move forward in confidence.
What is Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl flooring is made of plastics or a material called polyvinyl chloride. Color is mixed into the material, which means your design options are a bit more limited than some other flooring alternatives. However, you’ll still find vinyl flooring available in a myriad of trendy colors and styles that are made to mimic material like tile or hardwood. This petroleum-based product is affordable, durable, and fairly easy to install. The flooring comes in different formats depending on your desired look, budget, and installation options. It’s important to understand more about the different types of vinyl flooring available before you commit.
Types of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl floors come in several different types, depending on your needs and the way you want the floors installed. Here are the most common types of vinyl flooring that you can find in most home improvement stores, and from most professional vinyl flooring installation companies:
- Vinyl Flooring Sheet: This vinyl features a felt of fiberglass backing with a foam inner core that makes the flooring comfortable to walk on. The top layer features a printed decorative design known as the wear layer. Sheet vinyl flooring is exactly what it sounds like: a single pre-cut sheet (sizes may vary) that’s rolled onto the floor instead of separate pieces that need to be installed separately. In general, this option is the least expensive of the options that are available, but the price point or cost per square foot can depend on the brand and thickness level that you choose.
- Vinyl Plank Flooring: Plank flooring is similar to wood or laminate planks because it comes in a plank-shape and size that resembles separate pieces of wood. This flooring comes in individual strips that can be attached to a subfloor, and you can cut each individual piece to length. Choosing vinyl plank flooring over sheets allows you to install the floors in your own desired pattern or design.
- Vinyl Floor Tiles: If you like the look of tile but don’t have the budget, consider vinyl floor tiles instead. This flooring is made of the same material as other vinyl, but it comes in tile-like pieces for easy installation. You won’t need to worry about grout with vinyl floor tiles, but you’ll still enjoy the look of tile. Although this material isn’t quite as thick or luxurious as tile, it’s a great alternative if you like the look but don’t want to pay the high price.
- Luxury Vinyl Flooring: This material is durable, waterproof, and a great choice if you want to install vinyl in a kitchen or bathroom. Most luxury vinyl lvp flooring comes in planks, and it often features a more detailed design than some of the lower-end options. Luxury vinyl is made to last, and you can enjoy it throughout the home to get the look of wood without all of the extra maintenance and high cost.
- Vinyl Flooring Rolls: For easy installation, consider vinyl flooring rolls. This material comes in a large roll, or sheet, similar to linoleum. It’s a good option if you own a rental property or you want to add new flooring to your home on a budget. Vinyl wood flooring that comes in rolls can look nice, last for years, and it can be installed for a low price to cover a large area of square footage.
Pros and Cons of Vinyl Flooring
Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to choosing vinyl flooring:
- Vinyl flooring is almost as durable as some other options, but it costs a lot less, which means this flooring is an affordable choice for renovating your home.
- Vinyl can be installed over cement, tile, laminate, and almost any other flat surface to save you money and time.
- When it comes to cleaning, vinyl is easy to maintain and keep looking new. Simple care can prolong the look of your vinyl floors for years to come.
- Most vinyl is water-resistant which makes it a great option for bathrooms and kitchens.
- A commercial-grade wear layer on certain brands of vinyl promotes even more durability and longevity for homes and businesses with heavy foot traffic.
- If vinyl is exposed to direct sunlight, it can fade over time. Make sure you protect your home from UV rays with light-blocking curtains to keep your vinyl looking new.
- Once glued down, vinyl can be extremely difficult to remove.
- For those concerned about the environment, vinyl is not a biodegradable product.
- Some types of vinyl are vulnerable to damage. If you drop a heavy object on it or if you place heavy furniture on top, it can show dents and scratches.
Cost of Vinyl Flooring
The cost of vinyl flooring can vary depending on the brand, the square footage you need, and other factors. On the low end, it should cost between $200 and $400 to install a new vinyl tile floor in a 200-square foot room. On the high end, prepare to pay closer to between $1,500 and $2,000 which includes installation on stairs and the removal of your old flooring. Get several estimates from different flooring installation companies to help you get the best deal. The cost per square foot can be as low as $0.50 to as high as $3 or more. When asking how much is vinyl flooring, keep in mind that high-end brands can cost as much as $7 per square foot. Shop around to find the perfect vinyl for your needs and your budget. It takes skill and experience to know how to lay vinyl flooring correctly. If you’re not sure, it’s best to consult with the professionals to ensure proper installation. You’ll also need to know which direction to install vinyl plank flooring so that it looks cohesive throughout the home.
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring
The best vinyl plank flooring is thick, durable, and comes in a design and color that suits your décor style. There are several famous brands that make vinyl flooring including Shaw, Mohawk, and Armstrong just to name a few. Look for a vinyl plank that’s soft to walk on and that absorbs noise, especially if you’re installing it on a second floor. Read customer reviews and try to physically look at different brands and styles of vinyl plank flooring before you make a decision. When you’re asking questions like what is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring, you’ll be able to see it in a tangible way if you compare the different types side by side.
To install vinyl plank flooring, you’ll first need to determine how much square footage you need. Once you have the materials, you might be able to install it directly over your existing floors. However, if you need to know how to remove vinyl flooring, you might need a professional to help you take the old flooring off. This material could be glued to a subfloor, which makes it tough to remove without help. Once the old floors are removed, the new flooring is cut to size. The floors are glued, or they may be connected in a manner similar to click and lock laminate plank flooring. All trim will be removed before the new floors are installed, and they’ll be reinstalled and painted after your vinyl flooring installation is complete.
Vinyl plank flooring should be installed parallel to the longest length of the room. Start on the left side of the room and work your way toward the right whenever you install vinyl plank flooring.
If you want to know how to clean luxury vinyl plank flooring, remember that you should never use abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools since they can scratch the wear layer. Use a gentle nonabrasive floor cleaner when you’re looking for easy care and maintenance. As you think about how to clean vinyl floors and how to clean vinyl plank flooring, sweep or vacuum them regularly to remove excess debris. That will make it easier when you’re ready for a deep clean.
Yes, you can use a Swiffer on vinyl plank flooring. Just be sure to avoid using the abrasive scrubber side so that you don’t damage or scratch your floors.
You can paint older vinyl flooring to make it look new again. Just be sure you’re using a special paint rated for heavy wear, such as an outdoor porch paint or floor paint. Use a coat of primer and allow it to dry, then apply at least two coats of paint to ensure durability.
If you’re looking for the best vinyl plank flooring brands, consider Shaw and Armstrong for quality luxury vinyl plank. Home Depot’s LifeProof brand is also a great option if you need something durable and affordable.
Vinyl flooring does emit some gas in a process known as off-gassing. This process should last no longer than two weeks after the initial installation. Overall, vinyl flooring is nontoxic and should not be harmful to your health.
Most flooring installation companies charge by the hour, so expect to pay between $20-$35 per labor hour, on average. Some companies may charge by the square foot, and they’ll charge you an additional fee if you need them to remove and dispose of your old flooring first. For a 2,500 square foot home, it costs approximately $4,000 in labor to install new vinyl plank flooring.