Choices in Vinyl Flooring

Thinking about replacing the floor in your bathroom, kitchen or mudroom? If you are, you might want to consider vinyl flooring as an option. Sure vinyl flooring has been around for years, but even after all that time it still retains the practical characteristics that have made it a popular flooring choice for homeowners for years. Consider that vinyl flooring is easy to install (both glueless sheets and self adhesive tiles are available), versatile (can be used in almost any room in your home and will blend with any color scheme), low maintenance (only needs sweeping and an occasional damp mopping) plus, it keeps its original appearance for along time. Here's some insights on vinyl flooring.

Vinyl flooring comes in a number of formats

  • Traditionally vinyl flooring came in sheets 6' or 12' wide and was provided in rolls. Since the narrower stock is easier to work with, it’s probably more appropriate for a DoItYourself’er, but the wider 12' stock helps minimize seams and joints in a floor.
  • Vinyl floor tiles (12” or 18” squares) or planks (similar to laminate flooring) are now also commonly available. The planks are often made to look like hardwood, while the tiles come in a wide spectrum of colors as well as stone surfaces look alikes.

How it's made

  • The main components of vinyl flooring are PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) or plastic (a petroleum based product), and plasticizers that give the flooring it’s flexibility.
  • The PVC is laid onto a backing then covered with a clear 'wear layer' to help the flooring maintain its ‘like new’ appearance.
  • Different looks of the flooring are achieved by either inlaying colored vinyl particles directly onto the backing material (so the color goes right through the flooring), or overlaying a printed image onto the backing (similar to the process used to manufacture laminate flooring).

Wear layer makes it hard wearing and long lasting

  • The clear top layer or wear layer is what gives vinyl flooring its ability to resist wear and maintain its appearance.
  • Depending on where you plan to install your vinyl flooring (and the amount of use/abuse it will get), the wear layer classification can help you make the best (and most economical) choice for your particular application. There are three basic classifications of wear layers
  • Vinyl No-Wax is the least durable and may require some vinyl polish be applied periodically to maintain its appearance. This should be your least costly alternative and works well in a low traffic application like a laundry room perhaps.
  • Urethane finish. This labeling tells you the wear layer is made of hard wearing, moisture proof urethane that will provide great stain resistance as well as resisting scuffing and wear. Usually more expensive than vinyl no-wax it’s designed to be used in high traffic areas.
  • Enhanced coatings are available that provide even more wear protection than urethane. These wear layers use products such as aluminum oxide to provide an extremely hard wearing surface and provide the best choice for long life in high traffic areas like kitchens or mudrooms.

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer over 500 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to He can be contacted at