Vinyl flooring is a durable, versatile and cost-effective option for many homeowners. Due to its water-resistant properties, it has become a popular material for kitchen and bathroom flooring.
Although it has a lot of benefits, vinyl flooring also comes with a few drawbacks. Before deciding on a material, it is best to have a think about the pros and cons of various flooring options.
It’s easy to believe that flooring only has aesthetic consequences. However, the material that you use for flooring can have health, financial and environmental implications.
To help you make your decision, we have made a list of the pros and cons of vinyl flooring.
- Easy to install
Vinyl can be purchased as sheets, tiles or planks. These types of flooring are generally very easy to install, so it’s not essential to hire a professional. Vinyl flooring usually requires no sawing or hammering, making it suitable for a DIY project. Even if you decide to get help from a professional, it usually won’t cost you much because of vinyl’s easy and uncomplicated installation process.
Some types of vinyl flooring are self-adhesive. With these you can just remove the backing and press the adhesive side onto the subfloor. Luxury vinyl sheets come with either click-lock or loose lay installation methods, which are also DIY friendly.
- Durable and low maintenance
Vinyl is generally able to withstand heavy foot traffic. However, it’s important to note that the level of durability will depend on the type of vinyl flooring you choose.
Resilient sheet vinyl is a common form of vinyl flooring. It is thin, flexible and can be installed with very few seams. This makes it suitable for bathrooms and other facilities that are prone to getting wet. Vinyl tiles are essentially the same as sheet vinyl except it comes in square pieces.
Both vinyl tiles and sheet vinyl have a clear wear layer that protects your floor from stains. The protective layer acts as a barrier against spills, making it very easy to clean and maintain. When there’s a spillage, you can simply use a mop and an appropriate vinyl floor cleaner to remove the stains. This makes vinyl flooring suitable for kitchens and businesses like restaurants and cafes.
Luxury vinyl is a thicker, more rigid material. It usually comes in the form of planks. A rigid core gives your flooring more stability and sturdiness. It can temper or prevent the appearance of dents. Luxury vinyl also features the same wear layer as the previous two types.
Of course, as with any other material, vinyl’s level of durability and quality will vary depending on the supplier.
- Comfortable and quiet
Vinyl flooring is comfortable under foot and can reduce the noise of footsteps. For those with kids or pets, this can be a major blessing. You can also choose to have vinyl flooring that has a padded underlayer to make it even softer and more comfortable to walk on.
Unlike other flooring materials, like ceramic tiles, vinyl doesn’t get cold during the winter. This means you can walk around your house barefoot, without having to worry about freezing floors in the morning.
Standard vinyl flooring is more cost effective when compared to other materials. Even if you choose to go the luxury vinyl route, it will still be less expensive when compared to marble or timber flooring. Because of this, vinyl sheets can be a good option for those on a tight budget. Additionally, the cost of vinyl maintenance is extremely low when compared to other alternatives.
Vinyl flooring also comes in a variety of colours and patterns. The luxury vinyl planks are often made to resemble wood, while the tiles are made to look like ceramic or stone. This means that vinyl can pretty much suit any type of decor that you might fancy. The best part is, you can get the look you want without having to spend money on the real thing.
- Not eco-friendly
Unfortunately the use of vinyl tiles is not eco-friendly. Vinyl flooring is non-biodegradable and is rarely recycled. This means that used tiles and planks will likely end up in landfills as it takes a long time to break down. Moreover, non-renewable resources, like petroleum, are often used during the manufacturing process.
- Prone to dents and punctures
Due to it being softer than other flooring materials, heavy furniture legs can cause vinyl flooring to dent. Sharp objects can easily puncture the surface as well. This can be a problem in kitchens and dining rooms where there are large tables and heavy chairs. In such settings, there’s also a high chance of utensils being dropped accidentally.
Additionally, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the colours and patterns to fade. This makes vinyl flooring unsuitable for outdoor settings.
- Difficult to repair and remove
Since vinyl flooring cannot be refinished, it will need to be removed and replaced once it gets damaged.
Although the installation process is easy, removing vinyl flooring can be a tough job. No special tools are required for vinyl removal, however, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and sweat a little bit.
When removing vinyl flooring, you have cut it up in 12-inch strips with a utility knife. Then you’re to pull each plank off the subfloor one by one. Once the adhesive hardens, it can be tough to remove the residue. Tools like chisels and power scrapers can help you remove the hardened glue. Alternatively, you can use a mixed solution of mild soap and water to soften the residue.
Before making a decision, it’s worth having a think about the pros and cons of different flooring options. Consider your budget and what your lifestyle needs are. These flooring materials aren’t just for looks, they can affect the environment, your finances and your day-to-day life.