Vinyl Flooring Is Not What It Used to Be
14th March 2017
The idea of covering the floor with a pliable, resilient material has been around for a long time. Linoleum, the ancestor of modern vinyl flooring, has been available in the United States since 1872. Linoleum is not the same as vinyl flooring and is made of wood pulp and plant resins with a soft surface and a need for regular waxing; disadvantages compared to the more recently invented vinyl floor coverings.
Vinyl flooring first appeared in Chicago in 1933 at the Century of Progress Exposition. It hit the market in Virginia and other parts of the U.S. in the late 1940s, when ingredients were freed-up after World War II, and vinyl quickly outpaced linoleum as the chosen floor covering in American homes. Vinyl flooring is now the second choice in flooring material after carpet in the U.S. due to its reasonable installation price, low maintenance needs, and versatility of use.
Vinyl flooring is a plastic product made of polyvinyl chloride which can be formed into sheets, tiles, and planks. Sheet vinyl is most commonly available in 12 foot wide rolls, as well as extra-wide rolls up to 14 feet 6 inches in width for use in mobile homes, commercial, and industrial applications. Vinyl tiles are most commonly 12 inches square, although other sizes are available. Vinyl planks in sizes and shapes resembling wooden floor boards are also now manufactured.
Advantages of Newer Vinyl Flooring Materials
The main advantages of vinyl flooring over other types of resilient flooring material are its scratch resistance, low maintenance requirements, and broad range of possibilities in colors and surface patterns. The extra-hard surfaces now available are especially scratch and dent resistant, and this durable surface also means a built-in shine with no need for waxing or polishing.
Colors and textures can be added to the material during manufacture with the addition of chips of vinyl. These embedded chips last longer with wear from traffic and exposure to light and chemicals. The deeper layering of colored materials also produce designs with greater depth and texture, making patterns resembling wood, tile, and other materials appear more convincing.
The newest vinyl flooring is also lower than ever in VOC emissions, and increasingly, vinyl flooring products are made with recycled materials and greener manufacturing processes.
Vinyl flooring is an excellent choice for rooms where moisture is present. Sheet vinyl can usually be placed in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, and mudrooms without any visible seams, creating a surface that is virtually impenetrable to water and moisture.
While the surface of modern vinyl flooring is harder and more durable, it is still softer and warmer than tile, the other practical choice for high-moisture rooms. Vinyl floors are easy on the feet, and while they are most common in utilitarian rooms like kitchens, newer, high-end vinyl flooring products are being used more and more in living rooms, bedrooms, and dens. Special types of vinyl flooring can also be installed on stairways.
New Vinyl Flooring Options
Newer vinyl flooring is better than similar products of the past. Improvements in the embossing and photogravure technologies used for making patterns on the flooring surface are now more sophisticated than ever. Authentic looking patterns mimicking ceramic tile, mosaic, slate, marble, and all kinds of wood are now readily available, longer-lasting, and more scratch resistant than their predecessors. Consumers can pick from an array of gloss levels from matt to high-gloss finishes.
Newer vinyl flooring also has superior ability to resist microbial attack, reducing problems from mildew, mold, and bacteria. This also results in a longer-lasting floor and less problems with rot in moisture prone areas. Keeping new vinyl floors clean and shiny takes little more than sweeping or vacuuming followed by mopping with a mild cleanser.
Shopping for Vinyl Flooring Near Hopewell
When shopping for new vinyl flooring, the most important consideration for determining quality is the top layer, called the wear-layer. The wear-layer is what protects the photogravure image underneath. The thicker this layer is, the better the flooring will stand up to traffic and use. Thicker wear layers are also more expensive.
U.S. brands of vinyl flooring measure wear layer in one-thousands of an inch, called a mil. Ten to 12 mil of wear-layer in vinyl flooring products are considered light-duty and typically have a warranty of five years or less. Twenty mil vinyl flooring is medium duty with a usual warranty of 10 years, and the highest grade of wear-layer is 40 mils thick with a typical commercial warranty of 20 years or more.
If you are considering installing new vinyl flooring in your home or business in Chester, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, Prince George, or surrounding locations, visit Accent of Floorís huge showroom in Hopewell, or let our mobile Shop@Home service come and show you the possibilities in your home or office.