Vinyl flooring has become a well-liked type of flooring in recent years. In China, Europe and American, vinyl flooring is usually called PVC flooring.
Model kit enthusiasts are no stranger to PVC, or polyvinyl chloride; soft plastic toys are sometimes made of vinyl.
Vinyl flooring and PVC flooring are basically the same thing. PVC flooring is a type of flooring which is further categorised by their usage, composition, and specific traits.
Before making your purchase, make sure to look at some vinyl PVC flooring pros and cons!
How is vinyl flooring made?
German chemist, Eugen Baumann, invented PVC, polyvinyl chloride, in 1872. Initially seen as a useless material, PVC was not widely used and manufactured until the beginning of the eighties in Chinese market.
According to mainland Chinese PVC manufacturers, vinyl flooring’s main components are polyvinyl chloride and copolymers.
After the addition of fillers, plasticisers, stabiliser, pigments, the base material undergoes coating and calendaring (rolling) process to become the vinyl flooring we can buy from renovation material stores.
Structures and forms
Vinyl flooring is available in three types of structures: (1) Multi-layer complex, (2) single-material (3) semi single-material.
All are sold in two different forms: sheets and tiles. While sheets are softer and usually sold in rolls, tiles come in more styles and are sold in rectangular tiles and planks.
Multi-layer complex sheets
- Consist of 4-5 layers: a UV-treated wear layer, a pattern layer, a fiberglass layer, a cushion layer and a base layer
Multi-layer complex tiles
- Consist of 3-4 compressed layers: a UV-treated wear layer, a pattern layer, a stabilising layer and a base layer
Single-material sheets and tiles
- Sheets or tiles, single-material vinyl flooring is made of one single material and of one pattern, top to bottom
Vinyl flooring sheets
What’s so good about vinyl/ PVC flooring?
1. Comes in many patterns and colours
Wood, carpet, stone, metal, you name it. Vinyl flooring pattern can be customised to your heart’s desire, basically anything you can think of.
If you lie vinyl imitation of wood flooring and solid hardwood flooring side by side for a visual comparison, you might not be able to tell them apart.
2. Texture imitation
Even the textures of wood and stone tiles can be imitated.
3. Environmental certification
In the recent years, PVC-manufacturing industries which are highly polluting and energy-consuming have been trying to develop ‘green’ vinyl flooring to improve their public image.
PVC is originally a harmless substance, but because the production of vinyl flooring involves a lot of additives and plasticisers, this type of flooring has a bad reputation of being harmful to humans.
When purchasing vinyl flooring, always choose products which complies with the ISO 9000 Quality Management System standards and ISO 14000 Environmental Management standards. This ensures the flooring you purchase is both safe and environmentally friendly.
On a side note, PVC is a recyclable flooring material.
4. Light and thin
Compared to wood, tiles and carpets, vinyl flooring excels in both weight and thickness.
5. Flexible and resistant to wear
High-quality PVC is flexible and unlikely to break upon high-impact collision. Vinyl sheets perform especially well in resisting shock.
6. Moisture-resistant and fireproof
High level of humidity does not at all affect the performance of vinyl flooring. Certified vinyl flooring’s anti-flammable quality is only second to stone.
7. Anti-slip and soundproof
The wear layer’s anti-slippery function makes this type of flooring suitable for outdoor and other public places where safety is a prime concern.
Hospitals often install vinyl flooring for its soundproofing quality.
Special treatment on the surface of vinyl flooring makes it resistant to bacterial growth.
9. Affordable and easy to upkeep
Vinyl flooring only requires basic cleaning; it is also affordable compared to other types of flooring.
10. Suitable for DIY
Installing and repairing vinyl flooring is simple. For vinyl tiles, a good adhesive is all you need.
Many opt for vinyl flooring for the myriad of patterns and colours.
Then what are the shortcomings of vinyl/ PVC flooring?
1. Relatively short lifespan
Vinyl flooring has a shorter lifespan compared to other types of flooring.
2. Difficult installation for sheet vinyl flooring
Repairing vinyl sheets is more difficult and installation require professional skills.
‘Recyclable’ and ‘degradable’ are completely different concepts. Old vinyl flooring takes about 500 years to decompose.
4. Quality might vary
Low-quality vinyl flooring releases VOCs which are harmful to humans and animal. Some adhesive might release VOCs as well.
5. UV discolouration and propensity to warp
Prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat might cause problems like discolouration and warping. PVC expands and shrinks under extreme temperatures; gaps on the floor might appear during winter days when the temperature drops sharply.
Tips from Deco-Man
- Opt for seamless vinyl flooring to avoid gaps appearing in winter days.
- Installation by adhesive makes the installing process easy, but the removal process difficult.
- As manufacturing technique advances, adhesive-less vinyl flooring is now available on the market.
- Heavy furniture might leave grooves on vinyl flooring. Installation might become more difficult in cornered areas of the house.
So how does vinyl flooring score?