Vinyl Flooring Pros & Cons
Vinyl flooring, including Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), has gained traction among homeowners and flippers over the past decade and the reason is simple – the look, functionality and durability of vinyl floor products have been getting better and better over the last few years. As a top flooring company in Charlotte, Fabricio Hardwood Floors has quite a bit of experience installing all types of flooring. Below we discuss, in our opinion, the PROS and CONS of using vinyl flooring for residential applications.
Vinyl Flooring Overview
When it comes to flooring, most people like the real thing – wood, stone or tile because of the way they look and feel and the value they add to a home. However, there is growing number of budget-conscious consumers opting for vinyl floors because they look good, cost less and offer a wide range of benefits. It’s true that professionally installed, high quality vinyl floor products look great, are durable and require less maintenance than their counterparts.
In our opinion, nothing will ever replace the natural beauty and refinement of hardwood floors, but vinyl flooring, which is a plastic (polyvinyl chloride plastic – PVC) is a solid alternative if you have to do without the real thing. Vinyl floors have come a long way and the sheer number of choices (colors, style, patterns) available today are nothing short of astounding.
Vinyl floors, and in particular LVP and LVT, are made of at least three layers: the core layer which is rigid and works as the foundation on which other layers are built; the pattern layer, which is created using 3D printing techniques and embossing, to mimic natural flooring materials (wood, stone or tile); and the wear layer, which is engineered to protect the vinyl flooring from damages including UV rays, scratching, moisture and normal wear and tear from foot traffic.
Some of the best LVP and LVT in the market have additional layers like an underlayment for increased noise and shock absorption. Vinyl flooring comes in singular planks and tiles that are thick, with texture you can feel and some bounce, just like solid and engineered wood floors. LVP and and LVT are extremely realistic looking with seams making them difficult to differentiate from wood, stone and tile which is of course, the original intent.
PROS of Vinyl Flooring
There are several benefits of vinyl floors over other types of flooring materials. We cover some of those benefits below.
A big positive for vinyl flooring over solid wood floors is its water resistance property. Vinyl is made of plastic, which is a non porous material. Because vinyl planks and tiles interlock, they provide water resistance at the seam. Some vinyl flooring brands now sell planks and tiles that are 100% waterproof. Vinyl floors are a great option for bathrooms, kitchens and areas where moisture can be an issue like a mudroom.
Vinyl floors are highly durable because their top protective layer (the wear layer). Higher quality vinyl planks and tiles even have UV resistance built in the wear layer. With vinyl flooring, you get a product that won’t scratch easily, won’t fade from the sun, resist moisture and don’t absorb odors like solid wood floors. Further, some brands of vinyl flooring like Pergo®, Mohawk and Shaw offer long-term and even lifetime warranties with their products.
Good For Your Feet!
Quality vinyl flooring feels great to walk on. The best LVP and LVT have shock and noise absorbing properties (unlike wood, stone and tile) built in. Additional underlayment can also be installed to provide additional padding and cushioning. Consequently, when standing on vinyl floors in your kitchen for example, you are less likely to experience leg fatigue than with wood, stone and tile floors.
This is a big positive over solid wood floors especially if you have pets. Pets will scratch wood flooring, but it’s a different story with vinyl flooring. The wear layer provides lots of protection and resists scratching and pet stains!
Easy Maintenance & Cleaning
The low porosity of luxury vinyl floors makes them easy to clean and maintain. Vinyl floors are by far much easier to care for than any other types of flooring materials. No special cleaner is required, though you should stay away from abrasive cleaners when cleaning your vinyl floors.
Best Alternative To Wood Floors
Vinyl flooring looks and feels like real wood. With a good quality installation and vinyl plank product, you would be hard pressed to determine whether the flooring you are walking on is real wood floors or vinyl.
Not all vinyl flooring is created equal and quality does matter when it comes to looks, construction and durability. The cost of LVP and LVT can run anywhere from $1.50 to $9 per square foot without installation and labor.
Investing in quality vinyl flooring and having it installed by a professional floorer like Fabricio Hardwood Floors is the best way to ensure that your floors will look great. Because the use of vinyl flooring has been adopted in more and more homes, it will likely make a home more desirable and valuable when the time comes to sell it.
Vinyl flooring is non-porous and highly durable. For those reasons, it can be installed in spaces where hardwood floors would otherwise not work. It can be installed in bathrooms, on concrete and wood subfloors and in hot and humid spaces (like a sunroom). Vinyl flooring is a super product with tons of benefits. However, it does have some shortcomings which we discuss below
CONS of Vinyl Flooring
While there are an overwhelming amount of positives associated with vinyl flooring, there are also some negatives.
Long exposure to direct sunlight will cause some vinyl flooring to fade. Vinyl floor products that have built in UV ray resistance in their wear layer are more resistant to UV rays, but over the years, some fading could occur. And unlike solid wood floors, vinyl floors cannot be refinished to correct fading.
Can’t Change The Color and Finish
Unlike solid wood floors, vinyl flooring cannot be refinished and stained a different color. When choosing your vinyl flooring, you will have to make sure you pick a color you will like and enjoy for many year because a change of taste will require new flooring to be installed.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
As explained on the EPA website, VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands including some vinyl flooring because they are made of plastic. VOCs are not that great for health so you will want to make sure that the vinyl flooring you select has low VOCs emission.
Difficult To Repair
Even though they are highly durable, vinyl flooring can get damaged from dropping a heavy or sharp object on it, or dropping something really hot on it (since it is plastic) like a cigarette or hot pot. Whatever the case is, vinyl flooring is difficult to repair because of the way it is installed: glued down or interlocking / floating. There is really no such thing as repairing a damaged vinyl plank. It has to be replaced and the process involved to repair it is far from easy.
Vinyl Is Not A “Green” Product
Vinyl is not biodegradable and cannot be recycled which makes it not eco-friendly. Since it can be repaired, disregarded vinyl planks end up in landfills.
In our opinion, quality vinyl flooring is a solid option if you are trying to save some money on new floors. If you live in the Charlotte area and are interested in having LVP and LVT installed in your home, call Fabricio Hardwood Floors today or fill out our online estimate request form.