Vinyl flooring is a resilient flooring option with a high level of durability. Common styles offered include vinyl sheets, luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), and luxury vinyl planks (LVP). Resembling natural stone or wood looks, vinyl flooring is made using a layered construction with a variety of materials to create a stylish and durable flooring product. Recent advancements in vinyl construction make nearly all types of vinyl flooring a cost-effective and durable flooring choice that resists most stains, moisture, and damage.
LUXURY VINYL TILE AND LUXURY VINYL PLANK
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) are vinyl flooring options that can provide the look of stone, tile, and hardwood, depending on your preference. While sheet vinyl is typically produced in rolls, luxury vinyl tile comes cut into squares. Luxury vinyl plank, on the other hand, is cut into planks. Luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tiles all have a multi-layer construction that helps provide stability and flexibility. The layers are listed below:
Approximately 65% of the total composition of luxury vinyl tile and luxury vinyl plank is the base layer. In addition to flexibility, the base layer helps enhance the flooring’s resistance to dents and moisture. Limestone in LVT helps to provide dent resistance, and can even feel warmer underfoot, compared to traditional ceramic tiles.
The visual layer of luxury vinyl flooring is made using a realistic image of real hardwood or stone. The advancements in manufacturing techniques and technology have greatly improved the look of the visual layer in recent years. The printing process creates extremely realistic images and minimizes duplication.
The finish layer is a clear top coat of polyurethane aluminum oxide, which helps each individual plank and tile resist wear, stains and abrasions. The strong finish layer not only helps protect the materials below, but it also aids in resisting mold and mildew. When an embossing application is applied to the finish layer, a textured feel is created to make the luxury vinyl tiles and luxury vinyl planks feel similar to real wood, stone, or slate.
While not necessary for the installation of luxury vinyl tile flooring, many customers prefer to add grout as it can add authenticity to the look of the floor.
Vinyl sheet flooring offers a stone, slate, or wood look that is manufactured as one solid, continuous piece of flooring. Sheet vinyl is manufactured in rolls, and has a fused 6-ply double encapsulated construction. The layers of sheet vinyl are:
The bottom-most layer of sheet vinyl is the comfort layer. This layer adds a soft underfoot cushioning and additional support to the floor. In addition, the cushioning smooths out many of the seams in sheet vinyl and can help with noise reduction.
The foam layer enhances the flexibility of sheet vinyl flooring and is created with a mixture of resins and plasticizers. This mixture has the consistency of pancake batter and is spread onto the felt or wood pulp base layer. This is then heated in an oven where the vinyl foam sets. The foam layer enhances the cushioning properties and can prevent “telegraphing” or indentations. Essentially, it helps the sheet vinyl flooring bounce back and is less likely to leave permanent indents from furniture. The insulating properties of foam not only help soften sounds, they also make vinyl floors warm underfoot during cold winter months.
The visual layer mimics the look and feel of real stone, marble, slate and wood with exceptional clarity. By using advanced printing technology, a combination of vivid colors can be used during printing to create beautiful images and illustrate depth, replicating the natural characteristics of real stone, marble, slate, and wood flooring.
The fiberglass layer is added to the sheet vinyl flooring to help prevent expanding, cracking and/or curling. This layer is important to the overall strength and durability of the sheet vinyl flooring.
Encapsulated by PVC vinyl, the fiberglass layer is the base of the product providing dimensional stability and a surface integrity. This layer has a “memory” to keep the vinyl flooring lying flat, which helps prevent curling and buckling.
Clear Protective Layer
A layer of protection is applied to sheet vinyl flooring before the final layer. This coating of translucent urethane helps resist scuffs, scrapes and stains to keep the sheet vinyl floors looking new. Texture added to the clear protective layer can reduce slipping hazards and makes the sheet vinyl flooring feel more realistic and natural. The tough urethane coating resists most moisture penetration and can provide additional protection against mold and mildew provided in this antibacterial surface.
Antimicrobial Protective Layer
The finish layer, (or antimicrobial protective layer), is a translucent clear finish applied to protect the layers below. The finish layer can be in a matte or a high-gloss sheen with embossing to create texture which helps reduce slickness on the floor.
To promote good air quality, the antimicrobial protective layer on sheet vinyl flooring meets clean air legislation requirements and has been tested for harmful and hazardous emissions. This protective layer also helps reduce molding, mildew, and bacterial retention.
The polyurethane finish helps create a clear, matte finish after being exposed to high temperatures in an oven. For a high-gloss finish layer, a roller is used to apply a coating of polyurethane to the finish of the sheet vinyl.
The top urethane layer enhances the scratch-resistant, fade-resistant and stain-resistant properties of the sheet vinyl flooring, helping to increase overall durability.