From a distance, vinyl flooring types and brands seem to blend. Even the lowest quality vinyl floor can put on a good show. Before installing a vinyl floor, you need to examine it closely to determine if it matches your desired quality standards. Several factors determine the quality of vinyl flooring. These include the thickness and quality of the vinyl layers, brand reputation, the flooring's longevity, and the installation type.
We've come up with vinyl flooring reviews that look into the vinyl floor structure, top brands in the business, and installation types you should consider if you're flooring a new house or renovating an old one.
Vinyl Flooring Layers
For comfort, durability, and resistance to the elements, vinyl flooring comprises seven layers carefully put together in a very delicate process. The characteristics of these layers determine the quality of the vinyl flooring. These characteristics include the wear layer's thickness and quality, the visual layer, the core, and the register embossing. When selecting the type of vinyl flooring to use in your project, you need to take a closer look at these factors.
The vinyl flooring layers are arranged as follows:
- Topcoat: This is the urethane finish. As its name suggests, this is the uppermost layer of the vinyl flooring. It's the first line of defense against damage and provides the shine typical of vinyl flooring.
- Wear layer: This is the second layer from the top, which protects the pattern layer. It determines how well the flooring holds up over time.
- Pattern layer: The pattern layer holds the color and design of the vinyl flooring.
- Cushion layer: This layer provides texture and elasticity to the vinyl flooring.
- Fiberglass: The fiberglass layer gives the vinyl flooring structure. It keeps it flat and prevents curling over time.
- Base layer: This is the foundation of the vinyl flooring on which all other layers are built.
Vinyl Flooring Brands
Brand reputation is an important consideration to make when installing vinyl flooring in your home. Here are six vinyl flooring reviews of brands that are considered the best in the business.
Shaw Vinyl Flooring
Shaw offers vinyl planks, vinyl tiles, and vinyl sheets designed to meet modern flooring demands. It features luxury vinyl products in a broad range of flooring styles. Its VersaFit technology allows versatile installation methods.
Common issues raised by consumers in the Shaw reviews include excessive wear, faulty installation mechanisms, and denied warranty claims.
Home Depot Vinyl Flooring
Low price point and in-stock accessibility are the standout qualities of Home Depot’s vinyl plank flooring. Its best product is LifeProof luxury vinyl flooring. LifeProof has a 7-mm thickness that provides insulation against cold and a soft footfall. Since it's made of polymer-based materials, the flooring can't absorb water and deteriorate despite its thickness.
Armstrong Vinyl Flooring
This brand focuses on simplicity over design. Armstrong offers plank flooring, tile flooring, sheet flooring, commercial vinyl plank flooring, and rigid core luxury vinyl flooring. Armstrong vinyl floors can be installed on several subfloor materials, including sheet vinyl, tile, concrete, wood, sanded OSB, and underlayment. Most of its styles are wood-style, such as jatoba, walnut, and oak.
Lumber Liquidators Vinyl Flooring
Fall parking lot sales, flash sales, clearance sales, and grab-bag mystery products are the trademark of this brand, which is relatively newer than Armstrong, Shaw, and other old guards. Lumber Liquidators is the one-stop-shop for all your ultra-thin luxury vinyl needs. The low price of the ultra-thin luxury vinyl flooring is most suitable for fast installation in a beach house, outbuilding, rental, or temporary floor for a remodel project.
Lumber Liquidators' major products are CoreLuxe and Tranquility.
Mannington Vinyl Flooring
Mannington vinyl flooring offers plank, sheet, tile, luxury vinyl, and the widely used Adura. Its key features include ease of maintenance, waterproof, integrated underlayment pads, fading and staining resistance, dent resistance, and design versatility with a realistic stone and wood look. It's an ideal choice for basement finishing, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.
Coretec Vinyl Flooring
High-end construction and design, which gives it a hardwood look, real graining and texture, waterproof quality, and pet-friendliness, are the key features of Coretec vinyl flooring. It's ideal for spaces that need attractive, high-quality floorings such as the living room and hallways. Its vinyl plank flooring, however, has the highest price in the market.
Installing Vinyl Flooring
After choosing the best vinyl flooring, the next step is installation. Installing vinyl flooring is pretty straightforward. There are a ton of installation options. You can do it yourself with an installation kit from the manufacturer, or hire a contractor to guarantee a smooth, professional look.
Since each house is different, there's no one-size-fits-all installation type. You have to figure out which installation suits your home. The four main installation types are loose lay, interlocking, glue down, and peel and stick.
This is the easiest method of vinyl flooring installation. The vinyl planks are held in place by a backing that grips the subfloor. In a room with high traffic, double-sided carpet tape is placed underneath the planks and around the perimeter to keep the planks from moving.
This installation method locks the vinyl planks together to create a floating floor. Since it doesn't adhere to the subfloor, its weight holds it in place.
This method is ideal for high traffic areas that need permanent flooring with a super-secure hold. A pressure-sensitive adhesive is used to bond the flooring to the subfloor below it.
Peel and stick
As the name suggests, installing the flooring only requires you to peel off the backing to expose the adhesive and pressing it onto the subfloor surface. This installation is ideal for low traffic areas since peel and stick vinyl isn’t very durable.
The key factors to mull over when choosing the best vinyl flooring for your residential or business premise include the manufacturing brand, quality and thickness of the vinyl layers, and the installation type. The vinyl flooring reviews above should help you in your research and decision-making.