Nowadays, there are so many different options for flooring, but in recent years vinyl has emerged as one of the most popular. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, low-maintenance and extremely durable, so this is hardly surprising, and it’s now found in homes across the country.
However, within the family of vinyl flooring, there are several different types, so in this post, we will talk about a fashionable and convenient choice as we answer the question, what is click vinyl plank flooring?
Table of Contents
- What is modern vinyl flooring?
- So what’s click vinyl plank flooring?
- What are the advantages of click vinyl plank flooring?
- What are the disadvantages of click vinyl plank flooring?
- Why choose click vinyl plank flooring?
- When isn’t click vinyl plank flooring suitable?
- A great choice for a range of flooring applications
What is modern vinyl flooring?
Before we discuss click vinyl plank flooring specifically, it’s worth taking a few moments to think about vinyl flooring in general and what it is.
Vinyl flooring appeared in the 1930s and grew in popularity during the ‘40s and ‘50s as an alternative to linoleum, and this was due to the fact that it boasts many desirable qualities.
Vinyl is naturally waterproof, it’s tough and durable and is an affordable material to work with. It’s also easy to install and is suitable for most rooms in the house, so understandably, increasing numbers of homeowners turned to this material for their floors.
However, vinyl flooring today has come on a lot since those early days. Vinyl flooring was originally laid in sheets, and the patterns were not particularly realistic.
These planks and tiles are even textured to make it look and feel even more believable, yet vinyl flooring sells for a fraction of the price of the real thing.
The planks or tiles can be glued in place, they can come with self-adhesive backing or they can be installed as “floating” floors. Click vinyl plank flooring is a type of floating installation, so let’s have a look at that in more detail now.
So what’s click vinyl plank flooring?
Almost all modern luxury vinyl flooring has a similar composition, regardless of the format.
It usually features an aluminum oxide top layer that protects it from UV damage and minor scratches, under which comes a tougher protective layer that guards against more serious scrapes and other damage.
Below this is the decorative layer, the photo-realistic image of wood, ceramic or other material, and below this is the backing layer, consisting of tough rigid vinyl.
What sets click vinyl flooring apart from other types is the way it is installed. Each plank or tile has a ridge along the side that fits into the piece next to it to hold it firmly in place, so to install it, you just line up each piece with the one next to it and click it into place.
This means that once laid, the flooring will remain securely in place without the need for glue or adhesives. The joints then offer a good amount of water resistance since the pieces lock firmly together once laid.
At the same, to accommodate this groove, click vinyl plank flooring is usually thicker than other types of vinyl flooring.
Due to this thickness, click vinyl floor is more forgiving of being laid over imperfect surfaces, so you might not need to worry about putting down underlayment, something that’s recommended with glue-down vinyl floors.
It can also be laid directly over most surfaces, including cement, granite, tile, laminate and more.
What are the advantages of click vinyl plank flooring?
Due to the click-fit installation method, click vinyl plank flooring offers several distinct advantages over other types of vinyl flooring.
Perhaps the most obvious advantage is that this type of flooring is extremely easy to install, requiring no special skills or tools. It is suitable for DIY installation, so anyone can save themselves a bit of money by doing it themselves, and it doesn’t take long to do, either.
Furthermore, with click flooring, there’s little scope for error, making it almost impossible to mess up the installation.
Since there’s no glue involved, once the planks are laid, you can walk on them straight away because you don’t need to wait for the adhesive to dry, saving you even more time.
Coupled with this is the fact that since there’s no glue, it’s also easy to remove – but the grooves hold it securely in place, so it won’t move around once installation is complete.
Like other types of LVF, click vinyl planks are highly realistic, so you can have a wood or ceramic look while saving yourself a whole lot of cash.
Modern vinyl planks are made to look not just like generic “wood” but to replicate the appearance and texture of different species of wood – as well as ceramic tiles, stone floors and more.
Due to the extra thickness of the planks, this type of flooring also tends to be softer and more comfortable to walk on – and it doesn’t get as cold as real wood or tile during the winter.
- Easy to install
- Suitable for DIY installation
- Quick installation
- Grooves hold planks firmly in place
- Easy to remove and replace
- Highly realistic
- Comfortable to walk on
What are the disadvantages of click vinyl plank flooring?
Click vinyl plank flooring has many advantages, but it also has one or two drawbacks.
Although it’s very stable once in place, it still doesn’t match glue-down flooring. In residential settings, this usually isn’t a problem, but in commercial environments like offices, restaurants, stores and hospitals, the increased traffic may cause click flooring to move about.
Similarly, in larger rooms, click flooring might tend to move around more just due to the size – although, in regular-sized rooms, this won’t be an issue.
Another downside is that because of the grooves in the planks, you can’t just pull up one piece if it’s damaged. Instead, you’ll have to pull up all the planks from the side of the room until you reach the damaged one, making the job much longer.
Bear in mind also that vinyl is not considered a particularly green material since it’s quite hard to recycle, and most old vinyl flooring still ends up in landfill. It is also known to give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), especially when new.
- May move about in very high-traffic areas
- May shift in larger rooms
- Not possible to remove single planks for repairs
- Not environmentally friendly
- Gives off VOCs
Why choose click vinyl plank flooring?
So when would click vinyl flooring be a good choice?
This type of flooring is an ideal choice for homeowners who want affordable, convenient, durable and water-resistant flooring that they can install themselves. It’s also suitable for any room, including kitchens and bathrooms.
It’s a great choice for those who want the classy look of natural wood or tiles but who don’t want to pay premium prices.
Click vinyl flooring is often more affordable than glue-down vinyl because it’s cheaper to fit – so even if you call in professionals to do the job, it will take them less time and so should cost less for the labor.
It’s also a good choice if you think you might change your mind later since you can easily remove it and replace it with something else.
Another similar material is laminate flooring, and these two materials share many of the same characteristics, but vinyl looks slightly more realistic and makes less noise underfoot, so for us, vinyl is probably the better option.
When isn’t click vinyl plank flooring suitable?
If you are installing the flooring in an area with heavy foot traffic – especially in a commercial setting – glue-down flooring is probably a better choice.
Although glue-down flooring is more expensive to install because it takes longer, the adhesive will hold it in place more securely, so you won’t need to replace it as quickly – which may save you money in the long run.
Another point to consider is the effect you are hoping to create.
While click vinyl flooring is now extremely realistic, it still can’t replicate the look and feel of genuine hardwood or ceramic tile floor.
Although vinyl is less expensive and has other advantages over the real, thing if you’re less concerned with saving money and more interested in obtaining a high-end look and feel, going for real wood or tile can be a better choice.
Furthermore, while luxury vinyl flooring can add to the value of a property, genuine hardwood or ceramic floors will increase the value even more, so this could also be a point to bear in mind.
A great choice for a range of flooring applications
As you can see, luxury vinyl flooring in the form of click-fit planks has many advantages, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive floor material that’s tough and durable, easy to install, requires little care and looks great, click vinyl plank flooring should be high on your list of possibilities.