Home » Is Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring Good? (Pros & Cons)

Is Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring Good? (Pros & Cons)

Owing to their durability and ease of maintenance, vinyl flooring continues to grow in popularity, gracing both residential and commercial spaces. One of the latest designs on the market, the loose lay vinyl, is quickly dominating the flooring world, thanks to it being incredibly simple to install.

But is loose lay vinyl flooring good? What exactly is it, and is it really an option you should consider spending your money on?

Let’s find out.

What Is Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring?

Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring

Loose lay vinyl is a type of flooring that uses rubber backing to firmly grip the subfloor beneath. What makes it stand out from other flooring products is that it does not require adhesive, fasteners, or a tongue and groove mechanism to keep the planks held in place.

The rubber material generates friction that enables the planks to lay on an existing floor and remain in position for years.  However, for best results, the subfloor must be clean, dust-free, flat, smooth, and dry.

Advantages of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring

1. Easy to Install

One of the reasons loose lay vinyl flooring is so popular is its ease of installation. All you need is to lay the planks next to each other on the subfloor. The weight of the planks and the rubber backing will help keep them in place.

The trick is to place the planks tightly together. If you are worried about the flooring not staying in place, you could go ahead and add some adhesive, but to be honest, you really don’t need to because the friction generated by the rubber backing provides an incredibly firm foundation.

Another aspect that adds to the ease of installation of loose lay vinyl is the floor’s ability to sit on an existing floor. No one wants to go through the hassle of having to get rid of old floors when installing a new one; not only is the process difficult but also pretty time-consuming.

You can set up your loose lay vinyl planks right on top of any surface. All you need to make sure is that the surface is clean and free of moisture.

Check out this video on how to install loose lay vinyl flooring to have an idea of just how easy the entire process is.

2. Does Not Expand or Shrink

Unlike most flooring products, loose lay vinyl is dimensionally stable, meaning, it doesn’t expand or contract with changes in humidity and temperature. As such, during the installation, you won’t need to leave any expansion gaps between the planks and the wall.

The problem with expansion and contraction is that, over time, the planks start developing spaces between them. But because this is not an issue with loose lay vinyl, the flooring is, therefore, considered one of the best options for areas where the floor is likely to get damp.

That’s why you will find many people using it for bathrooms and basements. Without expansion and contraction joints, your floor will stay looking smooth, level, and brand new for many years.

3. Easy to Remove and Reinstall

Since no glue is used to attach loose lay vinyl to the subflooring, you can easily remove and reinstall the planks somewhere else.

This is a great advantage for when you are moving houses because you can just pull the planks out and reinstall them in your new home. It also saves you money because you won’t have to buy new flooring for your new house.

4. Durable

Even the most long-lasting wood floors usually have trouble competing with luxury vinyl planks when it comes to durability.

Luckily, because loose lay vinyl is made from the same winning material that makes luxury vinyl planks, it is just as sturdy and long-lasting. Only the installation process is different; everything else is the same.

5. Affordable

Loose lay vinyl planks are an economical way to revamp your flooring not only because you don’t necessarily need to hire a professional to do the installation for you, but also because the planks themselves are inexpensive.

Depending on the brand and who you are buying from, a plank will cost you around $3 to $8, which is not too bad considering you won’t have to spend any extra money on installation.

Disadvantages of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring

problems of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring

1. Recommended for Low-Traffic Areas

Because no adhesive is used to keep the planks firmly attached to the ground, loose lay flooring is best recommended for areas that don’t receive too much traffic.

Though the rubber backing gives the planks a pretty good grip to the subfloor, if this flooring is constantly being walked on and exposed to more weight than it can handle, over time, the backing will lose its grip, causing the planks to develop seams and warp.

You will be better off installing loose lay vinyl flooring in bathrooms, basements, and other low-traffic areas. For high-traffic rooms like your kitchen or living room, consider glued or click and lock options.

2. Limited Availability

Loose lay vinyl is a relatively new product. Not all floor manufacturers produce it, which means it may be a little difficult to come by.

Also, not all companies that claim to sell loose vinyl flooring actually sell what they say they do. Some will sell you a flexible product that looks like a peel-and-stick tile and convince you that it is indeed loose lay vinyl flooring.

The good thing, however, is that all vinyl brands will have laid out instructions on how to install their product, so you will be able to figure out beforehand whether a product is real loose lay vinyl or not.

It is also important to keep in mind that since there aren’t many producers of loose lay vinyl flooring, you will likely not have a wide variety of designs to choose from like you would with glued or click and lock options. In other words, styles that mimic rare wood colors and designs may be harder to find.

Is Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring Good?

Is Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring Good

Now that we have laid both the good and the bad of loose lay vinyl, let’s answer the question you have eagerly been waiting to find an answer to – Is loose lay vinyl flooring good?

Looking at the many advantages of this flooring, we can confidently say that loose lay vinyl is a flooring worth considering. It is cheap and because you don’t need to enlist the services of an expert to install it for you, it is ultimately one of the most economical floorings on the market today.

If you are someone who moves houses a lot and likes to take your flooring with you, loose lay vinyl can be a great time saver, as it can be removed and reinstalled with ease. And because it is durable, you can be able to reuse it for many years and still manage to maintain that sparkle the flooring had when you first bought it.

Sure, loose lay vinyl may not work well in high traffic areas, but then again, this flooring is quite affordable especially because you can install it yourself. When you consider just how much you can save by not hiring a professional, it’s fair to say that you can manage to replace flooring in high-traffic areas without breaking the bank.

Tips for Buying Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring

Loose lay vinyl is a truly good product, but to get maximum value for your money, there are a few things you should keep in mind when buying your flooring. Here are the two most important:

Consider the Thickness

One of the most crucial things to pay attention to when buying your vinyl planks is the thickness level. This level is usually measured in millimeters, and the higher the number, the better the quality of the product.

Most loose lay vinyl planks will run between 4mm and 8mm thick. It is important that you choose planks of the same thickness level to keep the floor even.

Get a Warranty On Your Flooring

Even before you place your order, make sure to find out whether you will get a warranty and its terms based on how you intend to use the flooring.

If you plan to install the product in a commercial space, for instance, some retailers may give you a warranty that lasts longer than someone buying the flooring for a residential space.

The reason behind this is that commercial floors tend to wear out faster because they are often subjected to higher traffic than residential floors. Avoid buying your flooring from retailers who don’t offer a warranty on their products.

The Takeaway

Loose lay vinyl planks are a great option to consider if you are looking for flooring that is affordable, easy to install, and one that will maintain its sparkle for a long time. The rubber on the back is strong enough to hold the flooring firmly on the ground and keep it there for many years.

Pick planks with a decent thickness to ensure a longer lifespan and don’t leave the store without a warranty for your flooring.

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