Home » PVC Flooring vs. Vinyl Flooring: What’s the Difference?

PVC Flooring vs. Vinyl Flooring: What’s the Difference?

Are you considering vinyl for your new flooring project? A term that might frequently come up in your search is PVC flooring. Things might become even more complicated when you have to compare between LVP, LVT, EVP, EVT, and so on.

I know from first-hand experience how overwhelming figuring out vinyl flooring products can be. So, we’ll take it one step at a time. I wrote this article to explain everything you need to know when comparing PVC flooring vs. vinyl flooring. We’ll talk about the differences, pros and cons, and even installation costs. Keep reading to find out more.

What is Vinyl Flooring?

What is Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a type of resilient flooring product made primarily from polyvinyl chloride. Other materials such as fiberglass, resin, plasticizer, wood flour, and stone composite are mixed in varying quantities.

There are different types of vinyl flooring, and we will look at that in a bit. All vinyl flooring products are made of several layers, resulting in a durable, hardwearing, and low-maintenance flooring material.

The foundational layer is a polyvinyl core at the bottom, followed by a printed design layer and a top transparent wear layer that offers protection against moisture, scratches, and stains. The number of layers can increase when more material is added to give the flooring product a more rigid core. The additional layers also differentiate the various types of vinyl flooring.

What is PVC Flooring?

What is PVC Flooring

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. So, PVC is flooring made from polyvinyl chloride. If you are thinking: Is polyvinyl chloride the same as vinyl flooring? The answer is: yes! PVC and vinyl flooring is one and the same thing

Polyvinyl chloride is the official name of the flooring product, while vinyl flooring is a short form or alternative name. Let’s admit it: it is easier to say vinyl flooring than polyvinyl chloride flooring. PVC and vinyl flooring are appropriate alternatives to polyvinyl chloride flooring, thus popular in everyday conversation.

Why Is Vinyl Flooring So Popular?

Undoubtedly, vinyl flooring is all the rage. Everyone from flooring manufacturers to floor installation experts and homeowners is raving about vinyl. But, vinyl flooring has been around for decades. Newer products, which very closely resemble hardwood, ceramic tile, and natural stone, are attracting considerable attention, and for a good reason.

Vinyl flooring is so popular because it is an extremely resilient yet affordable flooring option. Unlike hardwood, PVC flooring is scratch-resistant and waterproof, yet hardwood can cost double the cost of vinyl per square meter.

Aside from affordability and durability, new technology has enabled manufacturers to produce PVC flooring products that are super similar to real hardwood, stone, and ceramic tile. To the naked eye, it is hard to tell the difference between vinyl flooring and the real natural material, be it wood, ceramic, or stone.

Homeowners can now install exquisite, high-end-looking resilient vinyl flooring at a fraction of what it would cost to install hardwood floors.

Different Types of Vinyl Flooring

Now that you know the difference between PVC flooring vs. vinyl flooring (there is none), and you understand why vinyl flooring is a top choice among homeowners, let us look at the options you have when choosing PVC flooring.

Sheet Vinyl

Sheet Vinyl

Sheet vinyl is the oldest type of PVC flooring, and it was commonly installed in the kitchen and bathroom for its waterproof properties. As the name suggests, the product comes in large rolled sheets, which the store can cut to your specifications.

Sheet vinyl comes in many design patterns and textures and has a soft, cushiony underlayment. The sheets are cut accordingly and glued to the floor using a manufacturer-recommended adhesive.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring (LVP)

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring (LVP)

As new vinyl flooring options hit the market, sheet vinyl is losing its popularity. One such relatively new but very popular product is luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring. Commonly known as vinyl plank flooring, this product comes as individual pieces resembling real hardwood planks.

Vinyl planks are available in the same grain pattern, color, tone, and texture as hardwood. If you love the stylish, warm, and cozy look and feel of hardwood floors but are on a budget, luxury vinyl plank is your next best option.

You will find flexible and rigid core vinyl plank flooring. Rigid core planks are solid and offer a better underfoot experience than flexible vinyl planks. Depending on your needs, under rigid core planks, you have a choice of wood-composite planks (softer underfoot feel), stone-composite planks (extra-durable), or engineered vinyl planks (greater water-resistance capabilities).

Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring (LVT)

Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring (LVT)

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring, also known as vinyl tile, is similar to vinyl plank. The only difference between LVP and LVT is their respective shapes. While LVP is sold as individual planks, LVT comes as tiles and closely mimics ceramic tiles and natural stone; some rectangular tiles have a hardwood pattern.

Like, luxury vinyl planks, vinyl tiles are available in flexible and rigid core options. Both tile and plank flooring can be installed using a click-and-lock mechanism, loose lay, or glue-down methods.

What Are The Advantages Of Vinyl Flooring?

What Are The Advantages Of Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is popular for a reason. Let us take a look at some advantages of PVC flooring.

  • Affordable

The cost of flooring can easily balloon out of control for materials such as hardwood. If you are on a budget, vinyl flooring is a fantastic alternative. You can install luxury vinyl planks that are an exact replica of hardwood at a fraction of the cost of real hardwood floors. Luxury vinyl tiles, which closely mimic ceramic tiles or natural stone, are equally budget-friendly.

  • Easy-installation

Except for sheet vinyl, vinyl flooring products are generally easy to install. Many homeowners successfully DIY their vinyl flooring, especially when replacing floors in a small section of the house. Yet another way to keep money in your pocket!

  • Resilient and durable

Vinyl is categorized as resilient flooring. You can get years of service from your vinyl sheet, planks, or tiles with basic care and maintenance. The layered nature of this flooring makes it resilient against moisture, stubborn stains, and scratches. If yours is a busy household, you will find vinyl flooring to be a worthwhile investment. This waterproof flooring is the best choice for the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, mudroom, and basement.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring?

What Are The Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring

The pros of vinyl flooring outweigh the cons. Let’s take a look at the main downsides of vinyl.

  • Quality control

Because of its popularity and demand, the market is flooded with all sorts of vinyl flooring products. Despite what manufacturers say, many of these products are substandard. The truth is it is so easy for homeowners to fall for marketing ploys and buy low-quality vinyl flooring. This is why you should thoroughly educate yourself on how to choose the right vinyl flooring.

  • Carbon footprint

Vinyl is not the most eco-friendly material, and this can be a concern for the environmentally cautious. The upside is that vinyl flooring lasts a very long time, minimizing the need to dispose of more plastic or use more to manufacture these floors.

How Long Does Vinyl Flooring Last?

Durability is a key selling point of vinyl flooring, with some manufacturers even offering lifetime warranties on their LVT and LVP options. It is common for PVC flooring to last 10 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced. But, for your floor to last this long, you need to buy a high-quality product in the first place and care for your floors the right way.

In addition to the lifespan, cost is a crucial factor to consider when shopping for a new floor. On average, PVC costs  $3.58- $5.35 per square foot. Total material and installation costs can range between $390.00 and $550.00.

What Is Bad About Vinyl Flooring? Is PVC Flooring Unhealthy?

What Is Bad About Vinyl Flooring Is PVC Flooring Unhealthy

Despite all its fantastic advantages, there have been concerns with PVC flooring. PVC or vinyl flooring is made of plastics containing chemical elements known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are present in many of the items we use every day, and it is impossible to avoid these compounds completely. Inhaling VOCs for a prolonged period can increase the risk of respiratory problems in already vulnerable individuals such as children and the elderly.

Is vinyl flooring better than laminate?

If you are in the market for flooring, you have certainly heard about laminate flooring. Both PVC and laminate have their advantages and disadvantages, which you should carefully consider.

Vinyl is waterproof, and luxury vinyl, in particular, is heat resistant, qualities lacking in laminate flooring. On the other hand, vinyl is not very eco-friendly, while laminate is made of natural materials, which is a plus for eco-conscious consumers.

Bottom Line: PVC Flooring vs. Vinyl Flooring

Shopping for vinyl flooring can be a tad confusing for a first-time buyer. But,  I  hope this guide simplifies the process now that you know there is no difference between PVC flooring vs. vinyl flooring. There is definitely a lot to consider when planning for new vinyl flooring, so take your time and do your research to make a smart decision for you and your family.

4 thoughts on “PVC Flooring vs. Vinyl Flooring: What’s the Difference?”

  1. LVP flooring gets damaged by rubber backed rugs and can easily be dented. Is this true of all types of vinyl flooring? I don’t see it discussed above.


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