3 Main Types of Vinyl Flooring (Pros & Cons)

When purchasing vinyl flooring, one of the things you need to decide is the type you want to use in your project. Unfortunately, this may not be easy because vinyl floors come in different styles, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

You, therefore, need to know a little bit about each variety so you can pick a product that gives you the best value for your buck.

In the spirit of helping you with your research, we have prepared this post that discusses the three common types of vinyl flooring including their pros and cons. Check it out!

1. Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring is made of melted polyvinyl chloride resins, calcium carbonate, fungicides, plasticizers, and UV stabilizers, which makes its core flexible. It comes in multiple layers, which include the polyurethane coating, protective layer, printed film layer, vinyl core, and tile backing. These layers contribute to its impressive design, ease of maintenance, and durability.

The flooring is available in different styles, as outlined below:

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT): Shaped like a square to resemble the traditional ceramic tile. LVT comes in a wide range of patterns that replicate the natural wood or stone flooring.

Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP): Rectangular-shaped individual boards that look exactly like hardwood floors.

Luxury Vinyl Sheet (LVS): Comes in large, continuous, flexible boards rather than individual tiles or planks.

Pros

  • Cheaper Than Hardwood Flooring

Luxury vinyl floors will cost you much less than hardwood floors. While the cost of hardwood floors may vary considerably based on the species of the tree used, you won’t have the same problem with vinyl floors.

This is because the pattern of the grain of wood is printed on the vinyl. As such, you can buy a design that mimics an exotic tree species without having to pay huge amounts of money.

  • Spill and Scratch Resistant

Because luxury vinyl flooring is water-resistant, you don’t have to worry about the floor absorbing spills and getting ruined. But you also want to make sure you are cleaning up any spills and stains immediately.

Luxury vinyl flooring is also resistant to scratches and scrapes than hardwood flooring. It will, therefore, work great in high-traffic areas. However, you still need to be careful while moving heavy furniture and appliances.

  • Needs Little Maintenance

Unlike hardwood floors that need regular waxing and polishing to maintain their luster, with luxury vinyl flooring, you won’t have to worry about all of this. All you need to do is wipe with a clean damp cloth and you will keep your floor looking as good as new.

Cons

  • Doesn’t Add Monetary Value to Your Home

Even though luxury vinyl floors look a lot like hardwood floors, they do not add much value to your home like hardwood flooring does. When it comes to selling your house, most people will still prefer the traditional look and feel of hardwood and won’t be afraid to dig their pockets a little deeper for a home with this type of flooring.

  • Requires Replacement To Remove Dents

Luxury vinyl floors last longer than most floors in the market today because they are much more resistant to stains and scratches. But this doesn’t mean they are immune to damage. Luxury vinyl can still be ruined and the only way to repair dents, dings, and scratches is to get the affected tile or plank replaced.

2. Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring

Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring

Also known as engineering vinyl flooring, this type of flooring features a solid composite core and was invented to replace the earlier flexible versions of vinyl. It is harder and more durable than the flexible versions.

In addition to its waterproof core that consists of polyvinyl chloride, limestone powder, and stabilizers, rigid core vinyl flooring also contains three more layers that add to its durability. They include the transparent layer on top, the printed layer, and an underpad that provides cushioning and insulation. You can get rigid core floor in planks or tiles.

Pros

  • Moisture Proof

Because of their polymer construction, rigid core tiles and planks are completely waterproof. As such, you will not experience any moisture-related issues like mold. However, this doesn’t mean you should leave water pools on the floor unattended.

  • Easy to Install

Most rigid core floors feature a click-lock installation mechanism. You can install them yourself without having to spend money on professional services. Also, unlike when installing peel-and-stick luxury vinyl planks, the subfloor doesn’t have to be smooth. You, therefore, don’t need to spend too much time scrubbing or sanding your subfloor.

  • No Acclimation Is Needed

Because rigid core vinyl floorboards are not affected by unregulated temperatures like their flexible luxury cousins, they don’t necessarily need to acclimate before installation.

  • Longer Warranties

Owing to their durable, rigid core, most brands usually provide longer warranties for rigid core tiles and planks. Some warranties can even go up to twenty five years.

  • Durable

Rigid core flooring lasts longer than any other type of vinyl flooring, all thanks to its rigid core construction. With proper installation and care, this type of floor can last for up to twenty years before it requires replacement.

  • Affordable

While there are many factors that influence the cost of rigid core flooring, the floor is still more affordable than natural hardwood flooring. However, due to its construction, rigid core vinyl will usually cost more than flexible luxury vinyl.

Cons

  • Not Scratch Proof

Even though rigid core flooring comes with a wear layer that provides resistance against dents and scrapes, your floor can still get scratches. Years of dragging heavy appliances across the floor or kids dropping sharp objects will eventually cause the floor to wear out.

  • Not Very Comfortable

Because of the hard rigid core construction, tiles and planks may feel a little uncomfortable when stepped on. This is especially true if you buy from a cheap brand that doesn’t include cork underlayment.

You can solve this problem, however, by buying the underlayment separately and setting it up before laying your boards. Here is a short video that shows you how to properly install cork underlayment.

3. Wood Plastic Composite Vinyl Flooring

Wood Plastic Composite Vinyl Flooring

Wood plastic composite vinyl floors are created using plastic composites and wood pulp instead of solid polyvinyl chloride. Together with plasticizers and foaming agents, these materials provide strength and stability. And since the floor itself is thicker than the traditional PVC, it has the same feel as laminate.

The wood plastic composite vinyl is one of the newest floors in the market, aimed at improving basic vinyl. Like any vinyl flooring, it has the three most important layers; the wear layer, topcoat, and decorative vinyl print.

Pros

  • Waterproof

Like all vinyl floors, the wood plastic composite floor is completely waterproof. Tiles and planks won’t warp or swell if exposed to water or spills.

  • Easy Installation

You won’t need any adhesive to install a wood plastic composite floor. The floorboards can be laid using an easy DIY-friendly click-lock method.

  • Affordable

Because wood plastic composite floors tend to be thicker than the traditional luxury vinyl flooring, they are also slightly expensive. However, depending on the brand, pattern, and features, you can find a wood plastic composite that is within your budget.

  • Easy to Maintain

As with all vinyl floors, wood plastic composites are easy to clean and maintain. All you need is regular sweeping and occasional mopping and your floor will always keep that shine it had when you first installed it. Plus unlike hardwood, you don’t need to wax a wood plastic composite floor.

Cons

  • Adds Little Home Value

Even though wood plastic composite floors can be selected in colors and patterns that mimic the traditional hardwood floor, they will not add much monetary value to your home like a hardwood floor would.

  • Not Environmental-Friendly

Since wood plastic composite floors contain wood components, they may not be the most viable option for people who are environmentally conscious. If you find the production of this flooring unethical, you may want to consider other options.

Which Type of Vinyl Flooring Is Better?

Vinyl flooring usually mimics the natural look of stone or hardwood and is one of the floors you will find in many residential and commercial properties today.

However, since different types of vinyl flooring will basically have the same patterns, to decide which one is the best for your project, you will need to find out which core materials are used to manufacture the floor.

Luxury vinyl floors use melted polyvinyl chloride, which makes them more flexible. They may not be the best option if you are looking for something more rigid and durable.

For sturdier options, you may have to check the rigid core or the wood plastic composite flooring. These two are slightly expensive but they will last relatively longer than the flexible luxury vinyl.

You should also consider the issue of environmental-friendliness. If you don’t want to install flooring that will make you feel as if you are crossing ethical lines, you may want to lean more toward luxury vinyl or core rigid flooring. These are more environmental-friendly than wood plastic composite floors.

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