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Vinyl Flooring

  • Why Flexitec Vinyl

    Flexitec has introduced a unique cushioned vinyl flooring that combines great looks with ever-lasting durability.

    Flexitec luxury vinyl has an exceptional molecular structure that can be used in an infinite number of applications. It is a very flexible material that creates a world of flooring opportunities. In recent years, great progress in technology has enhanced the performance of vinyl flooring. Flexitec has several different properties that makes it unique in the vinyl industries.

    Flexitec vinyl can be installed using a loose lay method (NO Adhesive)for up to 25 sqyds of installed material. This installation process is possible thanks to a fiberglass layer that add strength and flexibility. The product will not contract, expand, crack or curl. Warmth and comfort is provided by a luxurious cushion backing supporting the vinyl and offering a base for indentation resistance.

    Since Flexitec is offered in 13' 2" width there are fewer seams where moisture and dirt can hide, bacteria is virtually elinimated and house-mites do not stand a chance.

    Best of all thanks to QuickClean and the Super Guard wearlayer your floor will resist stains and scuffs better than any other floor.

  • Find Vinyl That Will Last

    What Is Vinyl Flooring?

    Vinyl flooring is basically a synthetic version of linoleum flooring. First produced in the English/Scottish region in the late 1800s, linoleum floors are made by taking linseed oil and oxidizing it to create the cement known as linoleum. Then this cement is mixed with ground wood flour and other ingredients and poured onto a backing, which was first made from jute, but today can be made from jute, felt, or a number of other products. While linoleum is still produced today, and is popular as one of the all-natural, ecologically friendly options for floor covering, most manufacturers produce far more floors from a vinyl resin made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic that is more durable, easier to produce and less expensive than linoleum.

    Different manufacturers produce vinyl in different ways, and even floors made by the same manufacturer may have different materials added to the resin to give the finished product certain properties. Plasticizers are oily liquids that make the product softer and more pliable, stabilizers help the vinyl maintain its color and not fade or yellow in sunlight, pigments give the vinyl its color, and fillers like limestone or clay increase its strength and thickness. For the most part, the specific formulation of a vinyl product is a secret, but when you see advertised features like "extra soft" or "colorfast", you can be sure that they have extra plasticizers and stabilizers, respectively.

    How Are They Made?

    The typical construction of vinyl floors may differ, but starts out the same way, with a backing made of felt or vinyl. Then with sheet vinyl, they lay on the vinyl resin cement that forms the core of the product. With inlaid vinyl, that core is constructed from chips of vinyl laid in a pattern to create the decoration for the floor. With vinyl made via the rotogravure method, the vinyl core is applied in one sheet, which then has a design printed upon it. In both cases, the resulting product is covered with a thin wearlayer of vinyl or urethane, then placed under extreme heat and pressure to finalize the product. Vinyl tile is generally the same, except that some vinyl tile is made with a calenderizing technique that squeezes the vinyl to a specific thickness, then the finished product is shaped or cut into the size of the tile.

    Watch The Backing

    The backing of the vinyl can be an important part of the product. Most vinyl floors are made with a felt backing, which is similar to the jute backing used on early linoleum. This felt backing helps give vinyl its trademark resistance to water. However, felt backed products are prone to curling, so adhesive must be applied to the backing, which soaks in the glue and attaches itself to the subfloor, holding it in place. Some newer products use a fiberglass backing. This type of backing is much sturdier and less pliable, so it is less prone to curling. As a result, fiberglass-backed floors can be installed without glue, and can be topped with much softer vinyl material without having problems staying straight on the subfloor.

    Wearlayers Determine Wear Resistance

    Another important part of vinyl construction is the wear layer. The wear layer is one of the most important parts in terms of durability, and often is directly correlated to the price and warranty of the product. Traditional vinyl products will use a normal vinyl wear layer, which provides basic stain resistance, strong resistance to moisture and fairly strong durability. Some of the more advanced vinyl floors will have a urethane wear layer that may feature various additives to increase strength. Urethane wearlayers provide strong resistance against scratches, scuffs, and most household stains. They will vary in thickness, and better vinyl floors will have thicker urethane wearlayers that are mixed with particles of aluminum oxide, ceramic or other materials that increase resistance to scratching and abrasive wear.

  • Shopping For Vinyl Floors

    Vinyl Flooring History

    Sheet vinyl was actually the very first form of vinyl flooring. Linoleum flooring appeared as early as the 1860s in Scotland, and it appeared in the US a decade later. It became extremely popular in the post-industrial revolution era, since it was inexpensive to manufacture and a cheap floor covering for low-income families to afford. Over the next several years, the resilient flooring industry boomed, mostly the newly created resilient tile flooring, which saw other materials using the same design appear on the market, like asphalt, cork and rubber. Vinyl tile first made its appearance on the market in 1933, but due to shortages of vinyl during World War II, it didn't catch on until the late 1940s. By the 1950s, however, vinyl had become the most popular hard surface floor covering in the country. Over the years, resilient flooring has evolved through various technological innovations: cushioned backing, no-wax finishes, and assorted specialty items like no-slip and static-free products. Recently, vinyl has benefitted from new technological innovations like new embossing techniques and advances in wearlayer construction that has made modern resilient flooring stronger and more attractive than ever.

    Sheet or Tile?

    Resilient flooring comes in one of two forms, sheet and tile. Each looks the same, but there are important differences. The biggest difference is that vinyl tile is manufactured in tiles typically not more than a foot wide, while sheet vinyl comes in large rolls several feet wide and a hundred feet or more in length. This means that sheet vinyl can feature far more distinct patterns and doesn't experience the seaming problems that occur with tiled floors. Additionally, because it is built in mass quantities, sheet vinyl is also usually less expensive. On the other hand, vinyl tile is usually easier to install, since the small pieces are easier to lay. And while large patterns on sheet vinyl can create problems when trying to match pieces together, vinyl tile is generally far simpler.
    [inset]One factor that must be considered when purchasing sheet vinyl is seaming issues. Most sheet vinyl flooring has some sort of pattern, and if you don't purchase enough extra vinyl, you may experience problems when trying to match your flooring up between pieces. How much excess material you need to purchase may differ depending on how wide the pattern is spaced, but generally, about 10-15% extra should be purchased. Be sure to ask a flooring professional to find out exactly how much extra material they would recommend for your particular choice of flooring.[/inset]

    Luxury Vinyl Tile

    Worth noting is that some vinyl tile is made to be much stronger. This tile, called Luxury Vinyl Tile or Vinyl Composition Tile, has been long used in commercial areas where there's a lot of traffic or moisture like school kitchens and bathrooms or in hospitals. But today's luxury vinyl tile incorporates modern embossing techniques, making it a more attractive option for household kitchens or other areas where tile or laminate would otherwise be used. The advantages of Luxury Vinyl Tile are that it is nearly waterproof like other vinyl floors, but is also far more durable and can last nearly a lifetime once installed. As a result, Luxury Vinyl is more expensive, but is an excellent alternative to solid sheet or vinyl tile as well as laminate or ceramic tile. In fact, the new advances in design technology can make a Luxury Tile almost indistinguishable from ceramic, porcelain or stone tiles.

    Vinyl Flooring Installation

    Installation can differ by the type of floor. Most sheet vinyl floors, some solid vinyl tile floors and all luxury vinyl flooring must be installed with an approved adhesive, though some glueless sheet vinyl can be installed with special adhesive tape. Additionally, some vinyl tile will come with an adhesive preattached to the backing, making it unnecessary to purchase any extra adhesives. But all vinyl floors come with specific instructions for the individual product. Be sure to check for the manufacturer's installation instructions for your floor.

  • The Look Of Vinyl

    One of the most important considerations to any flooring buyer is color and appearance. People often will buy a floor of lower-quality or a higher price if they like the appearance more. However, vinyl floors have the widest range of designs and colors out of any type of flooring. Because all vinyl patterns are printed onto the floor, the possibilities are literally limitless. The chances are good that you can find any pattern or color you want in a number of different price ranges and from a number of different brands, so don't be afraid to shop around!

    Vinyl Patterns

    Different decors require different design considerations, but for most situations, your best option is to pick a vinyl floor that blends in with its surroundings. Most vinyl floors are not made with one solid color, nearly all varieties of vinyl will have a type of pattern. So finding vinyl to match its surroundings can mean getting a floor with a brick or stone pattern, a floor with a rustic wood pattern, or any of the many varieties of geometric patterns or floral designs. However, some vinyl floor styles can provide a strong accent that truly makes the room stand out. A high contrast pattern like a checkerboard design or a richly colored brick or tile pattern with bright grout colors can give a room a truly distinctive appearance.

    How Reflective Should It Be?

    Additionally, you should take the amount of gloss into consideration. Gloss is the term for how much light is reflected off the floor. High gloss floors will appear shiny once installed, and will feature a lot of glare from sunlight or bright indoor lighting. Other floors feature a low or satin gloss level, meaning that it will reflect very little light and will usually appear the same way no matter what the setting. All vinyl floors fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Most low-priced vinyl will be high gloss, but some high-priced vinyl styles feature a high amount of gloss as well. Low gloss floors tend to be easier to maintain, as high-gloss floors may need to be polished to maintain their appearance. If a realistic pattern is important, consider finding a floor with low or satin gloss. However, if you want a floor with a polished appearance, like marble or other reflective materials, high gloss can be a positive. Overall, gloss level may or may not be a factor in your buying decision, but you should be aware of the possibilities.

    Vinyl Pattern Printing Methods

    One important factor when considering resilient floors is the type of construction. Generally, vinyl is made in one of two ways. The first and oldest type of construction is called inlaid vinyl. This method takes pieces of fused and compressed vinyl and attaches them with heat and pressure to the primary backing layer. It is the more expensive method, but generally results in a more durable and longer-lasting floor. Also, because the design layer consists of several tiled pieces of vinyl, it is typically limited in range to tiled or geometric designs. This method is used for some sheet vinyl and for all vinyl tile. Similar methods are used in the creation of similarly structured floors like cork, rubber and asphalt. The other method that is used for some sheet vinyl is called rotogravure. This method lays a gel-like layer on top of the backing, then prints the pattern on top. Vinyl floors created like this can have an indefinite number of designs and are usually cheaper, but not as durable and more prone to wear damage like rips, gouges or indentations.

    Realistic Textures

    One of the latest innovations in vinyl flooring has been embossing techniques. By combining realistic designs with vinyl layers that have been textured, embossed vinyl floors are made to more closely resemble natural materials like stone, tile or hardwood. And some of the best vinyl floors feature embossed-in-register construction, which uses unique and realistic patterns in conjunction with matching, equally realistic textures. These floors can be nearly indistinguishable from real wood or tile, and mimic the look and feel of the very best laminate flooring at a reduced cost.

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