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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.