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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.