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A Helpful Guide to the Different Types of Vinyl Flooring

September 30, 2021 8 min read

A Helpful Guide to the Different Types of Vinyl Flooring

 

If you’re looking to redo the floors in your home, you might be wondering which type of flooring is best for each room. Sure, you’ve probably seen horror stories about vinyl flooring from the 1970s, but we’re here to tell you that your grandmother’s vinyl isn’t the same as the vinyl of today! In fact, vinyl flooring is one of the best options for your home. Here’s a helpful guide to all the different types of vinyl flooring and which is best for your space. 

Why Vinyl?

Like we said, the vinyl of today is nowhere near the vinyl of decades ago. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if vinyl flooring is good, we’re here to tell you that yes! vinyl flooring is great for any room in any home. Today’s vinyl can mimic a variety of floor styles and materials, coming in a variety of colors and textures. No matter which room you’re currently designing or renovating, there’s a vinyl flooring out there for it. Vinyl is cost-efficient, easy to install and doesn’t require much maintenance. It’s perfect for families, transforming the upstairs portion of your garage into an apartment or even finishing your basement or attic.

Vinyl’s durability is unmatched. While hardwood looks good, it requires constant upkeep (staining, cleaning, treating) and can scratch easily. Tile is shiny and beautiful, but it can be a fall hazard since it gets very slippery when wet. Plus, tile and stone can crack if something heavy is dropped on them, and cleaning the grout can take much more time and effort than you probably have. Vinyl is the best solution for any homeowner looking to upgrade their floors.

Types At-a-Glance

Name

Installation

Contractor?

Best for

Cost

Vinyl Planks

Tongue and groove

No

Any room in the home

$$

Vinyl Tile

Floating or glue

Maybe

Bathrooms, kitchens, basements, hallways

$$

Sheet Vinyl

Rolling out sheets/gluing 

Yes

Living room, hallway, dining room

$


Vinyl Planks

Vinyl planks are the most common of vinyl floors these days. In fact, our FirmFit flooring is made from vinyl planks. Here’s some more details about vinyl planks and why they’re one of the most popular (and best!) choices for your home:

vinyl planks at a glance

  • Installation: Installing vinyl planks is easy. Most vinyl planks come with a tongue and groove installation method, where you piece the planks together by pressing on the seams. They should make a clicking sound, laying flat on the ground. In fact, since the tongue and groove method fits seamlessly into any space, you can lay it over an existing floor. This is great for older homes since the original floors might be protecting the subfloor. 
  • Is a contractor needed? The short answer? Nope! The longer answer? Because vinyl planks are installed using a “piecing together” system, you really don’t need a contractor to assist you. A measuring tape, electric saw and a good eye are really all you need to install vinyl planks. It’s perfect for homeowners looking to DIY their renovation on a budget.
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  • Best for: Vinyl planks look great in any room of the home. Because of their durability, water resistance and easy installation, they are great in kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, basements, laundry rooms and anywhere else in your home. This is especially important for homeowners looking to have a cohesive look in their entire home. Your flooring will flow seamlessly from room to room. 
  • Cost: While not exactly cheap, vinyl planks are very affordable – more affordable than most other types of flooring out there. Our luxury vinyl flooring has a luxury feel without the luxury prices. Vinyl planks are great for any homeowner looking to renovate their floor without worrying about the cost. Vinyl plank flooring will look luxurious, but it won’t break the bank. Who doesn’t love that?

Vinyl Tile

Similar to vinyl plank, vinyl tile mimics tile and stone rather than wooden planks. It can be installed in a couple of different ways, but it still carries all the same benefits as vinyl planks. Here’s some more details about vinyl tile. 

vinyl tile at a glance

  • Installation: Vinyl tile can be installed “floating” (or the tongue and groove method we just discussed in vinyl planks) or it can be glued down. The gluing is done with a special type of glue that adheres the vinyl to the existing floor below. You’ve probably seen this all across home renovation TV shows because they show the layers and layers of vinyl floors prior to getting to the wooden floors that existed when the home was first built. 
  • Is a contractor needed? That depends. If you choose the floating installation option, the answer is probably not. However, if you’re choosing to glue down the tile, then it’s probably best to hire a contractor or professional to do it for you. Like we said, the glue is a particular type of glue, and it’s important to have someone who’s knowledgeable about the glue to ensure it’s installed properly. You don’t want to have vinyl glue seeping out between the vinyl tiles or at the edges of your baseboards! 

mudroom with vinyl floor

  • Best for: Vinyl tile is best for any room in the home that you want to have a tile look. Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, hallways, sunrooms – you name it, vinyl tile looks great in it. If you want to get some variety in your flooring and break up the patterns throughout your home, then vinyl tile is the way to go.
  • Cost: Similar to vinyl planks, the overall cost of vinyl tile isn’t cheap but instead affordable for most homeowners. Where you’ll run into an additional cost is the labor for hiring a professional to glue down your tile. Gluing down vinyl tile is better for large rooms, such as living rooms, so if you’re considering having vinyl tile in any of your spaces and want to glue it down, then you’ll need to budget for a contractor or a flooring professional to come install it.

Vinyl Sheets

Vinyl sheets have been around for decades. They’re the most affordable vinyl type, but they do come with some drawbacks. Here are some more details about vinyl sheets that you need to know before pulling the trigger on them for your home.

vinyl sheets at a glance

  • Installation: Vinyl sheets must be glued down, or it has an adhesive on the underside of the vinyl to easily attach itself to existing floors. Unlike vinyl planks or tiles, vinyl sheets cannot be placed down with a tongue and groove method. Vinyl sheets are literally sheets of vinyl that get rolled out and cut to the exact dimensions of the room it’s being installed in. 
  • Is a contractor needed? In short, yes. Because of the attention to detail and the smoothing technique required for vinyl sheets, you’ll need a contractor or flooring professional to come in and lay it down. Otherwise, you might end up with very visible seams and gaps, especially near baseboards or in the center of a room. It’s important that the vinyl sheet lines up perfectly with all the dimensions of your flooring, and your floor must be even before it gets laid down. Air pockets underneath the vinyl can cause it to warp or even deteriorate much earlier than other types of vinyl.
  • Best for: Living rooms, hallways, dining rooms, home offices, craft rooms and even playrooms are all great areas for sheet vinyl. Also, think small areas where there isn’t much traffic, or larger areas with a lot of furniture that don't see a lot of traffic. Sheet vinyl is much softer than vinyl planks or tiles, and despite its waterproof quality, it can easily get scratched or ruined if not maintained properly. It’s not the best for kitchens or bathrooms. However, because it’s easy to wipe up spills, sheet vinyl is great for craft rooms and home offices.
  • Cost: Because sheet vinyl can be bought in large rolls, it’s much cheaper than any other type of vinyl. However, since it does need to be installed by a contractor, you’ll need to factor in the cost of labor for a professional to come and install it for you. Also, you’ll need to consider that its quality is slightly less than other types of vinyl, so you might need to lay down another layer and replace it prior to other types of vinyl. The one benefit of that is that you can easily replace the vinyl sheeting anytime! With so many colors, designs and patterns, you can easily switch out the flooring based on your design preferences. 

Vinyl Flooring Design Ideas

Since vinyl looks good in any room of your home, you’re probably wondering what kind of design aesthetics you can achieve with vinyl. Here are some of our favorite vinyl flooring design ideas. 

  • Herringbone patternOne of the best parts about plank vinyl flooring is that it can fit a variety of patterns and designs. Simply laying the planks out in a unique pattern can really elevate a room. The herringbone pattern is great for a variety of rooms, but it really shines in spaces where others will get to see it – namely, the kitchen. The herringbone pattern on your floor is great if you’ve chosen to keep the other elements of your kitchen simple. You don’t want the space to feel too busy. Consider using the herringbone pattern on your floors in your kitchen for a rustic look in the space. It goes well with white shaker cabinets, brass hardware and even basket pendant lights. 

laundry room with cabinets

  • Penny tile flooring: The penny tile flooring look is very vintage. There’s a reason it’s often found in bathrooms and kitchens, too. It has to do with Victorian-era Americans and their newfound obsession with hygiene in the mid-to-late 1800s (mainly when bathrooms moved from outside to inside!). This trend continued well into the Roaring 20s and Great Depression, where many homes featured small tiled floors in the bathrooms and kitchens. That look has come back in style in recent years, and for homeowners who don’t want to spend all their budget on small tiles and want something that’s much easier to maintain, vinyl is the perfect option. Some suppliers even allow you to upload an image of what you’re looking for, and they can print the vinyl to look like that image and mimic the texture of penny tile. 
  • Stone floors in the kitchen: Looking for a way to make your kitchen look like it belongs in a villa in Tuscany? Consider putting vinyl flooring in that looks like stone. One of the benefits of vinyl flooring versus natural materials is the temperature control. Stone floors are notorious for being very cold during the winter and warm during the summer, but vinyl floors are great temperature regulators – perfect for keeping your energy costs down! 
  • Hardwood in the sunroom: If you’ve got a sunroom in your home, consider using vinyl planking in it to make it look like hardwood. Hardwood can easily get discolored from sunlight, so many homeowners choose not to use it in their sunrooms. However, with vinyl planking, that’s entirely possible! You can have the perfect hardwood look without sacrificing thousands just to watch the stain get discolored over time. 

office with window and cabinets

  • Checkerboard laundry room: Sometimes it’s easy to neglect certain areas of our home because no one really sees them but us. However, your laundry room shouldn’t just be a throw-away room. Consider putting a checkerboard design in your laundry room as a way to spice up the design. Paint the walls a bright color to contrast the checkerboard design and make the space feel fun and inviting. With a tongue and groove floating installation, you can easily pop the vinyl back up if you decide to go with another design in the future. 

Vinyl floors are great for any room in your home. With so many different design options, you can easily get the home of your dreams without breaking the bank on flooring. Since vinyl has come such a long way in recent decades, you can be assured to have a durable, water-resistant flooring that will last for years to come.

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Image Credits

Jane Kelly/Shutterstock.com

Soleiko/Shutterstock.com

Pretty Vectors/Shutterstock.com

TataVasja/Shutterstock.com


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