Thinking about replacing your current flooring with something more suited to your personal style? Believe it or not, vinyl flooring might be the best option for your next interior design project!
Most vinyl flooring sold today is made primarily from PVC (polyvinyl chloride). This compound can be colored and finished to create all different kinds of flooring without the expense of more premium materials.
Of course, not everyone is keen to cover their floors with glorified plastic. While vinyl flooring has plenty of benefits, it also comes with a few notable drawbacks.
Here’s what you need to know about vinyl flooring and whether or not it’s the right choice for your home:
What Are the Pros of Vinyl Flooring?
It’s Very Affordable
If there’s one thing nearly everyone knows about vinyl, it’s that it’s one of the most affordable flooring materials in existence.
Unfortunately, this also means vinyl flooring has a reputation for looking and feeling “cheap.” Many homeowners avoid installing vinyl due to this undeserved infamy.
Simple to Install
Hiring a professional installer is the best way to guarantee the quality of your new floors. If you must go the DIY route, however, vinyl is one of the easiest materials to work with.
Plus, vinyl can be installed over a wide range of materials. Concrete is one of the sturdiest options, but you can also lay down vinyl over hardwood, plywood, or another layer of vinyl.
Mimics the Look of High-End Flooring
If the laminate is the first type of vinyl flooring that comes to mind, you’re definitely not alone. But this material has so much more potential!
The secret to good vinyl flooring is that you can’t really tell it’s made of vinyl unless you look close.
Vinyl can be used to replicate porcelain tiles, hardwood planks, and many other luxury flooring materials. On top of being more affordable, vinyl alternatives are often more durable than their authentic counterparts.
Available in Many Styles
The most popular styles of vinyl flooring mimic natural materials like wood or stone. Yet that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what kinds of patterns, designs, and colors can be applied to this flooring.
Holds up to Wear and Tear
Despite its low price point, vinyl flooring is extremely durable. With proper care, vinyl floors can last for a decade or more.
High-quality vinyl is specially designed to resist scuffs and nicks. It’s also coated to resist stains and water damage (a must-have for anyone with children or pets!).
One element vinyl flooring doesn’t hold up against is direct sunlight. Vinyl flooring installed in front of a bright window may fade with time. Invest in vinyl with built-in UV protection to slow down this discoloration.
What Are the Cons of Vinyl Flooring?
Quality Can Vary
Vinyl flooring may be more affordable on average. But, as with any building material, you get what you pay for.
You can’t expect the cheapest vinyl on the market to hold up to years of use. Likewise, the most budget-friendly vinyl flooring is unlikely to compare to high-end hardwood or tile.
This also means that you can’t purchase vinyl flooring blindly. Factors like thickness, finish, built-in padding, and color-fastness can all play a role in how your new flooring performs within your home.
Removing Vinyl Flooring Isn’t Easy
Vinyl floor installation typically involves extremely strong adhesives. While these adhesives keep the flooring securely in place throughout its lifespan, they can make removal a real headache.
Improper removal of vinyl flooring could potentially damage the subfloor underneath.
In some cases, new flooring can be installed without removing the existing vinyl. But this is only possible if the vinyl and subfloor are still in good condition.
May Release VOCs
Vinyl is just one material containing volatile organic compounds — or VOCs — used within the home. Volatile organic compounds are an unavoidable part of the vinyl manufacturing process.
Even after installation, vinyl flooring may emit VOCs for up to several weeks. These compounds are considered to be indoor pollutants and can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in those exposed.
It’s Not Great for the Environment
If sustainability is something you value, vinyl flooring is far from the best option on the market.
First, vinyl is a type of plastic. So, from the start, this material isn’t good for the environment as a whole.
And, no, you can’t recycle vinyl flooring after it’s been removed. This means that every square foot of vinyl flooring produced will eventually end up in a landfill.
Doesn’t Add Property Value
Hardwood floors are a hot commodity in the real estate market. The same can’t be said for vinyl flooring.
Even high-quality vinyl planks could deter particularly picky homebuyers.
While adding value to your home might not be a concern at the moment, it’s important to consider how certain upgrades could affect its future selling price.
Difficult to Repair
Yes, vinyl flooring is remarkably durable. When damage does occur, however, it can be much harder to fix than other flooring types.
Vinyl planks and tiles are the simplest to repair. While it’s not possible to repair the material itself, the affected pieces can be replaced without tearing up the whole floor.
Sheet vinyl is another thing entirely. Outside of patching the damaged area, often the only solution is to replace the entire floor.
Old Floors May Contain Asbestos
This isn’t something you need to worry about when installing new vinyl flooring in your home. But if you’re weighing the pros and cons of keeping existing vinyl flooring, it’s important to know that some vinyl produced pre-1990 contains asbestos.
Don’t remove potentially toxic vinyl yourself! Invest in an at-home testing kit to determine if asbestos is present. If it is, only a professional can safely remove the vinyl flooring.
Is vinyl flooring the next big thing in luxury home design? Probably not. But there’s no denying the sheer versatility (and affordability!) of this humble flooring material.
Vinyl flooring is available in more styles and finishes than ever before. If you’re looking for a quick update that will stand up to several years of use and abuse, vinyl should definitely be at the top of your list.
On the other hand, installing vinyl flooring won’t upgrade your home in the eyes of potential homebuyers. And, although new vinyl flooring is stylish and durable, older vinyl may contain harmful asbestos.
What do you think about using vinyl flooring in your own home? Are you impressed by the new types of vinyl available on the market today? Let us know in the comments below!