Vinyl is the second best-selling plastic in the world, and for good reason. Vinyl is affordable, high-performance, and versatile, making it a top choice for many industries, including communications, healthcare, aerospace; and, of course, home flooring. Statistics show that vinyl flooring production increased by 6.1% between 2011 and 2012, which would point to a significant increase in demand for this type of flooring. On top of this, vinyl exports are up 1.9% in the last year alone, and vinyl continues to overtake traditional wood to occupy 68% of the overall home application market.
It’s not just vinyl in general that has seen tremendous growth over the last decade or so. Vinyl plank flooring is now the top choice for many homes in the United States and beyond, primarily due to the low cost, durability, and versatility of this type of flooring. Before settling on vinyl as your best flooring option, it’s first important to discover the benefits and problems with vinyl plank flooring. Like all other types of flooring, vinyl isn’t quite perfect. There are a few downsides that might be worth considering before making the biggest flooring decision.
The Advantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring
There are a number of notable advantages of vinyl plank flooring over other types of flooring. It is these advantages that have led to the growing popularity of vinyl for home flooring applications:
cost factor: Vinyl planks are created to mimic the look of real wood, but are only a fraction of the price. Telling the difference between vinyl and real wood flooring is difficult, especially to the untrained eye, which means homeowners can enjoy the aesthetics of real wood without breaking the bank.
grain size: Vinyl plank flooring is also designed with a wide variety of wood grain sizes that would otherwise be difficult to find in traditional wood. You can simply choose the grain dimension that matches your specific solid wood preference and easily blends into your home decor. In addition to this, there are many different shades that mimic oak, maple, cherry, and other types of wood. Design options here are literally limited to your imagination.
Sustainability: Vinyl flooring is one of the most durable types of flooring on the market; Definitely more durable than real wood. This type of flooring is ideal for high-traffic areas in the home and is hardly susceptible to scratches, dents, and other defects, as is common with real wood flooring. In addition, the floor is waterproof, which means it can be installed almost anywhere in the house, including sensitive areas like the kitchen or basement.
Installations: Vinyl plank flooring is some of the easiest flooring to install in any type of space. Although it is recommended that you hire an expert for the job, DIY enthusiasts with the right knowledge and experience can easily install flooring without the added cost of calling in an expert. Installation can be done quickly, professionally, and smoothly with little to no mess or waste, which is more than can be said for hardwood flooring.
Comfort: Vinyl planks are easy on your feet and can be installed in high-traffic areas. The planks also add an extra layer of insulation, making it a good option for additional soundproofing. The floor also does not generate noise underfoot, as is the case with real wood floors.
Maintenance: Vinyl is extremely easy to maintain, requiring only a vacuum followed by a mop or damp mop. The floor also does not stain easily, making it ideal for homes with pets and small children.
remodeling: Some touch-ups may be required over time to restore the floor to its original condition. The advantage of vinyl planks is that they can be easily and cheaply replaced. You don’t have to strip the entire floor to restore it, all you need to do is work on the problem areas and your floor will be back to its former glory.
The Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Like any other type of flooring available on the market, vinyl planks have some drawbacks. No floor is 100% perfect, so it’s important to understand both the benefits and issues of vinyl plank flooring before making a decision:
Sustainability: Although vinyl is durable and can resist chipping and warping, your floor is still susceptible to scratching. These can start to show over time, especially in high-traffic areas, so a little extra care is needed to maintain the aesthetic for as long as possible.
fading: Vinyl planks are also known to fade over time, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Therefore, this makes it a poor choice for outdoor applications.
Installations: Since vinyl is not as strong as natural wood planks, an underlayment will need to be installed before actual vinyl planks.
Aesthetics: Although vinyl mimics the look of real solid wood, it is still vinyl. This is especially obvious to the trained eye, which can be a problem for some homeowners.
Cleaning: You should be careful when cleaning vinyl plank flooring as certain cleaners and solvents can damage the floor. You want to use cleaners that have been made specifically for vinyl floors.
It is extremely important to look at the benefits and problems of vinyl plank flooring. Only after carefully considering both sides will you be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not this is the flooring for you.
Despite the downsides, vinyl planks are still an incredibly good option for home flooring applications. The disadvantages can easily be ignored given the many advantages of this type of flooring. The cost factor is the most important advantage, as not everyone can afford real solid wood floors, especially given the current global economic situation.
It is important to explore other options before settling on just one. The floor is crucial to the aesthetics of the home and is one of the first things people see when they enter a house. With that being said, a lot of thought and consideration goes into making this very important decision.