Explaining Vinyl Flooring For Kitchen Pros & Cons
When it comes to redoing floors in your home, you have a wide variety of options to choose from. If you’re looking at remodeling your kitchen, specifically, you certainly want to choose a floor that’s durable, but also pleasing to the eye. Add affordability to the mix and one of the best options you’ll find is vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring has become an increasingly popular floor choose for homeowners, and it’s easy to see why.
But with any choice, there are pros and cons to be considered before moving forward with this type of flooring. Here are the top vinyl flooring pros and cons.
What is Vinyl Flooring?
Before we overview vinyl flooring pros and cons, it may be helpful to understand the origins of vinyl flooring. Originally invented in the 1930s, vinyl flooring first made an impact on the architectural world in the years following World War II, and by the 1950s had become a major competitor against other flooring options, specifically linoleum (which up until that point had been considered the best low-cost water-resistant flooring option for kitchens and bathrooms).
And the popularity of vinyl flooring has only been steadily trending upwards since then. According to DoItYourself.com, vinyl still accounts for around 15 percent of annual flooring expenditures in the country.
Types of Vinyl Flooring
Unbeknownst to many homeowners, there are many different kinds of vinyl flooring. Typically, when people reference vinyl flooring, they’re thinking about sheet flooring, which is arguably the most popular type. However, there are other forms of flooring made from vinyl, such as tiles and planks.
In sheet flooring, the vinyl flooring material is laid down, expectedly, in sheets. These sheets can range from 6 or 12 feet wide. Due to the larger pieces, sheet flooring is more water-resistant than other types of vinyl flooring. It also is easier to install.
Another type of vinyl flooring is tile flooring, which uses tiles of 9×9” or 12×12″. Many homeowners prefer vinyl tile, which replicates the look of a ceramic tile floor at a more affordable cost.
There is also vinyl plank flooring, which is designed to resemble hardwood and comes in strips. One of the advantages to plank flooring is the range of styles that are out there for homeowners to choose from, all mimicking different types of wood (such as oak, hickory, elm, bamboo, and so much more). Since vinyl plank so closely resembles hardwood (without the cost), you’re sure to find a version that fits your desired aesthetic.
Pros of Vinyl Flooring
The pros to vinyl flooring are numerous, from water resistance to affordable pricing. Here are some of the things we love about vinyl flooring.
One of the biggest draws of vinyl flooring is the durability – specifically its resistance to water. Most vinyl flooring is 100% moisture-resistant. This element alone makes it ideal for use in kitchens, as well as bathrooms and even basements.
Compared to other flooring options, vinyl is much better at sealing against water damage than laminate and hardwood. In fact, some vinyl options are waterproof.
As well as being water-resistant, vinyl flooring is also a highly stain-resistant option. Specifically, printed vinyl tiles and sheets have a clear wear layer that acts as a surface barrier, which helps protect against stains and spills. Some vinyl tiles do not have this level of surface protection and may be more susceptible to stains, so be sure to read the fine print before deciding on which vinyl to add to your home.
When it comes to cost, vinyl is one of the most affordable flooring options out there, especially compared to options like stone, tile or hardwood. At the low range, vinyl can cost as little as fifty cents per square foot, and most never exceed moderate cost levels. Very high-end premium vinyl flooring can cost as much as ten dollars per square foot, though this is still less expensive than premium flooring choices, such as stone. The difference in price of resilient vinyl products is determined by the quality of the material and the design options found in the surface.
Vinyl is generally considered to be a highly durable material. If well-taken care of, your vinyl floors can last anywhere between 10 and 20 years.
Printed vinyl tiles and sheets have a clear wear layer that acts as a surface barrier, protecting the floor from stains and spills. These materials are very easy to clean and maintain. Solid and composite vinyl tiles do not have this surface protection and will be more susceptible to stains, requiring occasional stripping and polishing.
Depending on what type of vinyl flooring you choose, however, you can expect different levels of durability. For example, “Solid vinyl and composite vinyl tiles are homogenous, with colors permeating every layer—a feature that makes them more resistant to damage from scratches. Printed vinyl will be only as durable as the clear wear layer that protects the surface. Fiberglass-reinforced vinyl sheets are extremely durable, while also being pliable and resistant to damage”.
Another durability “pro” of vinyl is that many types of vinyl are composed of individual pieces that can easily be replaced if damaged. This more the case with plank or tile vinyl, since the pieces are smaller.
Next to carpet, vinyl flooring may be one of the softer flooring options out there. It is generally softer beneath your feet than options like wood or ceramic tile. Because of the softer nature, vinyl floors have a little more flexibility and give, which makes it easier to stand on for long periods of time.
In addition, many models of vinyl flooring, specifically vinyl plank flooring, are backed with a padded felt product. “When installed, this feature translates to a softer floor with more give. The top will look like hardwood and have that strong feel, but standing on vinyl for long periods of time is easier than standing on real wood. Additionally, objects are less likely to break when dropped on vinyl, which is good news for glasses and mugs”.
Another comfort “pro” of vinyl is that it doesn’t get cold in the winter, so you won’t have to worry about arming your feet with slippers to avoid the chill that colder weather inevitably brings to hard surfaces!
When it comes to general upkeep, vinyl floors are some of most low-maintenance flooring options out there. The product requires only light routine cleaning — grit and dirt should be swept free to maintain the surface of the floor, and mop or Swiffer can be used to remove stains. There are also approved vinyl floor cleaners for stain removal, but these only have to be used on occasion.
The bottom line: few flooring options out there are easier to maintain than vinyl.
Ease of Installation
Vinyl can be installed directly on almost any subfloor, which makes the installation process quick and relatively easy. And unlike other flooring types, vinyl flooring is easy for the layperson to install – you can often get away without having to hire an installation professional or contractor.
Vinyl flooring is also a great choice if you are dealing with an imperfect subfloor. Even if the subfloor is suboptimal, vinyl flooring can often be forgiving, helping to smooth out imperfections.
However, when you remove your old flooring, you should always inspect the subfloor to make sure it’s in good shape before adding vinyl on top. Some types of vinyl flooring, such as tiles or large sheets require an extra level surface because any flaws and imperfections will show through as bumps and indentations on your floor. Usually the best subfloor is a layer of well-sanded plywood. Vinyl flooring “can be laid on top of concrete, but again, uniformity and smoothness can be a problem. Also, a plywood layer will give you a better feel under foot”.
Assortment of Design Options
From a design standpoint, a huge benefit of vinyl flooring is that options are available in a huge assortment of colors and styles, with some designs even mimicking the look of stone tiles or wood planks. This difference is only really noticeable up-close, so you can get away with the look of a luxury product for the affordable price of vinyl.
Vinyl is a long-lasting flooring product and can last up to 20 years. Once it’s installed, you can rest easy knowing you will have solid floors for years to come. Vinyl flooring can also be glued down which is something that may be attractive to homeowners.
Another interesting aspect of vinyl flooring can increase your home’s value and luxury factor — you can install in-floor heating beneath a number of vinyl flooring options.
Cons of Vinyl Flooring
While vinyl flooring is low maintenance and highly durable, as with any product, there are a handful of “cons” to be aware of. Here are some potential cons of vinyl flooring.
Hard to Remove
This “con” really only applies if you choose to glue down your flooring (which is an option with vinyl). If you choose to glue down your vinyl flooring, the removal process is known to be very difficult. If you are installing vinyl as a temporary solution, it is recommended you avoid glue to make the removal as easy as possible.
Because vinyl products are so soft, they have a tendency to warp to any particles left beneath them during installation. For example, a trapped bit of dirt could eventually become a bump in your vinyl floor. These bumps are not only unsightly, they are also more prone to rips and tears. For this reason, you must take extra care during installation to ensure absolutely no particles are left on the subfloor, which means extra cleaning in the preparation phase. Not doing this level of cleaning would be a major mistake in your kitchen or bathroom remodel that you certainly want to avoid.
Not Impossible to Damage
While vinyl flooring is incredibly durable, it is not impervious to damage. If certain objects, such as knives or other sharp object, are dropped with enough velocity, they can damage vinyl floors, leaving dents, punctures or scars.
Another damage hazard to look out for with vinyl floors is the process of moving furniture. Moving heavy furniture can result in scuffs and gouges that are difficult to remove. If you do rearrange furniture, be sure to cover the feet with felt, or lift the piece off the ground before moving it.
Not Authentic Wood Feel
If you’re a wood floor purist, then you likely will not be satisfied with the texture of vinyl. Vinyl flooring does not have the wood feel of laminate or especially hardwood. When walking on vinyl flooring with shoes, it does not have the rich wooden sound a natural wood floor would (BestLaminate.com).
In that same vein, you also will not get the same investment value with vinyl as you would with material like hardwood. So, if you’re renovating your floors in order to increase the value of your home, vinyl may not be your best option.
Not Environmentally Friendly
Environmental advocates may balk at vinyl flooring when hearing that it is not biodegradable and does not break down naturally into the environment in a short period of time. It is also difficult to recycle, which means that byproducts and old floors often end up in landfills. Vinyl floors also consume non-renewable natural resources such as petroleum and natural gas during the manufacturing process.
For environmentally conscious consumers, laminate flooring might be a better option since is it fully recyclable.
In conclusion, there is no shortage of options out there for kitchen flooring, but it’s imperative to choose the right material for you. Knowing the vinyl flooring for kitchens pros and cons will help you make the right choice for you and your family.