Different Types of Vinyl
Homogenous, inlaid vinyl and layered composite vinyl are the three different types of vinyl. Homogenous vinyl is the same consistency throughout. It is solid with no backing underneath. Inlaid vinyl is made up of bits of vinyl that are pushed into a vinyl backing and have a wear layer on top. The vinyl is then heated. This process makes patterns and different colors in the tile that lasts after the wear layer is worn down. Layered composite is the final way that vinyl is made and it is more common than the others. It has four layers which consist of the backing, the main layer, the decoration and the wear layer.
The surface of a vinyl tile is the most important aspect. A consumer should pay close attention when deciding this layer of the tile. The wear layer plays a factor in how easily the tile will be to clean and how long it will last. The customer will have three choices when choosing the final coating--vinyl no wax surface, urethane and enhanced urethane. The no wax layer will not last as long to traffic. It does hold up to some staining and will hold up to wear for quite a while. It will need floor polish even though its name implies not. Urethane layers are more resistant to stains and foot traffic than no wax. Enhanced urethane is the most durable. It has a shine to it that lasts longer than either of the others and can withstand foot traffic for years.
Patter Is Important Too
Pattern application can also have an effect on the durability of the vinyl. The two ways to apply patterns are rotogravure and inlaid. The rotogravure way is to create the pattern on top of the main layer and have it covered by the wear layer to protect it. But since the design is only in one layer, damage can happen when the wear layer is gone. The inlaid way is to make the vinyl with the inlaid tile process, where bits of vinyl are placed on the backing and heated. In this way the entire tile is the pattern and goes all the way down to the backing. It is then covered with a wear layer. In this case if the wear layer dissipates over time the pattern will not be worn away.
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