The most common type of resilient floor tile is vinyl, but linoleum, cork and rubber are other examples of resilient tiles. The materials that form the tile are set in place and heat sealed. Resilient flooring is often one of the least expensive floor choices but also is one of the most durable.
Resilient flooring works in any number of settings. The many styles, colors and textures often look like real stone, ceramic or wood. The surface of the floor tiles is resistant to scratches and other damage from daily wear. Vinyl tile requires only an occasional damp mopping to clean it. Linoleum and rubber floor tiles are hypoallergenic They are sturdy enough to withstand hot water and disinfectant cleaning, which makes them ideal for hospitals, restaurant kitchens and other institutional settings where sanitation is a high priority. Resilient floor tiles also provide slip resistance.
Resilient floor tile is softer than hardwood or stone. Because it has some "give," it's not a good choice for rooms with movable heavy equipment. Household-grade floor tile may not be suitable for rooms with heavy foot traffic because there may be signs of wear along the traffic path. Because of the low cost for most resilient floor tile, they have a reputation among contractors and installers as a "cheap" product with less-than-desirable looks.
No matter what type of resilient flooring, there are three basic layers. The bottom layer is the backing that provides the structural strength to hold the tile together as well as adhere it to the subfloor. The printed design layer is the next layer. The design may be an all-over pattern, a texture or a solid color. Sitting on top of the printed layer is the clear film layer, which helps protect the tile from tears and gouges. More expensive tiles have a fourth layer on top made of urethane, which assists in maintaining the appearance of the tile.
Resilient floor tile installation needs to be over a smooth subfloor to prevent excessive wear or cracking of the tiles. Tiles are either a standard 12 x 12-inch square or 16 x 16-inch square. Some manufacturers are now offering tiles in plank shape, much like laminate flooring. Most tiles are set in adhesive, but some offer a peel-and-stick adhesive backing. The key to a successful installation is careful planning and preparation of the subfloor. Do-it-yourselfers can install resilient floor tiles.