Vinyl flooring has been a popular flooring in many different settings for years. It can be an affordable alternative to other types of flooring, and some types of vinyl look as authentic as real wood or stone, without the expense or weight of these natural flooring materials. Vinyl flooring is generally easy to install and maintain, and lasts a long time. However, there are some drawbacks to vinyl flooring.
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Pros of Vinyl Flooring
The advantages of vinyl flooring are many and its popularity as a flooring material in heavy traffic areas like kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms is justified. Relative to other flooring options like carpet, tile, hardwood or stone, it is easy to install. It stands up to high traffic and is easy to keep clean by simply sweeping and washing it with standard cleaning products. Vinyl flooring comes in a wide variety of styles, designs and colors. It comes on rolls that measure 6 or 12 feet wide, so installers can often cover an entire floor surface without a seam. Vinyl flooring is resilient, absorbs noise and is comfortable to stand on for long periods of time, unlike tile, wood or stone. Glass items may not break when dropped on vinyl floors. When the protective gloss coating of the tile wears down, the floor can be waxed with one of the many vinyl floor waxes to restore its gloss and keep it easy to sweep and scrub.
Cons of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl floors can rip, and will gouge if a sharp object is dropped on it. These nicks and rips are nearly impossible to fix. Vinyl flooring that needs to be pieced and will have seams should be installed by a professional. The seams are hard to hide and it takes experience to learn how to do it. The floor surface preparation is tedious. The surface must be incredibly clean to make sure that the flooring lies flat with no bumps or bubbles. Conversely, vinyl flooring is difficult to remove and replace. It is an acceptable industry practice to lay another sheet of vinyl over the existing one, but thereafter, special machines have to be used to scrape the vinyl off the floor. Vinyl flooring emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to air quality problems in the home, particularly when the flooring is new. It is manufactured with products that include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that emits harmful gases, particularly when the product is new. However, as of June 2010, some manufacturers are finding that they can reduce the PVCs they use to manufacture the flooring.
How to Choose Vinyl
Budget is often the first consideration when choosing vinyl flooring. A vinyl floor will stand up to substantial traffic and look new for years with good care and cleaning. As with other products, vinyl comes in different quality grades and can be a good choice for homes or other environments where the weight of the flooring could be an issue, or tile or hardwood flooring poses risks for the inhabitants. People who love the look of tile or stone floors, but have small children or live with people prone to falling can choose vinyl floors that look exactly like these floors but will not hurt as much should someone fall on them.