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Types of Vinyl Flooring

By Fortino Rosas / December 23, 2021 / 0 Comments

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Vinyl flooring is everywhere. It’s affordable, easy to install, and comes in a variety of colors and textures. But with so many options on the market, where do you start? We will show you the different types of vinyl flooring available today and their pros and cons!

Types of Vinyl Flooring Explained

With so many types of vinyl flooring, not to mention all the different names, it can get very confusing. Below is a chart to help you understand the different types of vinyl flooring. The most common types of vinyl flooring are Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP), Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), and Sheet Vinyl.

Types of Vinyl Flooring
There are several types of vinyl flooring with LVP and LVT being the most common.

Comparison of Different Types of Vinyl Flooring

Luxury Vinyl Plank
(LVP)
Luxury Vinyl Tile
(LVT)
Vinyl Composition Tile
(VCT)
Sheet Vinyl Peel & Stick Vinyl
Best Room(s) to Use Basement, Bathroom, Kitchen Basement, Bathroom, Kitchen Laundry RoomKitchen, Basement, BathroomBathroom, Kitchen, Hallways
Core Material SPC: limestone powder and vinyl
WPC: wood flour and vinyl
Resins, Plasticizers, and LimestoneVinyl, limestone, and filler materialPolyvinyl Chloride (PVC)Vinyl
Cost per Sq. Ft.$2.00 – $7.00 $2.00 – $5.00 $0.99 – $4.00 $0.50 – $2.00 $0.50 – $4.00
Installation Method(s) Glue Down
Floating/Click-Lock
Glue Down
Floating/Click-Lock
Loose Lay
Glue Down Glue Down
Loose Lay
Press Down
Where to Buy or See StylesFlooring Inc
Home Depot
Flooring Inc
Home Depot
Home Depot
Lowe’s
Flooring Inc
Home Depot
Home Depot
Lowe’s

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is multi-layer material that has the same texture and appearance of real hardwood flooring but without the high price tag of solid or engineered hardwoods. It is also known as PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride). It is a more advanced and modern vinyl flooring option than traditional vinyl from the mid-1900s.

Note: the word “luxury” in front is simply a marketing tactic used by manufacturers.

Engineered Vinyl Plank (EVP)

Engineered Vinyl Plank (EVP) is a subset of Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) with a rigid core made of fiberboard. It is often called rigid core luxury vinyl flooring.

EVP flooring has three subcategories:

  • Stone Plastic Composite (SPC): SPC planks have a core that is mixed with limestone powder and vinyl. They are 100% waterproof and are a great choice for uneven subfloors. While less thick than WPC, they are often more durable as they are denser which makes them better at resisting damage.
  • Wood Plastic Composite (WPC): WPC planks have a core that is mixed with wood flour and vinyl. They are softer and more comfortable than SPC floors. They are also 100% waterproof and are a good choice for bathrooms, basements, and kitchens.
  • Vinyl-only core: These planks only have a vinyl core. Budget brands like LifeProof and NuCore use them.

To learn more see our detailed comparison of SPC vs. WPC.

Vinyl Plank Flooring Layers Explained

  • Cork Underlayment: The backing or bottom may include corking or other soundproofing material. These layers provide underfoot cushioning.
  • Core: A combination of vinyl, plasticizers, and either limestone powder (SPC) or wood flour (WPC).
  • Printed Film: This layer covers the core with paper print film to get the desired style and color.
  • Wear Layer: The top layer is pure vinyl which protects the paper print film. This is therefore the most important piece of the flooring and what matters the most. The higher the wear layer, the longer the floor will last. The level of wear on a vinyl plank is measured in mil (one-thousandth of an inch). A mil is not the same as a millimeter, as roughly 40 mil equals 1.0 mm (39.4 mil to 1 mm, to be exact). Get the thickest wear layer you can afford. At a minimum look for a 12 mil wear layer or greater.
Vinyl Floor Layers
The Wear Layer is most important as it protects the Printed Film

Now that you understand the subcategories and different layers of vinyl plank flooring let’s discuss the pro and cons.

Advantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Realistic visuals. Vinyl plank looks almost exactly like real hardwood flooring, but with a lower price tag and higher durability.
  • Good for any room in the house. Ideal for rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.
  • Water-resistant and waterproof options. LVP is resistant to spills and can be installed in bathrooms and kitchens without fear of moisture damage.
  • Extremely durable. With a wear layer of 0.50 mm or higher, LVP can withstand heavy foot traffic and is scratch-resistant.
  • Budget-friendly. LVP is generally less expensive than other types of hardwood flooring. Vinyl plank typically costs between $2 and $7 per square foot, while hardwood flooring can cost $8 to more than $25 per square foot.
  • Endless selection of different colors and styles. Home Depot has over 1,000 different choices!
  • Easy to clean and maintain. In most cases, a mop, vacuum, and apple cider vinegar is all you need.
  • Easy to install. Installing vinyl plank is a DIY project that most homeowners can do on a weekend. There are floating vinyl flooring or glue-down options.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Can off-gas Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Breathing VOCs can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Not an eco-friendly option. Vinyl plank can be recycled and it’s made of plastic.
  • Hard to repair. In most cases, the repair process will involve sanding, waxing, and buffing or full plank replacement which is not easy for beginners.
  • Can be difficult to remove. Glue-down vinyl plank is extremely difficult to remove and is a tedious process.
  • Does not provide as much cushion as other types of flooring such as carpet or linoleum, which can lead to discomfort for some people. However, different types of underlayment can be placed under the floor to make it more comfortable.
  • Does not increase home resale value when compared to real hardwood. People still consider hardwood to be superior to vinyl plank.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Luxury Vinyl Tile offers homeowners a vinyl option that has many of the same features as tile or stone. LVT is made from 100% recycled materials and is available in a variety of colors to match any home décor style. Options include stone vinyl tile, decorative vinyl tiles, and wood look vinyl tiles. It can even be installed over existing flooring without having to remove it first! LVT stands up well against water damage, making it a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury Vinyl Tile is perfect for areas with moisture

View Styles at Home Depot –>

Advantages of Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring

  • Excellent for areas with moisture. LVT is very resistant to areas with moisture which makes it a great choice for basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
  • Durable. LVT is extremely durable, but it still can scratch or dent from things like heavy furniture.
  • Budget-friendly. Luxury Vinyl Tile typically costs between $2 and $5 per square foot which is much cheaper than hardwood.
  • Easy to maintain. A simple dry or damp mop should handle most cleaning needed. There is no need to wax, polish, or seal LVT.

Disadvantages of Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring

  • Cannot sand or refurbish.
  • Does not have the same feel as hardwood. LVT lacks the same feel and stability that is provided by hardwood flooring.
  • May fade from UV rays. Having adequate protection from shades or blinds can help protect LVT from harmful UX rays that can fade the tile.

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)

Vinyl Composition Tile is made of vinyl resin, fillers, and pigments. Slowly making a move from hospitals, schools, libraries, and public areas to residential use, this vinyl tile is the ideal choice for high-traffic rooms. It is a very durable flooring material that is easy to maintain and clean. Vinyl Composition Tile is available in a variety of colors and styles, making it a popular choice for both residential and commercial applications. VCT can be installed over most existing floors, making it a popular choice.

Vinyl Composition Tile
Vinyl Composition Tile is ideal for high-traffic areas

View Styles at Lowe’s –>

Advantages of Vinyl Composition Tile Flooring

  • Durable. With proper maintenance, VCT flooring can last 20 years or more.
  • Eco-friendly. Unlike most vinyl flooring options, VCT flooring is recyclable.
  • Resistance to fading. Even if exposed to direct sunlight, VCT will maintain its look and not fade.
  • Quiet. Unlike most tiles, Vinyl Composition Tile is very quiet and great for indoor spaces.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Composition Tile Flooring

  • Difficult to remove. VCT is installed with a strong adhesive which creates a firm bond to the subfloor making it very difficult to remove.
  • Subfloors must be even. You will need to dedicate extra time to ensure the subfloor is perfectly when installing. The smallest bump or hole will immediately be noticed after installing.
  • Maintenance. VCT floors must be waxed and polished frequently which can take up a lot of time and add extra costs.

Sheet Vinyl

Sheet vinyl is vinyl flooring that comes in large sheets. Vinyl sheet is a type of water-resistant flooring that’s made using PVC, making it ideal for wet areas in the house. Sheet vinyl is appropriate for every area of your home, but it really shines in the kitchen, laundry room, basement, and bathrooms. The three categories of vinyl sheet flooring are homogeneous, inlaid, and layered composite.

Sheet Vinyl is a popular choice for rooms that can get wet

View Styles at Home Depot –>

Advantages of Sheet Vinyl Flooring

  • Affordable. The cost of sheet vinyl material is ~$2 per square foot making it one of the most affordable flooring options on the market.
  • Water and stain-resistant. Sheet vinyl is one of the best choices for areas that get wet. They rarely stain when food or liquids are spilled on them.
  • Easy to install. Loose lay vinyl flooring is one of the easiest floors to install as almost no adhesive is needed and the weight of the vinyl sheet keeps it in place. However, if you are not working in an empty room working around things like toilets and tubs can be a challenge.
  • Patterned vinyl sheet flooring. Sheet vinyl comes in a variety of patterns, colors, and styles to meet anyone’s needs.

Disadvantages of Sheet Vinyl Flooring

  • Discoloration. If you purchase low-quality sheet vinyl, it can turn yellow over time. This can also happen with direct exposure to sunlight. With higher quality options, discoloration does not happen.
  • Subfloor preparation. If your subfloor is not even or has damage, it must be fixed before installing sheet vinyl. Otherwise, it will cause damage and show through the sheet vinyl.

Peel and Stick Vinyl

Peel and Stick Vinyl flooring comes in adhesive sheets. It is a great option as it can be installed without any damage to the walls or floors. It is also a great choice for people who are looking for an easy installation. Peel and Stick Vinyl can be placed directly over most existing floors. It comes in a variety of styles, but it is typically sold as tiles or sheets that look like hardwood or stone.

Peel & Stick Vinyl Flooring
Peel & Stick Vinyl is a ideal option if you are looking for an easy installation

View Styles at Lowe’s–>

Advantages of Peel and Stick Vinyl Flooring

  • Easy to install. Peel and stick vinyl is one of the easiest types of flooring to install. You can place it directly over most existing floors without any damage.
  • No adhesive is needed. Peel and stick vinyl does not require any adhesive to stay in place, making it a great option for renters or people who are looking for an easy installation.
  • Easily removable. If you decide you want to remove the Peel and Stick Vinyl, it can be easily peeled off without any damage to the floor or walls.

Disadvantages of Peel and Stick Vinyl Flooring

  • May not stick well to some surfaces. If you are peeling and sticking vinyl over a surface that is not smooth (like carpet), it may not stick well and could come up over time.
  • May not be as durable as other types of vinyl flooring. Peel and stick vinyl is typically thinner than other types of vinyl flooring, so it may not be as durable. It is important to read the manufacturer’s warranty before purchasing this type of flooring.

Conclusion

There are several types of vinyl flooring to choose from, so it is important to research and decide which type is best for your needs. Luxury Vinyl Plank and Luxury Vinyl Tile are two of the most popular types of vinyl flooring and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to dedicate extra time to ensure the subfloor is in good condition before installing vinyl flooring. If you are looking for an easy installation, Peel and Stick Vinyl may be the best option for you. Remember to read the manufacturer’s warranty before making a purchase.

About Fortino Rosas

Chief Floor Critic, 32 years of experience in flooring installation and sales

Fortino Rosas is an independent flooring contractor with 32 years of experience in residential and commercial flooring installation and sales. He joined the Floor Critics team to share his expertise with our readers. Fortino has acquired vast knowledge and skills in the areas of product selection, space planning, and installation. He has installed flooring in residential, government, and commercial office projects in the Midwest.

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