Vinyl Flooring

Everything you need to know before you buy.

Vinyl flooring has been around since the 1930s and become a staple in many building projects thanks to its durability and relatively low cost. In this guide, we take a closer look at vinyl flooring and try to answer all your questions before you buy.
Vinyl flooring has been used in homes and commercial buildings for the better part of 9 decades. Its durability and low price have made it a very popular choice for many.

Vinyl has also come a long way with new technology changing how it is made and the way it looks.

To help you get to grips with everything you need to know about vinyl flooring we have put together this in-depth guide. Here’s a look at what’s included.

    1. Vinyl Flooring 101
    2. Vinyl flooring trends today
    3. Is vinyl flooring right for your home?
    4. Choosing the correct vinyl flooring for your home
    5. What does vinyl flooring cost?
    6. How to care for your vinyl floors

P.S You can also use the menu to help you navigate to the chapters that interest you the most.

Ready to dive into the world of vinyl? Let’s go!

 

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1. Vinyl Flooring 101

The result of an accidental invention in the 1800s, vinyl has come a long way since it was first unveiled as a durable, budget-friendly flooring option at an exposition in Chicago, USA, in 1933.

Made from a 100% synthetic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to which different compounds can be added to change the material’s colour, flexibility and sheen, modern vinyl flooring products generally consist of multiple layers, depending on the type of product. These layers may include:

    • A UV acrylic coating to protect it from sun damage.
    • A wear layer that protects it against scratches.
    • The image or decorative layer.
    • A PVC layer that provides stability and support to the flooring.
    • The PVC core.
    • A built-in underlay (optional).

 

The layers can look something like this in the case of luxury vinyl tiles and boards.

lvt vinyl flooring
Or this in the case of stone plastic composite, a type of vinyl flooring with a more rigid structure.
spc vinyl flooring

Click here to see how vinyl flooring is made in a factory.

Today, consumers looking for vinyl flooring can choose between two main categories of vinyl flooring, namely sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles. These categories are further subdivided into different product offerings, including:

Standard Vinyl Tiles and Sheets

Standard vinyl (also known as cushion vinyl) flooring consists of four layers: a felt, fibreglass, cork or foam backing, waterproof membrane, image layer and wear layer. Standard vinyl is soft, flexible, water- and stain-resistant. It is available in sheets (large fibreglass-backed, continuous sheets ideal for covering expansive surfaces quickly and easily) or modular tiles (in a square or rectangular shape) resembling ceramic or stone tiles.

 

Discover TCF’s range of vinyl tiles and vinyl sheeting.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles and Boards

Luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) consists of luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and luxury vinyl boards or planks (LVP), both semi-rigid in nature. These vinyl flooring products have more layers than standard vinyl flooring, with one of the biggest differences being the thickness of the wear layer. LVF has a much thicker wear layer, making it more rigid than standard vinyl but also more durable. It is also softer underfoot than standard vinyl and allows for a more realistic design to be printed onto it.

LVF is available in wood-look planks and tiles mimicking stone and ceramic amongst other designs and patterns.

 

Learn more: 12 Luxury Vinyl Flooring FAQS (Answered)

Rigid Core Vinyl Tiles and Boards

Rigid core vinyl flooring is a subset of LVF and can be subdivided into two categories, depending on the composition of the core layer of a product.

Rigid core stone plastic composite (SPC) vinyl has a limestone core and its wear layer consists of a quartz-enhanced urethane coating for added durability and protection.
On the other hand, rigid core wood plastic composite (WPC) vinyl has a core composed of either recycled wood pulp and plastic or polymer composites. This makes it softer and warmer underfoot than SPC flooring.

Both SPC and WPC are types of floating floors, which means they click together with a locking system and lay loose on top of the subfloor.

 

Discover TCF’s range of Luxury SPC Rigid Board flooring products.
In addition, vinyl flooring products can also be installed via one of two methods: stick down (these products are glued directly onto the floor) or click in (these products lock together with an interlocking mechanism).

This wide selection has only added to the flooring’s popularity since the 1960s when innovative products such as cushioned vinyl and vinyl wood-look boards made it the top choice for flooring in residential as well as commercial buildings.

In fact, in South Africa alone, vinyl is still a very popular flooring choice, with the most luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) purchased by customers in the Western Cape, closely followed by KZN and central Gauteng.

The ongoing demand is mainly due to the product’s durability, affordability and water- and stain-resistant qualities. Plus, it is available in an extensive selection of colours, patterns and designs that imitate not only real wood but also stone, ceramic and marble.

Another reason why vinyl is such a popular choice today is its environmentally friendly status. Not only are many products recyclable but the main component in vinyl is salt (chlorine) – an abundant natural resource. Plus, the production of vinyl flooring requires 15% less energy than the production of linoleum and a whopping 50% less than ceramic tiles.

 

Learn more: Eco-Friendly Flooring: Carpet vs Vinyl vs Laminate?
vinyl flooring color trends
Get the look with the new Portofino by Designer Collection at TCF. The range features beautifully light and cool colours that are bang on trend.
vinyl flooring layouts
vinyl flooring design
Get the look with TCF’s recently launched Innovations by Nature II Rigid Board vinyl tiles that have a luxe concrete-and-marble design or the Legends and Legends Commercial ranges of wood-look boards.

3. Is Vinyl Flooring Right for your Home?

Vinyl, like all types of flooring, has its pros and cons. And depending on your flooring requirements, budget and style it may or may not be the right choice for your home.

To find out if vinyl is indeed the correct type of flooring for you, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the product.

The Advantages of Vinyl Flooring

One of vinyl’s biggest drawcards is its price tag, especially when coupled with the flooring’s favourable characteristics. An affordable flooring option, it really delivers bang for your buck as it is very durable (depending on the quality), water-resistant, stain-resistant, hygienic, soft and quiet underfoot, easy to clean and maintain, scratch-resistant and slip-proof. It is super versatile as it can be used in any room of the home and is available in a wide range of colours and designs, ensuring there is a product for every style of interior.

Not sure what your interior design style is? Let us help you find your style.

Suitable for high-moisture and high-traffic areas, it is a great choice for families with young children or pets and can be used in any room of the house, including bathrooms and kitchens.

The Disadvantages of Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring can differ quite dramatically in quality with cheap vinyl prone to tearing and gauging as the wear layer is much thinner.

Vinyl installation also requires proper floor prep to ensure optimal functionality and longevity of the product. This may include levelling your subfloor (screeding is often required) and installing a moisture barrier.

Vinyl is also sensitive to temperature changes, which can cause it to shrink or expand, and cannot be installed in a room or home that is closed and unused for long periods.
In addition, heavy furniture may dent vinyl flooring and scrape the floor if dragged across the surface. Vinyl floors should also not be exposed to direct sunlight as the product can fade.

Vinyl flooring can also be difficult to repair and will most likely require a replacement.
If you are still unsure whether or not vinyl is the right flooring for you, or you are simply not sure what type of vinyl to invest in, keep the following in mind…

12 Things to Consider when Buying Vinyl Flooring

1
Budget. Although a cheaper option may look attractive and cost-effective in the short run when it comes to vinyl you get what you pay for. Quality vinyl may be a bit pricier but it will look good – and feel good underfoot – for much longer.
2
Current floor and condition. If your current floor surface is smooth and clean, installing vinyl should be straightforward. If not, labour and prep costs can drive up the cost of your vinyl flooring pretty quickly. Keep this in mind when doing your budget.
3
Functionality. Keep the type of room, the main activities that take place in it and the number of people that use it in mind when selecting a vinyl product. Busy areas will require a more durable product than quiet ones and even then very heavy or sharp objects can damage vinyl.
4
Style. Vinyl is available in a great many styles and designs. Choose one that reflects and compliments your interior-decor style.
5
Colour. As with style, the colour you choose for your flooring should work with your overall look. This is important as your floor is the single largest surface apart from the walls in a room and its colour will form the basis for everything else. The colour of your floor can also affect the mood in the room, so choose wisely!
6
Maintenance. Another important consideration when it comes to choosing flooring is maintenance. Think about how much time you want to spend cleaning and how easily flooring can get damaged and will need repair or replacement.
7
Size. For large areas, sheet vinyl is great as it makes installation quick and easy. On the other hand, manoeuvring a large roll-up multiple staircases and around a small room can be tricky.
8
The result.When choosing between vinyl sheets and tiles (including boards), consider the finish and how it will translate – if you want a wood look, boards with grooves and a more realistic 3-D image will deliver a far more realistic result than continuous vinyl sheets printed with a wood design.
9
Room orientation and sun exposure. Direct sunlight can cause the colour of vinyl flooring to fade. If your room is open to the elements and receives direct sunlight all day long, vinyl may not be the best choice.
10
Additional requirements. If you need your flooring to help insulate a room, SPC vinyl is best. In addition, it is also a great option if you require products with sound-absorption qualities. In residential spaces, areas, where you will stand for a long period, may benefit from cushion vinyl, which is softer.
11
Comfort. A thicker vinyl will feel softer underfoot. So too will vinyl be installed with an underlayment (if using click-in vinyl).
12
Finishes. Today, vinyl is available with several finish options, including wire-brushing, hand scraping, and bevelled or round edges. Choose the finish that best encapsulates your style.
Remember, flooring is a big and long-term investment, so the more research you do beforehand, the better able you will be to make an informed decision. The last thing you want is to have to replace your floors in a few months!

For more information or to discuss your flooring options, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable staff members today or download our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: Carpets vs Tiles vs Laminates vs Vinyl now.

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4. Choosing the Correct Vinyl Flooring for your Home

With so many vinyl flooring options available, it can be difficult to figure out which single product is exactly right for your home. You want to get this right, of course, as your flooring will set the tone for the rest of your decor scheme and play a big part in ensuring your whole look comes together flawlessly.

Luckily, we are here to help!

Our innovative online Visualiser tool can help you find just the right colour and design for your home. The Visualiser allows you to upload a photo of your room (or choose one of our preloaded options according to your style) and then see how the vinyl flooring will look in situ.

No more guessing required!

In addition, we’ve developed some mood boards based on key decor styles with designer tips on selecting the type of vinyl flooring that best suits the style.

Modern Farmhouse = Luxury Wood-look Vinyl

modern farmhouse style
Modern farmhouse interiors are light and bright, yet also warm and inviting. These homes are all about comfort and function. LVTs in light blonde or ash tones are best suited to this style. If you have the option of wide-plank flooring, go with this for a more authentic farmhouse look.

Industrial = Vinyl Sheeting

industrial style
Characterised by expansive open floorplans, vinyl sheeting or large-format tiles are the perfect options for industrial-style interiors that call for cost-effective and seamless flooring solutions.

Mid-Century Modern = Terrazzo-Inspired Vinyl Tiles

mid-century
Vinyl and Mid-Century modern design go back a long way, with the two reaching the height of their popularity around the same time. Today, both are back in vogue and a great way to infuse a home with a touch of Mid-Century style is by adding terrazzo-inspired flooring such as Terrazzi vinyl tiles which have a flecked appearance just like terrazzo.

Classic Contemporary = Luxury Wood-look Vinyl

classic contemporary
Dark-coloured wood-look vinyl, such as Hardwood, is perfect for more classic interiors. The deep tones and textured appearance instantly add warmth to a space, making it utterly cosy and inviting. Amp it up by laying your vinyl in a herringbone pattern for extra visual interest.

Minimalist Interiors = Stone-Look Vinyl Flooring

minimalist
Clean and contemporary, minimalist interiors are all about sleek surfaces. Luxe stone-look floors are the best option for these spaces. Try Innovations by Nature II, Slab or Morphic.

Boho Luxe = Graphic Cushion Vinyl Tiles

boho luxe
Eclectic interiors are all about layering patterns, textures and colours. Whilst we would suggest a neutral flooring option for the most part, why not experiment with a fun colourful flooring product in a smaller space such as a bathroom, hallway or staircase?

Not only will it add colour and character – essential to Boho interiors – but it can also serve as a decorative focal point.

Try Amble or Neoteric cushion vinyl.

5. What does Vinyl Flooring Cost?

The cost of vinyl flooring can range anywhere from R135 per square metre for vinyl sheeting to R705 per square metre for SPC and LVT products.

This excludes the cost of subfloor prep, delivery, labour and installation, which should also be factored in when budgeting.

Although all our products are of good quality, more expensive vinyl such as LVT and SPC products, have a thicker wear layer which allows it to withstand more foot traffic and more rigid cores, which make the products more stable and thus more durable.

It is always advised to go for the best quality flooring product your budget allows for.

For an in-depth look at pricing, download our Carpet, Laminate & LVT Pricing Guide.

6. How To Care for Your Vinyl Floors

Vinyl flooring is an excellent and durable choice for residential and commercial buildings and can last for many years if cared for correctly.

Vinyl flooring should be regularly swept or vacuumed with the hard floor attachment to remove dirt and particles that may scratch the surface.

Hardy spots can be removed with a soft cloth or micro-fibre mop and a little clean warm water. Never use a spaghetti mop or an excessive amount of water to clean your vinyl floor.

If this is not sufficient, a pH-neutral detergent in a 1:9 solution of clean, warm water can be used.

For more vinyl flooring care and maintenance tips, click here and for what to do if you spot water damage on your vinyl flooring, click here.

natural wood vinyl flooring

Wrapping Up

There you have it folks, everything you need to know about vinyl flooring, from how it came to be to what the latest trends are. We hope all this product info helps you make a more informed decision about the best type of flooring for you and your lifestyle.

Vinyl flooring has boomed over the years and for good reason: it’s durable, luxurious, budget-friendly and has the ability to match just about any decor style.

It’s no surprise then that it’s our most popular product and preferred by so many clients across the country, whether for residential or commercial installation.

At Top Carpets and Floors we have a wide variety of vinyl flooring solutions across a range of styles, colours and price points, so why not come on over and take a look? Our friendly experts will be on hand to answer any questions you may have or if you are already convinced that vinyl is the one for you, contact us today for a custom quote.