Vinyl plank flooring: the versatile choice that works for any room
Your flooring makes a significant impact on the design of any home. In plain sight, the wrong flooring can date a room and change the entire aesthetic. A versatile option that’s quickly rising to popularity (again) and can adapt to nearly any room in your home is vinyl plank flooring (VPF).
Although it’s become all the rage in the last few years, vinyl plank flooring is nothing new. In fact, I put vinyl plank floors in my home back in 1994, and when I moved out of that house in 2016, the flooring was still in great condition after 22 years of wear and tear. Just take a look at this photo of my dog, Max on my vinyl plank flooring in 2008:
Vinyl plank flooring has come a long way with the new manufacturing and quality standards used today. You can choose from a variety of looks, colors, textures and finishes while maintaining the benefits of vinyl flooring.
What is vinyl plank flooring?
Vinyl plank flooring is designed to look like real hardwood. It has many of the same features, including wood grains and beveled edges as real wood floors. The reason people choose vinyl over wood is that it’s significantly easier to maintain and is a more affordable alternative to real hardwood. Its durability makes it perfect for offices and nearly any room in your home.
The advantages of vinyl plank flooring
The most significant benefit of vinyl flooring is that it is 100% water resistant and waterproof (depending on the brand), which makes it perfect for climates that receive a lot of rain and humidity, as we do in Coastal Florida. It is very durable and able to withstand plenty of traffic. It’s also easier on your legs, because it has a softer feel and is often the best option for homeowners who find the hardness and “no-give” of tile or stone to be tiring.
Vinyl plank flooring’s water resistance makes it perfect for easy clean up around children and pets prone to making messes. All you need to maintain relatively tidy vinyl plank flooring is sweeping and mopping.
Vinyl planking can be installed over several existing floor types, including tile, laminate and other flat surfaces, however it is best recommended to be installed on a smooth, concrete subfloor surface. Installation tends to be easy and some people even decide to self-install their flooring by choosing click-lock or loose-lay options. Since vinyl plank flooring comes in a range of styles and finishes, there are options to fit almost any budget.
The pros of vinyl plank flooring include:
Easy to clean
Comes in a variety of styles
100% water resistant or waterproof (depending on brand and type)
Durable and long lasting
Easy to install over existing flooring
The downsides of vinyl plank flooring
While we love vinyl plank flooring because of all the benefits mentioned, there are a few downsides that may influence your decision to use them in your home. Depending on your existing floors, you might need to choose a plank that is glued to the floor. If you decide to glue the flooring, it could be challenging to remove the planks in the future. You need to be very comfortable with your decision for the long term. That’s not to say that the planks will be permanent, but removing them will be much more difficult than if you choose either the lay-down or click-lock installation method.
While vinyl plank flooring is water resistant, the laminate on the surface is not UV resistant, meaning that the colors could fade if exposed to an abundance of direct sunlight over time. So rethink your decision if you’re considering it for a patio, Florida room, or any room that receives a lot of direct sunlight, which we have an abundance of in Southeast Florida. However, if you have UV-resistant windows or UV-filtration film on your windows, you may be able to install vinyl plank flooring in rooms that do receive direct sunlight.
The cons of vinyl plank flooring include:
Difficult to remove if glued down
Colors may fade from strong, direct sun exposure over time
Other factors to consider when choosing vinyl plank flooring
If you are tired of dealing with the hassle of dusting and cleaning high-maintenance hardwood flooring, then vinyl plank flooring could solve that headache. To clean your vinyl plank flooring, just sweep, vacuum or damp mop. You should avoid buffing or waxing vinyl plank flooring as this can damage the top layer of the planks.
Dalton Georgia’s Shaw Industries Group, one of the world’s largest flooring manufacturers, recommends cleaning vinyl plank flooring with a neutral pH-balanced cleaner like ZEP sold at your local hardware store with a micro-fiber mop.
Vinyl can be used in nearly any space. With the range of styles now on the market, discriminating homeowners are finding gorgeous plank styles to incorporate into their living spaces, which are also great for entertaining that involves high traffic, spills and other impacts.
Vinyl plank flooring is perfect for families with children and pets as well as the aging population. Your flooring will be able to withstand sharp pet claws and toys, and cleaning messes will be so much easier than most other surfaces, including hardwood.
There are plenty of different flooring options on the market today, which can make it challenging to know which one can best meet your needs. The best way to decide if vinyl plank flooring is right for you is to take a look at your current lifestyle and determine what you need your flooring to provide for you.◆