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What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring comes with pros and cons.

Redoing your flooring certainly offers a range of options, from hardwood to tile to vinyl to carpet. Of course, renovating on a budget means weighing the pros and cons of each flooring type and finding the one that sits at the intersection of affordability, durability and aesthetics. Vinyl flooring often meets those three requirements, which is why it’s such a popular choice for homeowners. Though, as with any material you use in your home, vinyl comes with its own set of benefits and frustrations. As you check out different types of vinyl, take a look at this information about plank flooring:

What is vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank is designed to resemble hardwood, and it comes in strips. You can find this product in a number of styles, each mimicking a specific type of wood, from oak to hickory and beyond. Because vinyl plank imitates hardwood, you’re sure to find a version that matches the rest of your home’s decor. Additionally, vinyl is the budget-friendly choice for renovators who want the look of hardwood without the challenging installation and cost.

“Renovating on a budget means weighing the pros and cons of each flooring type and finding the one that sits at the intersection of affordability, durability and aesthetics, and vinyl often meets those three requirements.”

Pros and cons of vinyl plank flooring

Purchasing wood vinyl flooring can be a smart investment, but you’ll only know whether the material is right for your home by weighing the pros and cons. Here’s a look at each:

Pros:

  • Many models of vinyl plank are backed with a felt product. When installed, this feature translates to a softer floor with more give. The top will look like hardwood and have that strong feel, but standing on vinyl for long periods of time is easier than standing on real wood. Additionally, objects are less likely to break when dropped on vinyl, which is good news for glasses and mugs.
  • Vinyl flooring is water resistant, making it a great choice for both bathrooms and kitchens. In fact, vinyl is better at sealing against water damage than laminate and hardwood. What’s more, some vinyl options are totally waterproof.
  • Vinyl plank can be installed directly on top of your subfloor, making the process quick, cost-effective and easy (given that the subfloor is in good condition). When you remove your old flooring, inspect the subfloor to make sure it’s in good shape before adding vinyl on top.
  • If you don’t want put a lot of effort into maintaining your floors, vinyl plank is a wise choice. The product is long-lasting, requiring only routine cleaning (i.e., sweeping and occasionally mopping) to keep it looking like new.
  • Vinyl is a long-lasting flooring product and can last up to 20 years. Once it’s down, you’ll have a great floor for years to come.
  • You can install in-floor heating beneath a number of vinyl flooring options if you’re looking for ways to increase luxury in your home.
vinyl

Mohawk Flooring Cumberland Heights Vinyl Plank SKU: 15205680

 


Cons:

  • Vinyl products have a tendency to warp to any particles left beneath them during installation. For instance, a trapped bit of dust could eventually become a bump in your floors. As such, you must take extra care during installation to ensure absolutely no particles are left on the subfloor. This can be tedious, but the cleaning is well worth the final product.
  • While vinyl will hold up for many years, you can damage it. Dropping a glass or moving heavy furniture can result in scuffs and gouges that are difficult to remove. If you do rearrange furniture, be sure to cover the feet with felt, or lift the piece off the ground before moving it.
  • Unlike hardwood, vinyl does not add much resale value to your house. So, if you’re renovating in order to increase the value of your home, vinyl may not be the best option.

With the multitude of options out there for home flooring, you want to make sure you choose a material that suits your lifestyle and tastes. These pros and cons of vinyl plank flooring should help you decide whether it’s the right pick for your home.

the vinyl frontier

(36) Comments

  1. Hi. I just saw a piece about this type of flooring and started searching for info. Our basement has had a few run ins with water…sump pump issue and a pipe that leaked. You know, all the fun things that come with home ownership! We took up the carpet after the last water issue and haven’t been able to find the right answer for floor coverage. It’s mostly used as a spill over play room for our kids so we want something that looks nice, can take a hit of finger paints and any water issue that may arise, but not overly expensive. We’re nervous to do tile directly on the basement cement floor. Would this type of laminate be a good option? Or would a floating floor (I dislike because of the extra noise they bring so am open to, but avoiding) be better to allow the cement to breath? Can you use it in a laundry room that also houses the sump pump? We’ve done the plastic sheet taped down for 3 days test and no moisture was present.

    Thank you so much for any advice! Who knew flooring could be so complicated!

  2. Angela MCPherson - Reply

    Hi I have a commercial property where sweet almond oil is used by remedial massage therapists. We are looking to replace carpet with vinyl and I’m not sure what the best option is? We have a limited budget and are looking at vinyl strips that will be glued down. My concern is that the supplier will compromise the preparation required in order to make a sale and keep the price within my budget. We previously had carpet which has left a glue residue on a concrete floor. Could you advise what preparation needs to occur for us to have a good outcome? Is it necessary for the floor to be troweled to ensure a smooth clean surface for the vinyl? Any other comments would be appreciated
    Thanks Angela

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Toni,

      You may be able to find a plank replacement tool if you use a floating vinyl floor. If you use a glue down or peel and stick it will be much more difficult. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. Hi, could you tell me if I can put vinyl strips in my bedroom? And can I put an underlay under it for insulation? Thanks.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Claire,

      You should be able to install vinyl plank in your bedroom as long as it has a concrete or wooden subfloor. Vinyl planks can be used anywhere in the home. You can also use an underlay for insulation as long as you use a floating floor installation. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  4. We used luxury vinyl planking in several rooms of our new home but especially in our kitchen and dining room, which is a large area. around our island, we have four chairs and my husband regularly sits there. Even while I regularly use furniture socks, the chair he sits in left scratches on our floor when he pushes himself back from the counter! We have only been in this house for 3 months and I take very good care of it. I’m very disappointed!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Debra,

      Sorry to hear about your floors! You may be able to find a urethane finish to apply to the surface for some extra protection. I would also suggest the thicker foam pads for the bottom of the chair legs, those usually work really well. Please let us know if you have any questions!

  5. Pingback: Top Flooring Options Based on Durability - Pro Floors of Utah

  6. Pingback: Pros And Cons Of Vinyl Plank Flooring - We are the planets cladding

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Merlaine,

      The baby grand piano may be too heavy for a floating vinyl floor. You can glue down and have it on top but it could restrict the expansion and contraction of the floor if it is floating. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. Pingback: How to Choose Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring | Flooring Experts Phoenix

  8. I am considering installing the Vesdura Vinyl Plank with the Cork Underlayment on an upstairs condo with cement subfloors. I am concerned about sound dampening. Which underlayment do you recommend?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Fran,

      Thank you for getting in touch! If the vinyl plank already has the cork underlay you won’t be able to put another underlay beneath, just a basic vapor barrier. The cork underlay that is attached will already have very good sound-dampening properties so you shouldn’t have any issues or need to add anything else. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  9. I have vinyl plank flooring throughout my home. I mop it with a water and white vinegar solution. The big problem I have is stains such as from water that end up showing up so easily and not easy to remove wen it’s time to mop. I have 2 dogs and in the area they drink their water and drip on the floor and walking in it along with my kitchen area where there is a lot of traffic are the worst areas. I’m very dissppointed as I don’t have the nice clean look for more than a day after mopping. Any suggestions??

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Sandra – thanks for reaching out to us. As far as cleaning this material goes, what you’re doing is perfect! Unfortunately, there are no types of flooring or cleaning products that will repel dirt or water stains from occurring. Our best recommendation for the dogs’ drinking area is to put a mat under their bowls to help catch the water that is dripping. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Sheila,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Either ceramic or porcelain tile or vinyl plank will work well in a bathroom. It just depends on your personal preference. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  10. If I put a floating vinyl plank floor in the kitchen, will a refrigerator and another heavy object like a island be a problem with expansion? The island is free standing

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for getting in touch! You can install the vinyl planks under your refrigerator, stove or dishwasher. You cannot install under any cabinets or islands, they are too heavy and the floor will not be able to expand and contract. You can just butt the floor up against the cabinets and island with the proper expansion gap. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  11. I took my old carpet up and there is glue from carpet in the kitchen on part of the floor but not all of the floor, due i need to sand floor or use pad, there is hardwood under the glue, but it is not useable?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for your inquiry! It depends what you plan on putting over top of what was under the carpet. If you are installing tile or hardwood you will need to sand the glue down. If you are planning on using engineered hardwood, laminate or any other floor that can be floated above you can leave it down as long as there isn’t too much of a protrusion. If you want to use the existing hardwood you will need to sand the glue down as well but you will also probably have to re-stain the hardwood after sanding. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

      • I am somewhat confused? One of the cons of Vinyl was the flooring has to be completely clean, but you guys suggested Sandy could put laminate over the glue attached to the original hardwood. I am going to put Vinyl laminate on a concrete slab for the first time and not sure how clean it must be?

  12. I want to use vinyl glue down planks for my motorhome. Although I will be smoothing out the subfloor as best I can, I still intend to use an underlayment. Can you advise which to use from your selection?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Beth. Thanks so much for reaching out to us. Yes, you will need to use a moisture barrier at the very least. A lot of the time warranties are void if an underlayment isn’t used. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Harrison,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Vinyl could work well in a camper but you would need to ensure it does not get too cold or too hot in the area as the vinyl will expand and contract. It would be best to use a glue down or peel and stick to keep the floor stable but floating could work as well. Please let us know if you have any other questions or would like some samples!

  13. I learned the hard way that vinyl planks shrink and expand…a lot. It shrunk and popped it’s seams one winter when the heat was off. And on hot summer days it expands and bubbles/lifts slightly.
    Is the newest generation of engineered luxury vinyl plank more stable?
    Thank you

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Cathlyn,

      I’m sorry to hear about your floors! Luxury vinyl plank has come a long way and is more stable. You will need to ensure there are the proper sized expansion gaps around the edges or against any stationary objects; maybe even add a little extra room in case of expansion. I also wouldn’t suggest turning the heat completely off in the Winter as well, just try to keep the area as stable as possible to avoid any other issues. Please let us know if you have any other questions or would like some samples!

  14. Are there any concerns in using vinyl planks in a 3 season room. Room will not be heated in winter.

    What would be the best flooring for a 3 season room?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Sally,

      Vinyl does expand and contract depending on the temperature in the room so it may not be the best option for you. Going with a porcelain tile would probably work best to ensure you don’t have any issues. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

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