Amongst the many types of flooring available, there is an upward trend of homeowners opting for vinyl flooring. Durability, impact resistance, and flexibility while retaining desired hardness are some of the qualities that makes vinyl flooring versatile and ideal as a flooring solution. If you are considering vinyl for flooring in your home, this article will go into what vinyl flooring is made of and what gives it its desired properties.
Vinyl is a type of synthetic flooring made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC can either be made from fully pure virgin pulp or recycled vinyl. Vinyl flooring is also composed of multiple layers. These include the foundation layer, the foam core, the image or printed design layer, the wear layer and finally the protective coating. Additional reinforcements such as a fibreglass layer may also sometimes be added for extra dimensional stability.
The protective coating of vinyl flooring is typically made of urethane which subsequently undergoes a surface treatment or curing process.
As the topmost layer of the structure, the protective coating serves several important functions. Firstly, it helps the underlying printed design to retain its original appearance. Prolonged exposure to harsh environmental conditions such as strong sunlight may cause the decorative layer to fade. The protective covering helps preserve the appearance of the underlying material.
Secondly, the protective coating plays a key role in the flooring’s surface wear and scratch resistance. It is a key element in the structure’s durability by helping to safeguard the flooring from stains and scratches. Additionally, it helps to prevent dullness by adjusting the degree of reflected light on the surface of the flooring. The result is a finish that has a more glossy appearance.
However, the protective urethane coating may be a source of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions and contribute to poorer indoor air quality. As such, less eco-friendly vinyl may not be as child- or pet-friendly. Homeowners who have children or pets in their household should opt for finishes made of eco-friendly material that have passed international VOC emission requirements and standards.
The wear layer is the layer that lies between the protective top coating and the image or printed design layer. For heterogeneous vinyl (vinyl with multiple layers), homeowners should look out for vinyl flooring that is made with a wear layer that is adequately thick. The thicker the wear layer, the more hard-wearing and durable the vinyl flooring is.
Naturally, the thickness of vinyl flooring becomes especially relevant in areas of your home with higher foot-traffic. For areas with less foot-traffic such as the bedroom, it is possible to settle for vinyl that is made of lower thickness (2-4mm). However, in high foot-traffic areas such as the kitchen and living room, or for homeowners with children or pets in the household, it is recommended to go for vinyl made with a thickness of at least 5mm or higher.
Now let’s delve into the insides of the vinyl flooring. The foam core is the middle most component of the vinyl flooring and is typically made from vinyl derivative materials. Terms such as SPC and WPC flooring refer to different compositions of the foam core. For example, SPC flooring is made of a core with limestone as the main filler. WPC flooring, on the other hand, contains polyvinyl chloride mixed with wood components.
The foam core is also the main component that provides the stability which allows for the installation of the flooring. Singapore’s high temperatures, humidity and moisture can subject the flooring in your home to harsh environmental conditions. This is where the foam core plays an important role. The dimensional stability provided by the foam core helps the material to retain its original shape and prevents warping, especially when it has been subjected to harsh conditions. As a result, the vinyl flooring is hard-wearing and can maintain its structural integrity.
Additionally, the foam core helps to make the vinyl flooring sound and shock absorbent. This acoustic underlayment helps to absorb sounds and shock while walking.
Vinyl flooring made with fibreglass reinforcement is an additional layer that helps to provide added stability to the vinyl flooring. Fibreglass prevents expansion or contraction of the vinyl flooring, allowing the structure to be impervious to external conditions and thus they are able to retain their structural integrity without cracking or warping.
There is no lack of methods for easy and fuss-free installation of vinyl. Besides the traditional glue-down method, interlocking or floating vinyl, loose lay and clickable vinyl is also available, which do not require the use of an adhesive.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of what gives vinyl flooring its unique and desirable qualities. If you are considering opting for vinyl flooring in your home, checking the composition, what is made of and measurements of the various components, can help you in making the right decision.