vinyl floor­ing

Soft, warm and prac­ti­cal – what’s not to love?

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‘ For ex­tra peace of mind, , seek out vinyl Floor­ing that comes with a de­cent war­ranty – at least 10 years, prefer­ably more’ Mark Findlay, Har­vey Maria.

Vinyl floor­ing is hard wear­ing, durable and easy to lay. It is also much softer and warmer un­der­foot com­pared to stone and ce­ramic tiles, more for­giv­ing with dropped crock­ery and a breeze to keep clean. A re­cent surge in pop­u­lar­ity means there is now a wide range of mod­ern, trend-led de­signs avail­able.

QWhat is it made from? The core ma­te­rial is a man-made syn­thetic called polyvinyl chlo­ride resin. Vinyl floor­ing once con­tained harm­ful volatile in­gre­di­ents that, un­der­stand­ably, put home­own­ers off, but now it’s to­tally safe and can even be re­cy­cled.

QShould I choose tiles or sheet vinyl? Sheet vinyl comes in one piece and tends to be cheaper, al­though the new breed of cus­tom-printed sheet vinyl (try Za­zous or Atrafloor) is costlier but worth it. Stan­dard rolls come in 2-4m widths, so you may need to put up with a join in larger rooms. Vinyl tiles are rigid, and come in packs – some of­fer su­per-easy stick-on in­stal­la­tion. Lux­ury vinyl tiles are the top-end op­tion, cost­ing from £40sq m. They of­fer ex­cel­lent rigid­ity as well as in­su­la­tion, sound ab­sorp­tion and work well with un­der­floor heat­ing.

QHow can I check for qual­ity? Thick­ness is a good in­di­ca­tion of qual­ity, for both sheet and tiled vinyl. Cheap sheet vinyl starts at 1.1mm thick, which will make it easy to fit but not very long-last­ing. Aim for 3.5mm up­wards.

QCan I fit it my­self? Sheet vinyl can be cut with a Stan­ley knife and is pretty easy to fit in a stan­dard room. Vinyl tiles are in­stalled sim­i­larly to ce­ramic tiles and many come with click­fit edges. Ver­sions that don’t re­quire wet ad­he­sive are cleaner and quicker. For all vinyl, pre­par­ing a flat sub­floor is es­sen­tial. A lev­el­ling com­pound or de­cent un­der­lay is worth the ex­pense. There are plenty of step-by-step fit­ting tu­to­ri­als on Youtube.

QIs it easy to keep it look­ing good? Clean­ing is straight­for­ward, with a vac­uum and an oc­ca­sional mop. Buy vinyl-safe floor cleaner – noth­ing abra­sive. It can stain if spills are left to pud­dle so wipe them up straight away. Heavy fur­ni­ture can cre­ate in­den­ta­tions in vinyl so use felt or rub­ber cov­ers on chairs and cast­ers. Never drag heavy fur­ni­ture across vinyl as it may scratch or dent the floor.

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