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