For DIY enthusiasts out there, vinyl is looking like a pretty good choice for your home right now. The only problem lies in the installation. Thanks to technological advancements, there are different types of vinyl you can choose from with some of the most straightforward installations in the market.
Different types of vinyl flooring will have different levels of complexity when it comes to installation. The easiest vinyl floorings to install are the following (from easiest to most complex):
- LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank)
- Vinyl Planks
- Vinyl Sheets
- Vinyl Tiles
If you have decided on vinyl as your preferred flooring, you need to be aware of a good amount of information. This article will serve as a guide to help you understand the different types of vinyl, how to install vinyl flooring, and other flooring jargon.
Which Type Of Vinyl Flooring Is The Easiest To Install?
Installation of vinyl flooring should focus on two things:
- The materials used in the vinyl flooring
- The installation method
These two factors will play a huge role in determining which vinyl flooring is accessible for anybody to install. Regardless of skill level in the flooring sector, you can easily install vinyl flooring just like a pro.
Let’s take a look at the basics of vinyl flooring.
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What Are The Two Significant Categories Of Vinyl Flooring?
Viny flooring, in general, is divided into two types:
Backed vinyl flooring fabrication occurs with the typical vinyl surfaces. It then goes through a lamination process to many different backing materials.
In unbacked vinyl flooring, the entire thing consists of PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, plasticizers, stabilizers, extenders, inert fillers, and color pigments.
Because of the composition of vinyl flooring, they offer a great deal of floor resistance. As a result, vinyl flooring classifies as part of resistant flooring.
What Is Resistant Flooring?
Resistant flooring is the capability of floor covering to withstand heavy-duty use. It is both in a residential or in a commercial environment. Resilient flooring is considered a very modern type of flooring because of the well-engineered products in its catalog.
The best thing about resilient flooring is that it comes in different styles, variations, and colors. They are great flooring choices for your interior space.
Not only that but with all these bonuses the flooring comes with, their performance and functionality and not negatively impacted in any way, shape, or form. They also have low maintenance costs, increased comfortability, and are easy to clean.
Vinyl is not the only member of the resilient flooring family. Rubber is also part of the family tree. It is one of the most common resilient sheet flooring materials in the market.
It is essential to understand the nature of vinyl in general. Moreover, it is essential to understand that there are different methods of installation for different vinyl products.
This article will describe the different types of vinyl installation methods. It will give you a clear picture of what method is working out for the industry right now.
The Different Installation Methods Of Vinyl Flooring
The European Overlay locking System
It is an entirely new type of locking system. It is not similar to the tongue and groove locking system, which I will discuss below.
It has various names, such as the pushdown installation method. It comes integrated with a locking element.
The European Overlay locking system is the easiest installation method in the market right now. How does it work? Well, it simply sits over top and locks. Voila, you’ve completed one piece of vinyl flooring.
For a more detailed explanation, a locking strip pushes downwards when the panel folds down. The panel comes with guiding surfaces. When the guiding surfaces come into contact, the locking strip flexes back.
This design pulls the folded panel downwards into a perfect position where it is aligned and locked.
The overlay locking system is easy, fast, and reliable. It is strong enough to keep the flooring together and take any force acting upon its surface. According to professionals, it takes about ten minutes to complete the process with this new method fully.
That’s just how easy it is. However, this average time is dependent on the floor size you’re covering. Nevertheless, it is faster than other viny flooring installation methods.
The Interlocking Vinyl Plank and Tile Method
It is the original method used to join vinyl flooring planks and tiles together. It uses the tongue and groove system. How does this method work?
With the tongue groove system, the plank’s edges or tile are what interlock to keep the flooring in place. Some brands use a plastic tongue. This tongue is what pushes into the groove.
When the panel, which has the tongue connected to it, gets to its final position, the tongue snaps out and then wedges into the groove. You can tell this has occurred after you hear a click sound.
The planks are then locked both horizontally and vertically. This method is also known as the fold-down installation method.
Vinyl planks that utilize this method have a tongue and groove locking system on the long and short sides. Part of the installation is that it has a hammer installation system. It requires users to use a hammer to lock the planks together.
What makes this type of plank complex is that you have to install both ends simultaneously. Furthermore, the groove on the short side will have a different density than the rest of the plank. For example, it will have a different density to the surface and bottom of the plank.
Why is this a bad thing? Well, it’s more frustrating than wrong because it means that the groove on the short side has a high probability of breaking off during installation. It will be a complex installation method for someone new to installation since much care is required.
Regardless of the problematic installation method, the products that use this method don’t hold up very well. I don’t recommend this for beginners. If you are a beginner, you may need a bit more practice to get this correctly placed and locked on your floor.
Be sure to consult a professional if you require further assistance.
Another disadvantage of this installation method is that should a problem occur with the positioning or the locking process; you can’t just remove a plank.
To remove a single plank or tile, you will be required to remove the entire row. So, if you want to maximize time with this method, you will need a lot of practice to get it right.
The Self-Adhesive Installation Method
It is the stick-on version of the viny floor installation method. The vinyl planks or tiles come with two sides. The side with a vinyl surface and a sticky underside with a protective film or layer.
To use it, you just have to peel the protective layer off the bottom of the viny plank or tile. After that, you simply press down to secure the tile or plank in place.
This method is easy to remove should you make mistakes; all you need is to warm the tiles up and slowly remove them. You can use a blow-dry to remove the wrongly place tiles or planks.
The only downside of this method is time. You will be on your knees a lot of the time. You will be removing protective films a lot of time as well and sticking them on. If you have a large room, I don’t recommend this method.
Nevertheless, if you can set aside a couple of days to complete the entire process, then all’s well that ends well.
The Glue Down Installation Method
As the name suggests, you’re using glue to stick everything together. It is the messiest method in the pot. The reason being, you are using an external glue or adhesive substance that you will have to apply onto the ground.
You also have to buy the glue separately from the tiles. They don’t usually come together as a set or kit. After applying the glue to the ground, you can then fix the tiles or planks in place.
This method is higher on the difficulty scale because of the intricacies involved in it. I recommend leaving it to a professional. More so if you are new to the entire process.
Another downside to this method is that it is hard to remove the tiles once placed. The adhesive is usually substantial. Thus, trying to remove the tile once installed is close to impossible.
This reason is why the glue-down method is not a recommended method for DIY enthusiasts or anyone new to vinyl floor installation. Not only vinyl floor installation but any other method of floor installation.
This method leaves no room for error.
The Loose Lay Method
This method is more interesting than the rest, but it will require practice or some form of experience before getting it right. It is also a tad bit too difficult for beginners to get right off the bat.
How does this method work? This method strongly utilizes friction and the frictional hold that comes when two objects or two surfaces rub together.
There is a top and bottom layer. When rubbed together, it results in a firm grip on the subfloor. The best thing about this method is that the flooring is easy to remove, reusable, which is excellent for the environment and does not leave unwanted debris.
You can remove single planks by cutting them up into smaller pieces and gently pulling the pieces out. You must be careful not to disrupt the rest of the flooring that is already in place.
Since the installation methods are complete, it’s time to list the types of vinyl flooring according to ease of installation.
The Easiest Vinyl Flooring To Install In Your Home Today
|Type of Vinyl Flooring||Installation Method|
|LVP (Luxury Vinyl Planks or Tiles)||The European Overlay Method or the Glue Down Method|
|Vinyl Planks||Interlocking tongue and groove method|
|Vinyl Sheets||The Glue Down Method|
|Vinyl Tiles||The Self Adhesive Installation Method|
LVP (Luxury Vinyl Planks)
These are the most uncomplicated vinyl flooring to install. It is all thanks to the European overlay method utilized in the installation process.
The European overlay method just uses a click locking system. You place the plank over the top, press down, and voila, that’s it.
I highly recommend this method to homeowners that choose to DIY install their viny floors. Moreover, if you want to place viny flooring on top of your pre-existing floors, then this is the product for you.
It is the easiest method all around. It is also entirely new to the industry, and many professionals are looking towards this product and this installation method. Despite the ease of installation, no compromise in functionality occurs.
The LVP will easily install; it is comfortable and easy to clean. Please note that none of the vinyl floorings is waterproof. If there are cracks during installation, fluids can seep inside. It just has an excellent surface tension design to prevent that from happening.
This fact holds even if the installation completes correctly. LVP comes in so many variations, which I will discuss below. Professionals also recommend LVP because of its core.
LVP is known to have excellent core strength. If held up, it won’t bounce up and down like other planks. It will stay rigid. These are types of cores that manufacturers offer:
Solid Core Luxury Vinyl
This type of core in LVP makes it incredibly firm. The solid core makes this product stable and highly durable. Whether LVP or LVT (luxury vinyl plank or luxury vinyl tile), the core performance is the same across the board.
Some manufacturers offer it in different styles, and the comfort of the vinyl doesn’t face compromise in any way. It’s a great vinyl flooring choice.
Fusion Core Luxury Vinyl
If you have an active family, this may be your answer. This type of vinyl flooring comes in several layers. This layering system protects the top vinyl surfaces from scuffs or scratches.
The core is also waterproof, which is a great bonus feature to the product. The layering system protects the waterproof core from any unwanted external influences that will destroy the integrity of the product.
Flex Core Luxury Vinyl
This luxury vinyl comes with a more traditional core. It comes with the traditional level of firmness and shrinking. This type of luxury core also has a wear layer that adds durability to your flooring.
The disadvantage of this luxury floor is that should there be any unevenness in the subfloor, it will be noticeable on the surface level of the flooring.
Groutable Luxury Vinyl
This luxury vinyl strives to give you your cake and eat it as well. It comes with an underfoot warming feature and the ability to grout the vinyl flooring.
Grouting is the process of filling in spaces in flooring with mortar or specialized filling, specifically in crevices.
One of the best things about this type of luxury vinyl is how realistic it will make your floor and house look. The manufacture is impeccable so that users can get the aesthetic they wish to achieve.
Even with these features, the performance of the flooring is not underwhelming. It is durable, maintenance is straightforward, and grouting is the extra function should you need it.
Manufacturers offer this type of luxury vinyl in stone or hardwood styles. The best thing is, users won’t have to worry about reoccurring chips or cracks. It’s a great product.
Please note that different manufacturers offer different types of luxury vinyl. But one of the main aspects that sets luxury vinyl from the rest is its core. It can remain firm.
As seen in the table above, vinyl planks utilize the interlocking tongue and groove system. Before the rise of luxury vinyl flooring, these were all the rage.
Thanks to technology, however, luxury vinyl flooring is coming across as the preferred staple in the flooring industry.
Vinyl planks are great if you’re not entirely concerned about the ease of the installation process. They are much longer in comparison to luxury vinyl flooring. However, the width of both of these products tends to remain the same.
As shared earlier, the installation of these types of plants is borderline difficult. The tongue and groove system makes it so that the shorter side groove is prone to breaking due to the different densities in the overall product.
This problem mainly occurs during installation, which is why it cannot be a good DIY product. More so, if you are new to installing flooring.
Another aspect of vinyl planks is that they have low core strength. In comparison to luxury planks, they are less firm and lean towards the softer side.
Nevertheless, they will still get the job done if you have previous experience installing this type of vinyl flooring. The results will be the same as luxury vinyl flooring; the only difference will be the rate and functionality of the installation process.
It is the most traditional type of vinyl flooring. It is probably what your grandma had on her kitchen floor. Regardless of this, there has been some evolution to sheet vinyl, especially in style and aesthetics.
Sheet vinyl has gone through an enhanced visuals program, and the performance of the vinyl has also improved. The product needs to compete with luxury vinyl somehow.
Sheet vinyl is measured and cut according to the size of the room you want to install flooring. Like carpets, I advise having seams if you install sheet vinyl on larger spaces.
This product is an example of backed vinyl. One material in its backing systems is fiberglass. The fiberglass adds stability to the vinyl sheets. It is one example of the increased performance.
Because vinyl sheets are printed at the factory and not sized down into smaller pieces for installation, it uses a glue-down method to install the flooring.
Installing the entire sheet is no easy feat. Alongside the messy glue down method, this will require professional assistance to get it right, straight, and flat onto the floor.
Remember that this method I don’t recommend for people new to flooring or DIY enthusiasts. It will prove more of a challenge than anything. You will need assistance and experience to complete the entire installation process.
Last but not least are vinyl tiles. They are the least easy vinyl flooring to install because of the increased time and effort that will go into the entire installation process. Unfortunately, it is more tedious than anything.
It is why this product is at the bottom of the list. Typically, this method uses the self-adhesive method. This method involves a protective film, also known as the backing sheet, and sliding it off.
After that, you can carefully place the tile in place and press it down to secure it completely. Remember that the best thing about this method is heating the tiles and removing them if you have made a mistake during installation.
Either way, your knees are in it for the long haul. It is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and requires a certain level of intricacy if you don’t want consistent mistakes on your floor.
Viny tiles also do not offer the same level of performance as other methods. They have barely changed throughout the years. The only noticeable change is that the luxury vinyl flooring sometimes comes as tiles instead of planks.
Nevertheless, the products are still in use, especially if you’re looking at a much older aesthetic. If that’s what you’re in the market for, despite all the tradeoffs that come with it, then vinyl tiles are your go-to product.
Do you want to know what other homeowners are asking about vinyl floor installation?
- What Is The Easiest Vinyl To Install?
Luxury vinyl flooring is the most accessible vinyl flooring to install because of the design and installation method. The best luxury vinyl flooring uses a European overlay system. This system allows you to lay the luxury viny plank and snap it into place.
This installation method is also known as the push installation or the click flooring installation method. It is the easiest installation method, thanks to the locking element that comes with the product.
The product also does not falter whether it is on the long and short sides of the luxury vinyl planks. Currently, they are the most professionally recommended vinyl flooring product in the market.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, this is the product for you. If you want to install vinyl flooring over pre-existing flooring, this is also the product for you. Anyone can use it, and it is just that easy to get started with it.
- Is Vinyl Sheet Flooring Forgiving On Uneven Surfaces?
Yes, it is forgiving, but it’s best to use a floor leveler just to give you that balance. It will improve the room’s overall look, and the vinyl won’t come across as a band-aid to the pitched roof.
It’s a sound professional practice to ensure that your clients are satisfied. One such way is to have an even floor. Even floors reduce the risk of injury and unwanted accidents. I recommend investing in leveling out your floor before adding the vinyl flooring.
Nevertheless, vinyl will still do the job. The type of vinyl to do the job is what’s concerning. The best vinyl, the luxury vinyl flooring, will require a leveled floor. Sheet flooring may be the answer.
However, I recommend leveling out your floors first. It will produce a much better look in the long run.
- How Difficult Is It For Someone Who Is Not Very Handy To Install Vinyl Flooring?
On a scale of 1-10, with ten being the easiest on the difficulty scale, the answer is 10. Vinyl flooring has come a long way. With luxury vinyl flooring, you can install it at an average time of 10 minutes.
Luxury vinyl flooring is recommended for anybody regardless of their skill level. It is easy and fast when it comes to installation. Its performance is also the best in the market.
Luxury vinyl flooring is the most recommended type of vinyl flooring by professionals across the board.