Vinyl Plank Flooring Know-How
Not all vinyl plank floorings are created equal, but when you stand there looking at them, it’s difficult to see what the differences are. The price varies quite a bit, the thickness varies a bit, and the edges are different. You want to be a smart shopper, but how are you to know what is best? Here are a few things about vinyl plank flooring which may help you make the decision.
Planks are three or four layers: the backing and/or base layer — which is the vinyl tile; the paper layer — which is the photograph and the wear layer of urethane. The thicker the plank, the thicker the wear layer. Typically. How thick is thick? Not very. Most vinyl plank is between 2 and 3 mm thick, with wear layers between .3 and .7 mm thick. In inches? Plank thickness between 5/64 and 1/8-inch thick with wear layers between 1/64 and 1/32-inch thick.
A thicker wear gives better wear, of course, and also allows for better representation of the pattern. Thinner wear layers will be flat over the printed pattern, thicker wear layers may have nooks and crannies which better replicate saw marks or hand-scraping.
Vinyl planks cannot be refinished. They are cleaned with water; no polishing necessary and no waxing allowed. The stick togethers are mostly water resistant, Allure advertises that their click planks are waterproof. Some planks are OK for application in basements; some are not, check the labels.
Most vinyl planks float; they are not attached to the floor but they conform to the shape of the floor; if there are divots and cracks in the floor, these will mirror through eventually. So, while no underlay is required, serious cleaning, scraping and patching of the floor is necessary to remove any residue of the previous flooring.
Planks either click together with a modified tongue and groove edge or they stick together by way of an attached adhesive strip. The click together planks can be lifted and repositioned to get the connection perfect.
Stick planks may have a ten minute time before the adhesive sets, which gives some wiggle room, but you may have problems; it’s best to try to set them correctly the first time. Vinyl planks can be cut with a utility knife and are quite easy to install; most manufacturers have detailed installation instructions on their websites.
Good-quality vinyl plank flooring is the fastest growing flooring, and for good reason; it is sturdy, easy to lay, cost effective and looks good.
Here’s a trick for laying the stick-down planks right the first time: Stick together planks are packaged with a nonstick paper separating the planks. Place the paper along the edge and covering the stick section a plank. Lay the second plank in place over the paper; the paper is now under the second plank and over the first one, along the stick edge. Pull the paper out from between the planks an inch or so; line up the two exposed edges of the plank and press them in place. Slide the paper out a bit more and line up and secure the new exposed edges. Continue this along the strip.
Links to more info about vinyl flooring: