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What’s the Deal with Vinyl Planks Part 1 {the basics}

Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

What’s the Deal with Vinyl Planks Part 1 {the basics}

In residential homes, vinyl planks have become all the rage, and this trend isn’t going anywhere soon. So what’s the deal with vinyl planks? Find out why they’ve become so popular, what your options are and how you can make a more informed choice on flooring for your home.

Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

Okay, so by now you’ve probably heard that vinyl planks are the hottest new trend in residential flooring. I’ve said it. Other have said it. This is a trend that is here for the long haul.

As more and more homes make the switch from carpet to hard, solid flooring, people are looking for something new and fresh. We all want the looks of natural stone and traditional hardwood but, the truth it, most people can’t afford it, and those options come with a lofty installation, upkeep and maintenance.

Like it or not, the world we live in is technologically savvy, fast paced, all about getting the most bang for your buck and moving onto the next big thing. Essentially, we want our home to look great with the least amount of effort possible. It’s not bad. It’s realistic. That’s where vinyl makes it’s comeback, and why vinyl will (likely) continue it’s lead as the fastest growing flooring option on the market for years to come.

But wait a second, let’s back up. Sure, it’s popular, but what are all these options and what do they even mean? At least that was my reaction when I entered face first into the world of flooring. Wear layer, thickness, wide planks…it’s like vinyl has it’s own secret made up language and only the flooring experts have the code. Don’t worry, I want to give you the code. Let’s break it down and discuss our options. I love options.

Wear layer, thickness, wide planks…it’s like vinyl has it’s own secret made up language and only the flooring experts have the code. Don’t worry, I want to give you the code. Let’s break it down and discuss our options. I love options.

Learn more about vinyl planks –> Vinyl Planks: On Quality, Vinyl Planks Decisions

Types of Residential Vinyl Planks

Vinyl Planks by Installation:

Wait…we just started, how did we get to installation??? These are pretty big differences, so it’s good to get a look at the options up front, and then see what sounds best for your home and lifestyle. Types of vinyl installation include:

  1. Peel & StickPeel & stick vinyl is exactly what it sounds like. You peel it off and lay it on the area you wish to cover. This is great for a temporary flooring solution that can give you a hardwood look on a tight budget, or when you’re renting a house or apartment. The pros are it’s inexpensive, easy to install, low maintenance, and really easy to replace when you’re ready for a change.
  2. Glue DownGlue down vinyl is kind of like getting a tattoo. It’s pretty darn permanent, and you’d better be sure you want it there for a good, long time. Glue down is great at holding up to high traffic, and for when you find the vinyl of your dreams.
  3. Interlocking/FloatingThis is your easy, elegant, and affordable option. The interlocking design is very similar to classic tongue and groove laminate. No contractor needed, these vinyl planks offer detail, texture and design, and they are more comfortable  to walk on than the glue-down option. So basically: easy, pretty and comfy, but won’t break the bank–not to play favorites, but totally my favorite.
  4. Loose LayThese babies are the cream of the crop. They are robust, no fuss, and built to last. Loose lay vinyl planks only require perimeter tape around the edges, and they are super easy to replace if one section becomes damaged. They are often more expensive (although still affordable), but ya get what ya pay for!

Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

In other words…

  • Are you a temporary resident looking for a low-cost option? We recommend peel & stick vinyl planks.
  • Do you have a big family and a lot of traffic in your home? We recommend glue down vinyl planks.
  • Are you looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance floor? We recommend interlocking/floating vinyl planks.
  • Do you have the budget and need for the best of the best? We recommend loose lay vinyl planks.

Related content –> Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl Planks by Thickness:

There are two main factors that determine the quality of your vinyl: thickness and wear layer (which we’ll get to below). It’s pretty simple, thick vinyl + thick wear layer = higher quality. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need 8mm vinyl for every use–every situation is different and has different requirements. Popular vinyl thicknesses include:

  1. 2mm 
  2. 2.5mm
  3. 3mm
  4. 3.2mm
  5. 4mm
  6. 5mm
  7. 5.5mm
  8. 8mm+

Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

In other words…

  • Are you on a budget and looking to cover a small, low traffic area? We recommend 2-3mm.
  • Are you looking for a gorgeous, high quality vinyl plank to cover large areas in your home? We recommend 3.2-4mm.
  • Do you have the budget and need for the best of the best? We recommend 5mm+.

Related content –> 2017 Vinyl Flooring Trends

About that vinyl wear layer…

So we talked about how the thickness of the vinyl plank + the thickness of the wear layer are the two things that give us the filet mignon in vinyl flooring. Just like there is a place for ground chuck, when you’re trying to impress, the filet is where it’s at and so let’s chat a little about what gives you the “filet mignon” of vinyl flooring.

Why is this wear layer so important? Well, even the highest quality plank needs protection. Think of it like your vinyl’s body guard. Do you want Screech from Saved by the Bell keeping you safe, or do you want The Rock?

A thinner wear layer means your floor is much more susceptible to scratching, scarring and damage. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR FLOOR??? Well, okay if it’s in a low-traffic area, you can get away with it, but on a floor that will be lived on, we don’t recommend skimping out on this piece of the puzzle. Popular vinyl wear layers include:

  1. 2MIL
  2. 6MIL
  3. 8MIL
  4. 12MIL
  5. 20MIL
  6. 22 MIL
  7. 28 MIL

Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

In other words…

  • Are you on a budget and looking to cover a small, low traffic area? We recommend 2MIL.
  • Are you looking for a gorgeous, high-quality vinyl plank to cover large areas in your home? We recommend 6-8MIL.
  • Do you have the budget and need for the best of the best? We recommend 12MIL.
  • Are you shopping for a commercial space? We recommend 20MIL+.

Related content –> Linoleum vs. Vinyl Flooring

Make it pretty! What are the vinyl look options?

Okay, I know I’m not the only one who hears a bunch of quality jargin and thinks “Yeah, yeah….but WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE???”. I have the same problem when I search for running shoes. I know I need a neutral, medium cushioned shoe, but I found myself dreaming about the ones with the prettiest colors.

Don’t worry, with vinyl planks, you really don’t have to sacrifice look for quality! With tons of options and shades to choose from, the only challenge may be narrowing down the final choice from all of your favorites! Popular vinyl looks include:

  1. Wood
  2. Stone / Naturals
  3. Tile
  4. Geometric Pattern

Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.  Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

Now, as much as I love to give my opinion, this is the one I can’t answer for you. This comes down to personal taste and style, but I do have to say, I’m a distressed wood girl myself.

Related content –> Why Choose Vinyl Flooring

Also, are there trendy wide plank options for vinyl?

Heck yes! Wide is in and the wider planks make your room appear larger, so we recommend using 7-8″ wide vinyl planks to make the most of your look! Of course, if that’s not your thing, choose from anything from 4-8″ and anything in between!

Ari, are you still talking?

Nope. I’m all done. Promise. Your turn! Got questions? We’d love for you to leave them in the comments! Already got your answers? Head over and order some free samples!

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Vinyl Planks Basics: Everything you need to know about choosing vinyl planks in one place. Find the right type of vinyl for your budget and lifestyle and learn the differences that set each type apart. Make the right choice for flooring in your home.

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8 Responses to "What’s the Deal with Vinyl Planks Part 1 {the basics}"

  • Danette
    September 27, 2016 - 2:49 pm Reply

    Thanks! This was great info. It helped a lot!!

    • Ari Ziskin
      September 27, 2016 - 3:23 pm Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it, Danette! Please let us know if you have any questions!

  • donna steffensmeier
    October 12, 2016 - 6:09 am Reply

    can you lay VPF on glued down on indoor/outdoor carpet?

    • Ari Ziskin
      October 12, 2016 - 8:43 am Reply

      Hi Donna,

      We do not recommend gluing vinyl planks onto carpet. If you’re unable to remove the carpet before installation, you can try a loose lay or “floating” vinyl plank flooring instead, as long as the carpet is flat and not plush.

      Thanks for reading!
      Ari

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