Vinyl Plank is fast becoming one of the most popular flooring choices for homeowners on the planet. But does that mean it’s the best option for your home?
Maybe, maybe not.
Weighing up the pros and cons of Vinyl Plank flooring can be quite the challenge given the sheer number of products available, not to mention the many alternatives! In this article, we show you what you need to know to make a more informed decision before buying.
The Pros Of Vinyl Plank Flooring
These pros are put together under the assumption that you are purchasing good quality vinyl planks manufactured by a reputable company. If you go for the cheapest option, then it’s anyone’s guess as to the quality you will receive.
One of the great things about this kind of flooring is that it’s just about bulletproof. Unlike timber or bamboo flooring it’s far more scratch resistant and if you drop something it’s not going to chip like tiles or fracture like timber. Many manufacturers include a 20-30 year warrantee because they know their product will stand the test of time.
The way the planks are made give them a certain amount of shock absorption. This makes it nicer to walk on and also offers the added bonus of warmth. There’s nothing worse than walking on freezing cold floorboards or tiles in winter and the way these are designed ensures a naturally warmer floor when you need it most.
Many flooring options look great but when they get wet you may lose that warm fuzzy feeling and see the importance of slip safety. The majority of planks are manufactured with an anti-slip coating to prevent unnecessary falls in wet areas which is something that passively protects you and those you care about.
#4 Easy To Maintain
The composition of the planks means there’s almost no effort needed to keep them clean and in mint condition for many years to come. A simple mop session does the trick and there’s no need for harsh chemicals. This makes it a popular choice because a lot of people (like me) don’t have the time or desire to be getting a timber floor re-polished or even re-finished throughout it’s life.
#5 Cost Effective
Vinyl flooring has been around since the 1930’s and one of the biggest reasons it gained such momentum was the fact that it was very affordable. To this day it’s hands down one of the best value for money options you could buy and is one of the most cost effective solutions on the market. It typically sells for between $2-$7 per square foot or $6.50-$23 per square meter depending on where you go and what you are looking to buy.
#6 Easy Installation
Installation is dead simple in comparison to many other forms of flooring which makes the overall cost effectiveness even better. Both timber and tiles really do require the skills of a professional to achieve the kind of finish most people are looking for. Even floating floors require the purchase of power tools and expert knowledge when it comes to the finer areas such as stairs and doorways etc. Vinyl plank on the other hand, allows even the most inexperienced DIY’er to get the job done and if you’re not confident, installation costs are super low for this type of flooring.
#7 Very Realistic
With the technology available these days it’s becoming almost impossible to spot the difference between vinyl and hardwood. Many manufacturers use a process known as embossing which gives the planks an element of depth and realism to make it appear just like natural timber. The print film being used is able to replicate just about any species of timber or bamboo known to man so there’s no shortage of choice either.
#8 Highly Versatile
One of the key advantages to this product is the ability to install it pretty much anywhere you want. It can be installed in bathrooms, laundry rooms and other wet areas without being concerned about warping or rotting. LVP is designed to be fully waterproof. It can also be installed over high movement areas given how flexible they are which makes the job a lot easier and worry free.
#9 Antimicrobial Properties
Some manufacturers apply an antimicrobial coating to their planks which effectively makes them safer and more germ free than other flooring types. This totally depends on what you buy though and I’d personally still think twice before eating that sandwich you just dropped! But it’s nice to know you’re floor is passively fighting the battle of the germs right?
The Cons Of Vinyl Plank Flooring
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine in the world of vinyl, theres some drawbacks to consider before whipping out your credit card and this section gives you the heads up.
#1 Easier To Gouge
It doesn’t chip, shatter or crack… but it can be gouged with a sharp object in a way that tiles and timber can’t. In other words… keep knives, samurai swords and axes away from your floor for best results! The majority of damage done to flooring in typical households comes from dropping everyday items such as cups, plates and bottles etc. But it really depends on the household.
#2 Environmental Concerns
PVC (like millions of other materials) release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air which isn’t great for the environment and in some cases may affect a person’s health. It’s important to note that VOC’s are not bad in themselves whatsoever, certain VOC’s are even released by plants naturally. They are simply organic compounds that evaporate at a relatively low temperature. In the case of flooring, the VOC’s within the PVC can be released into the air inside your home.
Organisations like the RFCI have established standardised VOC level certification processes for manufacturers to follow which can be a useful indicator for people to go off. VOC’s only become an issue if you choose a non-compliant product, don’t install according to proper guidelines and if your home or office is poorly ventilated.
Is it really safe for you and your family though? Yes, it most definitely is.
Throughout the world, PVC is the most popular flooring material used in hospitals and the most widely used pipe for drinking water in existence. In fact, PVC has been deemed safe by many leading scientists and health organisations, with millions of documented studies to support this.
#3 Re-Sale Value
Some say that a vinyl floor won’t do much for re-sale and perhaps that holds true for plain old vinyl sheet. Luxury Planks on the other hand, are almost identical in appearance to natural timber and have experienced a massive growth in popularity from a broad range of buyers in the last 10 years. Realistically though, property re-sale value takes into account many factors such as the area, the demographics of those in the neighbourhood and the buyer’s preference on the day. This is something I recommend doing your research on.
#4 Poor Quality Planks Can Yellow
If you buy the cheap stuff it may end up ‘yellowing’ over time and heavy exposure to sunlight may dull, fade or yellow patches of the floor. Not cool! Easy fix though, buy from a reputable company with a good warrantee.
The advantages of opting for a beautiful looking vinyl plank floor significantly outweigh the drawbacks which is probably why so many are going for it. Personally, I think it’s luxury and quality for a reasonable price so it get’s a thumbs up from me!
At the end of the day though, deciding what to buy for your home is really a personal choice only you can make. It’s important to choose the solution that’s right for you and suites your individual needs.
Hopefully this article and other articles throughout my site help make your decision a little easier.