Vinyl flooring comes in many colors and patterns. Linoleum flooring has come a long way. It's also available in tiles, planks or rolls, called sheet vinyl flooring. For the home, it's used mostly in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas. Water intrusion is excellent. It's waterproof.
Vinyl floors are made of two layers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with a fiberglass layer in between, then a printed film, a wear layer on top of that, and the very top layer is a UV coating to protect against the fading of the printed film and wear layer. Then the layers are baked. If there is a texture, then that is embossed using a chemical. Prior to the advent of UV coatings, vinyl would yellow with time.
Sheet Vinyl can only be installed using an adhesive. Tiles can be either floated or glued, and planks can be floated, glued, or use a click system.
Vinyl Planks come in a variety of materials.
WPC (Wood Plastic Core)-Instead of using a PVC core, that is replaced with a wood-plastic and foam backing
SPC (Stone Plastic Core)-is a combination of limestone powder and stabilizers.
Both are available in the click system method of installation.
Hybrid-this type of plank uses the same wear layers as a laminate, aluminum oxide, and as such is grade the same, Abrasion Class (AC). Beneath that is the printed layer, then the waterproof core.
We recommend as stable a core as you can afford due the South Florida humidity. Durability depends on the kind of traffic you expect. If you want to use it in a high traffic area, the hybrid may the best choice.
Underlayment-Adding an underlayment will create softness underfoot and dampen sound. This would be a good choice in bedrooms, on a second floor, or in the flooring throughout a condo. In fact, some HOA's may require it. Check with your HOA before making a purchase.
Thickness-This goes hand in hand with durability. The thicker the product you choose, the more durable.
Wear Layer-Make sure this protective layer is as thick as possible, to protect the printed film below and, equally if not more important, to add a high-quality UV coating to prevent fading and yellowing in the strong South Florida sun.
Check the warranty, since some manufacturers require a professional installation.
The advantage of the plank and tile varieties is the ability to replace them if they tear, or get dimpled with heavy furniture (like major appliances). This is not the case with sheet vinyl.
Caring for vinyl is fairly easy. It must be swept regularly to prevent scratches. Be careful when vacuuming and make sure not to use a beater bar which may add significant scratches. Wet mop with approved products. Some products are no-wax. make sure you know which kind you have and follow the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning, and using cleaning products. You won't want to harm the UV coating or the wear layer by using a chemical that will eat away at it over time.