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FAF Blog

Vinyl Flooring Wear Layers

By FAF Staff Writer, (459 words) Posted in Vinyl Flooring on November 9, 2009
There are (15) comments permalink

Vinyl flooring comes in sheets, planks or tiles. Sheets come in two types – inlaid or printed, while tiles and planks are available in either form or solid. Sheet vinyl is more difficult to install and the services of a professional is recommended. But sheet vinyl has the advantage of fewer seams which are potential areas that entrap dust and grime.

Inlaid vinyl sheets are heavier and more expensive than the printed variety because vinyl is used throughout the thickness. Because of this, if the sheet is scratched or otherwise damaged, the damage is often not noticeable or sometimes scarcely visible as the exposed surface is similar to the damaged portion. Printed flooring consists of a backing layer over which is bonded the printed layer which is topped with several layers of clear vinyl or urethane which constitutes the wear layer.

Vinyl tiles are available as composition or solid. Composition is a tile that is made of a number of materials that includes fillers, the whole of which is colored to suit. A solid tile is pure vinyl and has the same color pattern on both sides. Solid vinyl floors contain no fillers.

Vinyl flooring comes in three types:

  • A cushioned floor which is a sandwich of a wear layer below which is a printed layer then the cushioned layer with the backing.
  • Printed vinyl, which is the same as cushioned floor without the cushioned layer.
  • Inlaid floor which is solid vinyl on a backing layer

Vinyl flooring comes in "wax" and "no–wax" wear–layer finishes.

A no–wax surface is the least durable but has a smoother finish. Nonetheless it still resists scratches, scuffs and stains. Regular maintenance entails periodic cleaning with water with no necessity to wax as the floor has an inherent shine. But a brisk polishing is required from time to time.

A wax surface too requires no polishing as it already has a waxed urethane (PVC) coating. This saves on cleaning time. At some point however, a wax finish will wear and lose its gloss. When this happens the floor will have to be restored by buffing with another application of wax coating. The wear surface comprises either clear urethane or vinyl. A urethane finish is superior because it is harder, resists wear longer and is naturally more expensive. It also provides a better gloss.

Enhanced urethane is another surface finish which is the most durable of wear layers. It resists most staining, dust and grime. This restricts maintenance to dusting and mopping. This floor however is susceptible to fading.

Vinyl sheets, tiles and planks are available in high and low gloss finishes. High gloss is not recommended for high-traffic areas as the gloss tends to dull more rapidly. A textured surface with a low gloss finish is best suited in these areas as it will not show up scratches, scuffs and other damage associated with normal high–traffic wear and tear.

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