Commercial Flooring, Luxury Vinyl, Residential Flooring
LV Wear Layers in Depth

Shopping for vinyl flooring can be confusing, especially with all those flooring taxonomies and terminologies that are often hard to digest. A good question many consumers ask is, “What is the wear layer on vinyl flooring?”

So, what exactly is the wear layer, and why is it so important?

The wear layer, the vinyl floor’s topmost surface, is a transparent urethane-based coating that provides the floor’s durability, stain-resistance and scratch resistance, thereby preserving the floor’s original appearance and facilitating its maintenance. New technology gives vinyl flooring added UV protection and durability on top of the wear layer.

How do I decide on the measurement of a wear layer? What is best?

To choose the best wear layer for your space, you must first determine the floor’s usage level. For instance, if you have kids, large pets and/or heavy foot traffic in your home or office, a thicker wear layer is best. In fact, the thicker the wear layer is, the more durable your floor will be. Wear layers range in thickness from 4–40 mil. ‘Mil’ means 1/1000 of an inch and refers to the vinyl plank’s top layer (more information below). For spaces needing more protection against wear and tear, we recommend a higher wear layer finish of 12–20 mil. Commercial vinyl flooring applications usually require this, but you can go thicker if you wish.

Most common mil per application:
Residential: 6-12 mil
Commercial: 20-30 mil

The following TAS Flooring luxury vinyl lines have thick mil layers for residential and commercial uses:

Odyssey EIR
Built tough for commercial performance and high-traffic homes.

A single-product solution made for homes prone to dishwasher or washing-machine accidents, cold, rainy and snowy seasons, and accidental kid messes.

Eclipse Majestics
Designed to have a thick wear layer, protecting floors from unwanted accidents, scratches and dents.

What’s the difference between mm and mil?

Measurements in mm (millimeters) refer to the plank’s overall thickness; measurements in mil refer to the thickness of the wear layer alone. (Remember this, as many stores and manufacturers will use these units of measure interchangeably.)

Final Thoughts

When you are ready to shop for vinyl flooring, pay heed to the following before making your decision:

  1. Overall product composition
  2. Wear layer thickness
  3. Backing
  4. Warranty

If durability is your main concern, seek a vinyl product with a higher wear layer.

What you don’t see is just as important as what’s on the surface. For instance, if you’re looking for a product that deadens more sound and adds warmth underfoot, one with an added pad will also increase your floor’s overall thickness, making it more durable.

Finally, do your research! While some products cost more than others, it doesn’t mean they are better. Ask your local retailer for specification and safety data sheets to confirm that the flooring you are taking home is health- and safety-compliant.