Luxury Vinyl

The Evolution of Vinyl Flooring

The Many Faces of Vinyl Flooring (aka resilient, linoleum)

Vinyl flooring remains one of the top choices for home and business owners today. While the benefits have remained consistent, its composition and construction continue to evolve, making it one of the most popular and versatile product categories in the floor covering industry. Also referred to as, “resilient” flooring, the vinyl category can be separated into three major categories: Sheet Vinyl, Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Engineered Vinyl Click (EVC).

Among the options:

Sheet vinyl gained popularity in the United States after the WWII era as a more durable and easy-to-maintain alternative to linoleum flooring. It can be separated into three constructions: Homogeneous, Heterogeneous, and Glassback. Homogeneous is a single layer of vinyl and is built for heavy-duty commercial applications. Heterogeneous sheet vinyl is backed with felt and is much more common in residential installations. Glassback sheet vinyl is the fastest growing construction of the sheet vinyl options. Utilizing a fiberglass construction, glassback sheet can be found in both residential and commercial applications.

Developed in the 1970’s, Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) were created as a means to improve upon the realism of sheet vinyl. Popularity grew exponentially in 2000s as the glue-down construction, aka, “dryback”, emerged as a low-cost alternative to laminate, hardwood and carpet. Around this time, “peel & stick” versions were released as an option catering to the DIY (Do-it-Yourself) consumer. In recent years, “looselay” LVP has been growing in popularity with DIY consumers due its ease of installation and board replacement. Loose-lay is extremely popular in Europe as people have been known to take their flooring with them when they move!

(for both Standard and Luxury flooring)

Plank Vinyl Flooring was developed to give your floors the appearance of authentic wood floors without the hefty price tag. Vinyl planks also provide more stain-resistance and durability than traditional hardwood planks.

Tile Vinyl Flooring consists of individual squares of various size that, when assembled, give the appearance of stone tile. One of the many benefits of individual tiles is that they’re easier to replace when one is damaged. It also allows for pattern arrangements.

Vinyl Sheet Flooring is a single roll of flooring about 6 to 12 feet wide.  Vinyl sheets minimize the number of seams and is great for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Engineered Vinyl Click (EVP) burst onto the scene in 2012 and has been the fastest growing product category in the flooring industry. EVP is waterproof, durable and quiet. Beginning with WPC (Wood Plastic Composite), also known as, Waterproof Core, the category has already evolved with the development of SPC (Stone Polymer Core), also referred to as Rigid Core.

WPC Vinyl

Wood Plastic Composite, also known as wood plastic core or waterproof core.

  • Performance Wear Layer: a high-density layer engineered to withstand and protect against everyday wear and tear, adding more durability and resistance to high-traffic spaces. A urethane finish is added to the surface, ensuring the floor retains its aesthetic and is standard with most luxury vinyl products.
  • Decorative Film Layer: a decorative film with realistic, high resolution reproduction of wood and tile visuals.
  • Core Layer: for WPC, this layer consists of polyvinyl chloride, calcium carbonate, plasticizers and a foaming agent. WPC is softer, quieter and more flexible than SPC.
  • Locking System: allows float installation to go over subfloors with minimal float preparation.
  • Backing Layer: a layer that typically provides additional protection and durability. Similar to the core layer, with many options available for vinyl products.

SPC Vinyl

Stone Polymer Core, also referred to as SPC and Rigid Core.

  • Performance Wear Layer: a high-density layer engineered to withstand and protect against everyday wear and tear, adding more durability and resistance to high-traffic spaces. A urethane finish is added to the surface, ensuring the floor retains its aesthetic and is standard with most luxury vinyl products.
  • Decorative Film Layer: a decorative film with realistic, high resolution reproduction of wood and tile visuals.
  • Core Layer: SPC removes the plasticizers and foaming agent, while adding limestone content, thus creating a core that is more dense and dimensionally stable than WPC. This allows the product to span long distances without transitions and withstand vast changes in temperature.
  • Backing Layer: a layer that typically provides additional protection and durability. Similar to the core layer, with many options available for vinyl products. Some offer cushion that lowers ambient noise, and assist with minor subfloor irregularities.

History of Vinyl Flooring

The Long Evolution

There was little interest in resilient materials like rubber in the 1800’s. However, in 1845, linoleum was invented and grew in popularity by the end of the century.

  • 1870's

    1870’s

    1872 A European chemist called Eugen Baumann was experimenting with...
  • 1920's

    1920’s

    1926 American inventor Dr. Waldo Semon was attempting to invent...
  • 1930's

    1930’s

    1933 The first vinyl composition tile (VCT) was introduced at...
  • WWII

    WWII

    World War II During war times, vinyl was used for...
  • Post War

    Post War

    THE POST-WAR BOOM After World War II, the production of...
  • 1960s

    1960s

    1960’s This became known as the Golden Era of Vinyl,...
  • 1970s-80s

    1970s-80s

    OH-OH….. In the 1970’s, the health concerns about asbestos came...
  • Today

    Today

    Vinyl Flooring is the second-largest-selling plastic in the world, thanks...

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