With advances in technology and printing meaning that vinyl flooring can now compete with natural materials such as solid wood flooring, real stone flooring and ceramic and porcelain tiles in terms of appearance and texture. Its popularity is largely due its functionality: it is long-lasting, durable, scratch resistant, and is easy to clean.
As well as being highly insulating for both heat and sound, vinyl is also one of the most affordable flooring options, alongside laminate. It is available in a wide range of designs and styles and comes in three different types: a traditional sheet format in varying widths, tiles and plank systems. It is cushioned, so it’s comfortable to walk on, and feels much softer and warmer than a tiled or stone floor surface.
- Vinyl flooring costs
- Vinyl flooring material
- Fitting your own vinyl flooring
- Where to lay it
- Underfloor heating
- How to clean vinyl flooring
- Finding a fitter
On average vinyl flooring costs between £10 per m² and £25 per m². It is possible to spend more on vinyl flooring if you go for a bespoke option, but this depends on your own specifications, the quality of the material and the detail you require. It is possible to buy vinyl for as little as £5 per m² or even less, but you will find that some of the thinner options will not be as comfortable underfoot.
How much vinyl flooring do you need?
How much vinyl you need depends on the size of the room you are flooring, and the format of the tiles you are choosing. Measure the length and width of the room and then multiply them. For example:
If your room measures 5m by 5m, the area of your room is 25m and you will need 25m of vinyl flooring. Most flooring suppliers will display how many meters squared a pack of their flooring will cover. Always allow for an extra 10%, just in case tiles are damaged, and so that you can replace worn tiles if you ever need to.
Vinyl might vary in design, thickness and quality, but it is basically made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), although other additives such as pigments and fillers are often included with different manufacturing processes and material compositions. It is finished with a wear coating, and high-gloss designs have a polyurethane coating added at the end.
It depends on the type of vinyl and the skill required: if you are laying a single sheet in a large room, then one wrong cut can be an expensive mistake. Some products require adhesives for installation, while others come with a peel-off sticky backing or click together like laminate boards.
As with most flooring types, you will get a better finish if it is professionally laid, but if you are competent at DIY then you might want to have a go. Do bear in mind, though, that tiles or planks will be a lot easier to work with than a rolled out sheet of flooring.
Due to vinyl’s durability and water resistance, it can be laid in virtually any room of the house, including the kitchen and bathrooms, although it is not suitable for wet rooms. In its sheet form, vinyl is particularly good for busy family bathrooms as it can be fitted seamlessly, but make sure that the design you choose is slip resistant.
It can be fitted on any surface as long as it is smooth and flat, but it might be necessary to have the subfloor levelled so the vinyl doesn’t show up any undulations. If your floor is concrete, you could have a layer of screed put down first.
Most vinyls are suitable for use with underfloor heating, but check the manufacturer’s recommended maximum floor surface temperature to ensure it is compatible. Vinyl will heat up and cool down more quickly than stone and wood.
The advantage of vinyl is that it’s so easy to look after, but even though it is scratch-resistant, dirt and debris can cause scratching if allowed to build up. It should be swept regularly with a soft broom and mopped with warm soapy water or a recommended floor cleaner. Never use anything abrasive.
The National Institute of Carpet & Floorlayers can give you a list of its members in your area. Many retailers will either offer a fitting service or can recommend local installers. You can post a job, get quotes and hire a tradesperson on websites such as mybuilder.com and ratedpeople.com.