Should vinyl flooring be used in a kitchen?
Vinyl flooring was once a commonly used kitchen flooring product. It is versatile, is easily installed and comes in various styles and designs to suit any budget. If vinyl flooring is a product that interests you for your use in your kitchen space, then your choices are almost endless in deciding on colors, designs and installation options. Photo from Armstrong Flooring.
How much does vinyl flooring cost?
If you do use vinyl flooring for your next kitchen project, you definitely get what you pay for. There are two major options for purchasing vinyl and costs to consider:
Low-end vinyl is incredibly inexpensive however life expectancy will be quite short. Plan to replace low-end vinyl within 10 years.
High-end vinyl will compare closely with linoleum and even hardwood flooring, but if well maintained, high-end vinyl flooring can last a lifetime.
Color and Design of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring has this department covered! Vinyl has the ability to replicate just about anything including ceramic tile flooring! There are hundreds of colors and textures available for vinyl flooring however there are two variances to consider.
Inlaid – This term refers to a higher-end vinyl product which is made by imbedding color granules into a vinyl sheet. This process puts color throughout the sheet and visually creates more depth so if the surface layer wears, the color and or style remain fresh.
Printed – This term refers to a lower-end vinyl product which is made by printing color onto the surface of the vinyl sheets. This product will wear much quicker.
Durability of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring durability refers to a wear layer which is applied over the top of the vinyl sheets or vinyl tiles. Vinyl flooring can most definitely be a leader in durability, but there are again some variances to consider.
No wax – This is the least durable of vinyl and is used mostly in low traffic areas which does not make this product ideal for a kitchen space. It will wear and can scratch and scuff.
Urethane – A much better option for the kitchen. This coating is useful for a space with normal traffic and will resist scuffs’ and scratches.
Enhanced Urethane – The highest quality coating for vinyl for the heaviest amount of traffic. This product will not only resist stains, scratches and scuffing, but it will also look incredible for a much longer period of time. Typically warranted up to 30 yrs!!
Water resistance – Once properly sealed, vinyl is completely impervious to water which is why this product is still so widely accepted in kitchens today.
Fire resistance – Vinyl burns at a much higher temperature than most flooring materials and will not spread flame. Typically vinyl will stop burning when the fire source is removed.
Maintenance – Easily maintained with regular sweeping, and mopping
Construction & Installation of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl Sheet– Sheet vinyl is available in 6′ or 12′ widths which can be cut to measure and or rolled. Depending on the size of your kitchen, vinyl rolls can get very heavy and can be very tricky to install on your own. It is recommended to have professionals help with the installation of sheet vinyl. Installed properly, sheet vinyl is impervious to water.
Vinyl Tiles– Vinyl tiles just might be the hottest new product for floors including kitchen floors. Generally these tiles are available in 12″ or 18″ squares however new trends are making tiles available in more unusual sizes. Some vinyl tiles today are designed to measure 3″ by 36″ to better resemble such surfaces as hardwood! These tiles can also be available in thickness’ of 1/16″ to 1/8″ the latter of course the better choice for a kitchen floor surface.
Vinyl Self-Stick Tiles – Just peel off the backing and stick it on! Pretty simple, but does require and extremely clean and smooth surface and excellent planning. These tiles are more risky in the kitchen as they will get loose much easier than any other vinyl surface and because each tile will have four edges, better the chance dirt and moisture have at getting locked in the adhesive making it harder to clean if not impossible!
Vinyl Flooring Backing
Beware that your vinyl flooring tiles backing may also determine your installation process!
- Felt-Backed Vinyl – This type of vinyl requires the installer to apply glue over the entire floor space. Once the floor is down it will not budge what so ever. This is an excellent feature, however when wanting to upgrade, this product is painstakingly difficult to remove although a new floor could be laid over top.
- Vinyl-Backed – This product requires that glue only be applied to the edges and therefore much easier to remove. Keep in mind that if you regularly move heavier objects in your space that there is a good chance of a shift in your vinyl floor!
Environmental & Health Impact of Vinyl Kitchen Flooring
Unfortunately vinyl flooring does not pass the green test in the kitchen, in fact, in some cases it fails miserably. However there are companies out there determined to get environmentally conscious vinyl production and recycling onto the right track. There has been enough progress in this department over the years to generate an active debate on vinyl’s behalf in this matter.
From a health perspective vinyl flooring does make for an easy clean, however adhesives and other products used to treat vinyl are also nasty culprits. In the past toxic fumes released from vinyl floors made this product a well-known health risk, however the industry has much improved since then and today the health risk is minimal.
If cost effectiveness is sexy than vinyl flooring surely qualifies. Unfortunately you may then have to settle for a lusterless floor. If you are willing to spend some extra dollars on vinyl flooring, then this product can give you all that you were looking for!
The Martini Factor
Vinyl flooring for kitchens is somewhat a fan of sexy martini parties. A touch softer than other flooring surfaces, vinyl has been known to put in a great performance from time to time!