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Last edited 22 Sep 2020
The term ‘flooring’ refers to the lower enclosing surface of spaces within buildings. This may be part of the floor structure, such as the upper surface of a concrete slab or floor boards, but typically it is a permanent covering laid over the floor. There are many types of flooring materials available.
Resilient flooring is loosely defined as flooring manufactured from elastic materials. Products made out of these materials share certain characteristics - they are durable and firm, but they also offer a degree of 'bounce' or resilience. Vinyl is one type of resilient flooring.
 History of vinyl flooring
Vinyl flooring became available to consumers following the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933, but due to material shortages during World War II, it did not gain significant market share until the late 1940s. Despite its late arrival on the scene, vinyl is now one of the most commonly used flooring materials.
 Types of vinyl flooring
Vinyl rolls (also known as vinyl roll flooring or vinyl sheet flooring) may require seams, depending on the configuration of the room. They can be patterned, and some patterns are better than others at the hiding seams. Heat welded vinyl sheet flooring is often used in healthcare facilities.
Vinyl boards or planks are typically manufactured to reproduce the appearance of hardwood floors. They tend to be extremely rigid and durable, although sharp, heavy objects may dent or puncture their surface.
Vinyl tiles are commonly referred to as vinyl composition tiles (VCT) or luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). VCT consists of a small amount of vinyl (roughly 8% to 12%) along with other materials such as limestone and clay. This produces a porous surface which requires regular maintenance. LVT is made entirely from vinyl and does not need to be sealed or maintained to preserve its appearance. LVT is often used in educational facilities along with sheet vinyl and rubber floors. For more information see Rubber flooring.
 Characteristics of vinyl flooring
Vinyl flooring can be manufactured in a very wide range of colours, patterns and profiles (for example studded) and can simulate other materials such as ceramic, marble and other types of stone, as well as hardwood floors.
All types of vinyl flooring are made up of several layers: the wear layer, the printed or decorative layer, an inner core typically consisting of a foam, a vinyl layer and a backing. A thicker wear layer is suitable for high traffic areas where damage (such as rips and gouges) is most likely to occur.
There are several advantages associated with vinyl flooring:
- It is durable.
- It is easy to maintain and keep clean.
- It is capable of getting wet without buckling, making it suitable for use in bathrooms, kitchens and so on.
- It is resistant to mould and mildew.
- It is easy to instal.
- It can be relatively inexpensive.
Most vinyl flooring is generally fixed by gluing. It can also be self adhesive.
Glue-down vinyl flooring requires a special type of glue, which is applied to the flooring surface before the materials are put into place. This type of installation and any subsequent removal is typically performed by a flooring professional.
Self adhesive vinyl tile has a pressure sensitive adhesive layer on the backing and does not require extra glue. Installation simply requires the removal of the protective film and the application of pressure. One fixed, the tiles should stay firmly in place and can only be removed through the application of heat, which makes it easier to cut them into smaller pieces.
Click and lock flooring (also known as snap and lock flooring, lock flooring, drop and lock flooring, snap lock flooring or click together flooring) is a type of flooring that is primarily used on floating floors over subfloors. As a type of floating floor, click and lock floors are not fixed to the substrate layer below (which may be, for example, the structural floor, an underlay, an underfloor heating construction or acoustic or thermal insulation). They use a tongue and groove edge treatment to click together and are fairly easy to remove. For more information, see Click and lock flooring.
Another type of vinyl flooring that does not require adhesives is known as loose lay vinyl plank and tile. These materials have a special backing that creates a strong grip on the floor. This is caused by a substance manufacturing into the backing that is activated by a high level of friction.These materials can be cut into smaller pieces and removed fairly easily.
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