What is vinyl?

What is vinyl?

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Vinyl flooring, or sheet vinyl, is a water-resistant, flexible floor covering made from different layers of synthetic materials, backed with either felt or foam. Available in a range of thicknesses and designs, the best vinyl flooring is very comfortable underfoot, and adds a bit of personality to your floor! Using the latest printing technology and embossing techniques, vinyl can provide the authentic look of a tiled or wooden floor at a fraction of the price and with far less maintenance. Sounds good so far – lets unwrap what vinyl flooring is a little more!

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What is sheet vinyl?

There are two types of vinyl flooring – sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tiles. As the names suggest, these two flooring types have different installation processes. Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, is a multi-layered, water resistant, resilient flooring available in individual vinyl tiles or planks. You can read more about luxury vinyl tiles in our ‘what is LVT’ guide. Sheet vinyl, as the name suggests, comes in a large continuous roll, a bit like carpet (and if you're struggling to choose between the two, have a ready of our guide on vinyl vs carpet), and is laid as one piece at the same time. This type of vinyl is suitable for all areas and recommended most for bathrooms and kitchens where there is a lot of moisture, as it has very few seams for moisture to leak through. 

How is vinyl made?

Vinyl sheet flooring is made up of several different layers of synthetic materials using modern production methods. On the top you have a wear and tear layer, finished with a clear coating to prevent scuffs and stains, add an extra layer of protection and water resistance. Underneath that, you have the design layer, which might be embossed to mimic the texture of a real wood, stone, or tiled floor. Finally, you have the backing layers, which gives you that soft underfoot feeling, and provides stability and structure. Some styles of vinyl will also have an additional layer of cushioned felt backing at the bottom to add extra comfort beneath your feet and reduce noise.

How long does vinyl flooring last?

Thanks to all the sturdy synthetic materials that make up vinyl flooring, one of the great advantages of vinyl flooring is that it will last for as long as you take care of it! We actually have a handy care guide for vinyl which covers all our handy tips for keeping your vinyl in top notch condition. 

What are the benefits of vinyl flooring?

The vinyl flooring pros and cons list is heavily in favour of the pros! Aside from the cost factor, there are many other benefits to choosing vinyl flooring: it's quick to install, hard-wearing, water-resistant, and easy to clean. Vinyl flooring features a wear and tear layer - a clear protective coating that goes on top of the design, which is stain-resistant, water-resistant, and slip-resistant, making it the perfect flooring choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

What designs are available on vinyl?

Vinyl flooring comes in a range of striking designs, from patterned tiles to a simpler stone or wood floor effect. If you like the look of tiled floors but think they’re too cold and too expensive, then vinyl is a great alternative. It’s more affordable, cheaper to fit, and is also warmer and softer underfoot. 
At Tapi, our patterned vinyl collection includes gorgeous designs that look just like ceramic tiles, such as modern art deco tiles, traditional black and white Victorian tiles, colourful Moroccan mosaic tiles, and vintage Spanish tiles. Vinyl gives you a chance to play around and have a bit of fun with your floor!

Which room is best for vinyl flooring?

Thanks to its water-resistance, vinyl flooring is best for use in the bathroom, utility room, kitchen, conservatory, and hallway. Vinyl also has a slight texture on the surface - some are more textured than others - which offers slip-resistance. One of the few disadvantages of vinyl flooring is that the pattern repeat, like wallpaper, is approximately, 2x2m, so for larger areas you might see this repeat. The pattern repeat is not as obvious with laminate and LVT as the planks and tiles can be shuffled during installation.
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What is the difference between vinyl and lino?

Whilst similar in appearance, there are a few key differences between lino flooring and vinyl:
  • Made from layers of synthetic materials.
  • Design is printed on a separate layer, which is protected by a wear and tear layer.
  • Realistic imitation of natural wood and stone.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Flexible and therefore easier to lay.
  • Less commonly available
  • Made from a mixture of natural materials, like linseed oil, ground cork, and jute
  • Design is embedded throughout the materials - a bit like a stick of rock - so the pattern may disappear or fade in heavy traffic areas.
  • Doesn't quite have the same realistic look and feel of wood or stone that vinyl does.
  • Not completely water-resistant - starts to curl up at the edges if it comes into contact with any water.
  • Stiffer and therefore harder to lay.
Both vinyl and lino are a hard wearing and affordable flooring choice, but vinyl is the better option because of its range and depth of designs, water-resistance, and durability. Take a look at our vinyl flooring at your nearest store or explore the range online.

How much is vinyl flooring likely to cost?

We stock a huge range of vinyl designs at Tapi, from simple grey and white vinyl, to wood plank and herringbone designs, to incredibly detailed patterns like marble (if you want some marble kitchen inspiration, take a look at our guide), art deco, and vintage ceramic tiles. If you’re wondering what the cost to install vinyl flooring is, the price varies depending on the style you choose. Our cheapest vinyl flooring starts from £9.99 to take away, while our top of the range, luxury embossed vinyl with a thick felt backing for extra comfort is £27.99m². So, based on a 3x2m room and a £9.99 vinyl plus £80 for fitting, the total cost of a new vinyl floor would be less than £175, which also includes spray adhesive for a perimeter fix and a door bar. Alternatively, find out how to lay vinyl flooring with our handy guide.
Our flooring experts will be able to talk you through the cost of vinyl flooring, including the installation, but there's also a handy vinyl flooring cost calculator on all of our vinyl product pages to give you an estimate of how much your floor will cost (excluding fitting).
Hopefully we’ve answered all your vinyl flooring questions for you with our helpful vinyl flooring pros and cons guide! If you have any further questions, or you’re not sure which of our amazing vinyl styles to choose from, why not check out our PictureIT tool on our website to try out all the different patterns and styles? Or, you can visit us in store or book a home visit and one of our Tapi experts will be more than happy to help you out. Alternatively, for more flooring inspiration, including tips on the best underlay for vinyl flooring, head on over to our ideas hub.
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