For fast-moving facilities, flooring needs to be just right to with- stand the rigor of daily traffic but
also contribute to the aesthetics of a
modern workplace. In the past, facilities managers have struggled to find a
flooring option that does both of these,
but the emergence of high-quality
resilient vinyl tiles has provided more
options. Is a vinyl flooring solution right
for your facility?
Vinyl flooring has improved considerably in terms of design opportunities.
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is one such product that has developed as a durable
flooring replacement for hardwood and
other natural materials. Able to mimic
wood and stone, LVT comes in tiles or
planks and can provide an aesthetic
change-up to some commercial and
healthcare facilities that would otherwise be unable to make use of wood
Beyond just aesthetics, resilient vinyl
flooring can help with acoustical design
compared to other hard flooring surfaces, as many options can reduce the
impact of noise, according to a recent
study. When it comes to acoustics, vinyl
flooring might not perform as well as
carpet and other soft flooring options,
but it is more flexible for facilities.
Vinyl flooring typically comes in
two design types: printed and inlaid.
According to the World Floor Covering
Association (WFCA), printed vinyl
patterns are printed using a paper
top coat placed on a vinyl surface. To
provide a wear layer, it is covered with
multiple layers of clear vinyl or urethane. Compared to inlaid vinyl, it is
conventionally more affordable but less
vinyl tile with natural materials being
photographed and printed into the tile,
and they often come as planks.
The production of inlaid vinyl patterns involves placing vinyl granules
on the backing and forcing them up
to the wear surface, explains WFCA.
This process makes them heavier and
more durable because it is composed
of vinyl all the way through the floor’s
The best quality LVT options come
printed with multiple layers of resilient
polymer. These and any other kind of
high quality vinyl flooring will provide
strong durability, so they are a good
fit in facilities with a large number of
building occupants. They can adequately handle high foot traffic for a long
time and resist chipping, scuffing and
other symptoms of wear.
For all vinyl flooring options, the
wear layer is critical to the long-term
viability of the floor surface. WFCA
identifies three main types:
■ Vinyl no-wax is a clear top coating. It
is the least durable and requires pol-
ishing on a regular basis to maintain
■ Urethane-coated finishes are more
durable and resist stains and wear.
They do not need to be polished.
■ Enhanced coatings used with ure-
thane finishes are the most durable.
Flooring that has an additional alu-
minum oxide coating, for instance, is
more durable than urethane coatings
Identifying the best quality options
for your budget will improve the long-
term viability of your flooring and
One drawback to vinyl flooring is
that it requires different maintenance,
which can add up in cost. The aforementioned study found that the cost
of equipment for resilient flooring
including vinyl and other hard flooring
was 2.5 times more expensive than for
“The median costs of equipment
needed for floor care of hard and resilient surfaces, such as scrubbing and
buffing machines, were more expensive than the median costs for the
vacuum cleaners, dry foam soil extractors and hot water extractors required
to clean and maintain soft flooring,”
the study explains. Of course, some
higher quality vinyl flooring options
like LVT will reduce that cost because
they require less maintenance than the
average vinyl flooring.
Most vinyl flooring is moisture-resis-tant, but you will need to make sure
that water doesn’t sit on the flooring,
as its traction and resistance aren’t
enough in many instances to prevent
slips and falls. Like any type of flooring, resilient vinyl requires an active
approach to avoid liability issues.
Justin Feit firstname.lastname@example.org is
Associate Editor of BUILDINGS.
LUXURY VINYL TILE (LVT) CAN MIMIC NATURAL MATERIALS like wood and
stone for a more durable aesthetic flooring option.