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Next Generation Flooring

How to Identify High-Quality Vinyl Plank Flooring

Views: 326     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-03-03      Origin: Site

The best types of vinyl flooring share the same general construction.


Look for a Thicker Wear Layer

You only need to know two measurements when shopping for vinyl floors:


l Millimeters measures the entire board’s thickness, and

l Mil, which measures the thickness of the wear layer. (For our fellow nerds out there, mil equals a thousandth of an inch).

The thicker the wear layer, the more durable the floor—although this advice is the same no matter what type of flooring you buy.


If you’ve compared vinyl plank vs. laminate, you’ll know that both products benefit from a thicker wear layer. The best engineered wood flooring brands are differentiated by their thicker wood veneers. The same goes for the best vinyl plank flooring brands, too!


How Thick Should a Vinyl Plank Wear Layer Be?

For an area with a lot of traffic, we’d recommend a wear layer of 20mil or thicker. For low-key spaces (like bedrooms or dining rooms), 12mil should be fine. Anything lower might last you about as long as a t-shirt from H&M.


For comparison sake, factories, hospitals, and schools use 22mil–40mil wear layers. The odds are good that the same LVP can handle your hyperactive Tibetan Mastiff!  


Just Remember: Not All Wear Layers Are Created Equal!

It’s important to remember, though, that not all wear layers are the same. And here’s where it gets tricky—because not all of the best vinyl plank brands make their wear layers the same way.


Some wear layers offer UV protection; others incorporate different materials; it all depends on the manufacturer. In general, though, you have 4 main categories:


1. Vinyl-Only: These wear layers offer the least amount of protection, as vinyl isn’t inherently scratch-proof. It doesn’t matter how thick a simple vinyl wear layer is—it still won’t be particularly durable.

2. Polyurethane: These wear layers offer a good deal more protection; polyurethane is extremely durable and used to protect many different types of flooring.

3. Polyurethane with Aluminum Oxide: These wear layers incorporate a super-hard crystalline coating—aluminum oxide—for extra durability.

4. Polyurethane with Ceramic Bead Technology: These wear layers incorporate tiny beads that essentially act as ball bearings—ensuring that materials slide on the surface rather than gouging it.

Again, these categories are very general, and many manufacturers put other materials into their wear layers (like cultured diamonds, for instance).


But overall, polyurethane wear layers are much more durable than simple vinyl wear layers—especially when they have aluminum oxide or (even better) ceramic bead technology.


Look for Attached Underlayments

Many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands will add extra layers to their products to increase comfort, durability, etc.


For instance: you might find an attached cork underlayment on a product for a better underfoot feel. This can give you the springiness of cork (which is great for sore joints) without any of the disadvantages of cork flooring on its own.


Look into these extra layers—they’re often a sign that the manufacturer is trying to do away with the inherent disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring (which we’ll mention below) and offering a superior product.


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