FAQ: Vinyl

FAQ: Vinyl
  • Is vinyl plank flooring durable? Vinyl plank flooring is extremely durable. It is also extremely stain, dent, and scratch resistant. Vinyl flooring is made of shock absorbent materials. In addition to adding to its ruggedness, this adds to the walking comfort.

  • Is Vinyl Flooring really waterproof? All of our vinyl flooring here at Floors To Your Home is 100% waterproof. This means that in the event of a spill that remains on the floor too long, or a flooded basement, or some other water related accident, the flooring will be completely fine after the water has been cleaned up. While the flooring itself is waterproof, damage can be caused to the subfloor by water making it past the flooring joints.

  • Do I need an underlayment or moisture barrier for my vinyl flooring? No. Underlayment or padding can cause the locking mechanism on click together vinyl flooring to become unlocked. Also, glue down and pre-glued products need to be attached directly to the subfloor. A moisture barrier is used to prevent moisture from a concrete subfloor from damaging the flooring material above it, but as this flooring itself is waterproof, there is no need for moisture barrier.

  • Can vinyl floating floors be used in a mobile camper with no heating for the winter in temperatures below freezing? Yes, it “can be used,” broadly speaking, but there are some factors to consider. This use would void the warranty. Unless a floor is designated an indoor/outdoor floor, the warranty will always state that it must be used in a climate controlled environment with temperatures kept to at least 60 degrees or above. That means that if you had, say, a plank crack from the temperature and some stress, you would not be able to make a claim with the manufacturer.

    A click-together or Loose Lay Waterproof Vinyl Plank is the only thing that we would almost recommend for such an environment. As you have realized, a glue down vinyl floor is a bad option, so these would be the only things you would want to try. Issues to consider are whether your camper has the room expanding “bump out” areas. If it does, you’ll need to make sure that the sliding part of the camper floor wouldn't catch on the vinyl and make it buckle. Otherwise, it is 100% waterproof. We've even soaked it in an aquarium for a few days to test it out. Since it absorbs no moisture, we can’t think of a reason it would expand or contract very much, if at all. It’s pretty stable stuff!

  • Can vinyl flooring be laid over a flat existing vinyl floor so that I do not have to remove an asbestos floor in my kitchen? Yes, it can go over existing flooring with the same caveats you consider in any vinyl installation. The original flooring must be perfectly flat, as flat as your subfloor would need to be if you installed directly over it.

  • Do these waterproof planks expand or shrink when it gets hot or cold? The click together floors do expand and contract, but minimally, less than what is expected of laminates, to give a comparison. The Loose Lay planks are designed to not expand at all within normal room temperatures (between 65 and 85 degrees, for instance), so you wouldn't leave any gap between the flooring and the walls.

  • How can I clean scuffs off my vinyl plank flooring? There are two things that scuffs could mean. One involves a scuff made by something leaving residue of itself on the floor. In this case, use procedures that would be standard for any vinyl floor. Some people use either a special vinyl floor "eraser", a mixture of baking soda and water thick enough to be called a paste, or WD-40. Each of these would be applied to the floor, and then rubbed in a circular motion with a white cloth.

    The other type of scuff is actually the removal of a thin layer off the vinyl surface, like a thin scrape. Neither scuffs of this sort nor scratches in the surface can be fixed by cleaning - that's just damage. In that case you would replace the plank.

  • What is the best flooring choice if you have a puppy? Interesting, "puppy" not "dog"? It sounds like an issue with indoor piddling. The best for this are our Waterproof Vinyl Plank floors. They are 100% waterproof, so you don't need to worry about the floor being hurt when your pet has an accident. The Loose Lay may be the best of the two should you ever need to get under a plank or two if an accident lingers for a while before you get to it. If you jump down to question 2 in the middle of this blog post on pet urine we did for another customer, you'll find better details and some good pictures.

  • How can vinyl be hand-scraped? Vinyl can be "hand-scraped" due to the advanced technologies at the manufacturing plants.  The factories are able to duplicate the looks, textures and finishes of hardwood floors with high tech machinery that they own and have developed. They can mimic not only the look, but the wavy feel of a solid hand-scraped hardwood floor.

  • I am confused about what to use to clean vinyl click together flooring. You will want to purchase an actual vinyl cleaner. Armstrong has a product called Once and Done that we actually use here in our show room!

  • Can Loose Lay Vinyl be bought in small quantities? I was interested in doing a bathroom in my rental apartment. Certainly, it can be purchased in any amount we have in stock! The only limit is how much comes in one box.

  • Is this loose lay "Karndean"? We usually carry a lot of loose lay vinyl plank, but it is not all from the Karndean brand.

  • I was looking into Vinyl Planks but am not sure about scratches from a large dog. This is not going to be the best floor for some really big dogs' nails. Our customer service people could go into specifics with you regarding your dog and whether this would be a good choice, or what your other flooring options may be.

  • Will Vinyl Plank hold up in the heat in an Arizona room? It has no documented temperature limits, however, it is meant to be laid in a climate controlled environment, where temperatures do no exceed, usually, 92 degrees.  Your specific choice's documentation (which we always put on the products' pages) will give you the specifics.

  • Can you use a Scooba robot on vinyl plank floors We think so! The rollers are rubber, which is great, and the recommended cleaning solutions should be fine too. The only concern would be the brushes. Unlike laminate floors, vinyl comes with a basic UV coating, not an aluminum oxidee coating. You want to ensure that the brushes are not harmful. When you're buying one (or if you have one already - go into a store), find a Scooba salesman and have her check into this, and even demonstrate the machine using a standard vinyl plank floor. If you have a sample of ours, have her use that.

  • How is this flooring waterproof if the seams aren’t glued? I’ve been looking at loose lay planks locally, but they all have an interconnecting glue tab. How are these installed so that they’re completely waterproof? There are no glue tabs on Loose Lay floors. That would be "peel and stick." With Loose Lay, though, the flooring is 100% waterproof. If you have a flood or water rises up from underneath, or you miss a spill, the flooring planks will not be harmed. They dry off and can be relaid immediately once the subfloor is dry. This is not the case with any hardwood or laminate. Have a flood with those, and in addition to the same cleanup you'll have with any flood, those planks are gone, and you'll be buying a new floor.

    As for protecting your subfloor, the sides of our planks are cut at an angle which makes the tops lay snug against each other, but water will get to the subfloor if a room floods. Glue tabs cannot be counted on to water seal a floor either, and may even add hassle if you have a problem to fix. Since the Loose Lay planks are so easy to pull up, you can actually deal with any water on the subfloor much more quickly and easily.

    If you have a flood, water is going to get everywhere no matter what your floor covering is. The closest to water-sealing a floor are sheet vinyl, though a flood would get around it at the walls, and a ceramic tile, though you have grout, which water can eventually get through, and which can absorb water and grow mold. Then your floors still need to come up, and that can be a big deal.

    The only thing about a floor that can be waterproof is the flooring itself, and these definitely are that.

  • Why do my vinyl plank instructions says to not clean with soap and water? Will water seep under planks? Yes, that is correct, and this is true of many click together products, with or without adhesives. Even with floors designed to prevent water from slipping through the cracks as much as possible, when pooled water sits too long, or is pushed in and down with a mop, the water will get through the gaps and under the flooring. Don’t mop a click together floor. Use a rinse-free cleaner sprayed onto your Swiffer, then wipe. All floors can be cleaned, but it must be done in accordance with manufacturer specifications.

  • I am trying to match the direction of flooring in an adjacent room. If I install the long side of the tile parallel with the short dimension of the room, or the long edge perpendicular to the main traffic direction, does this create more risk of edges or corners peeling up? Our installation experts advise that the direction the vinyl plank runs will not matter as long as the subfloor in smooth, flat, and level.

  • Is any particular sub flooring needed for snap together vinyl plank flooring? There is no particular type, just a set of conditions. The subfloor must be level, generally sloping no more than 1/8'' over any 6 foot span (documentation will be specific with each product). Another concern is cracking or gapping in a subfloor. These have to be covered or filled, because those blemishes could actually show through the vinyl. These products cannot be laid over pad, as that can cause issues with the the locking mechanisms on the planks, and will void the warranty. You can use a backer board as long as the subfloor is level! These are pretty common, but still general. Your material's instructions will give the specifics you would need to follow.

  • What happens when you accidentally spill something on a Loose Lay product? Doesn't it go through the seams? Yes, unattended water could eventually get through the seams. The tops of these planks push together, and are designed to hold water in place for a reasonable amount of time, however a spill left alone for a few hours may well get through.

  • Do floating vinyl floors pose a few more risks than glue down? There is no risk of slippage with a properly installed click together or loose lay vinyl floor. The planks do not slide around underfoot, and in case of major spills they come right up. Once the subfloor is taken care of, the same planks will go right back down. A glue down vinyl plank or tile floor will be a tougher, more expensive installation, and you can’t just pull up the planks to get to water underneath.

  • Is there a strong glue odor? This is a pretty broad question, and the answer can be subjective, but we're going to go ahead and say 'no'. As of the date of this post, we selectively sell only 1 flooring adhesive, cited near the section Will Adhesives Hurt Us? in the middle of that blog post. We will only sell glues that comply with federal regulations, you see. If you do buy elsewhere, we have some tips on ventilation as well, good to follow whether there is an odor or not, in case you have allergy issues. Whatever adhesive you consider buying, always check the labeling safety data.

  • Can snap together vinyl plank flooring be installed over radiant heated basement floors? In general, yes, but with conditions. These will vary from product to product, but any floor you want to install (not just vinyl) should come with specs or instructions listing the temperature thresholds for that particular flooring, including over radiant heat. It may say, for instance, "Do not install over Radiant Heating set higher than 85 degrees." We try to put specs up on the website for everything we sell (if we haven't, it's an oversight, and if you call us on it we will fix it right away) and you should find that cited for any floor, that temperature range. And if you shop somewhere else, make sure they let you see the specific documentation for your floor so you can make sure it will fit your situation. That's a more than reasonable request to make.

  • Can you use a steam mop on Karndean flooring Presently (July 2014) we do not carry the Karndean line of vinyl planks. Their website has a few, brief pages on maintenance, but no mention is made of steam mopping either pro or con. Our manufacturers also do not refer to one, but we would not recommend it, and here's why.

    1. Most vinyl floors have temperature requirements. They refer to room temperatures and even some floor temperatures when over radiant heating. Usually they're in the high 80's to 90's. Steam is very likely going to beat that, so the heat itself, if not the water, could damage the floor.

    2. While the vinyl planks may be 100% waterproof (ours are, not sure with Karndean), you still have flooring beneath them which would not be, if it's wood. Any steam cleaner can push moisture down between planks, even those designed to keep spills atop for a long time, because it's steam - we would need an airtight seal, not a watertight one. If the floor below is concrete, we still might trap moisture beneath the vinyl, and over concrete, mold can form.

    It would be great if maintenance instructions were better about saying both what should be done and what shouldn't, but absent that kind of helpfulness it would just be best to do only what is recommended for cleaning a vinyl plank floor.

  • Can vinyl (wood look) planks be installed on concrete walls? *Can* they? Yes. Will this void any warranty? Absolutely! That doesn't mean it won't work, but you should know that about it. And if you still want to do this here are the few tips we have, for which we utterly renounce any confidence or responsibility (we are, after all, flooring people, not so much 'walling' people).

    You'll be using a vinyl adhesive, the style you apply to the floor (wall), allow to get 'tacky', and then apply the flooring. Take a look at this Glued Vinyl Installation Video from where we've started it for about 45 seconds to see what we mean about handling the glue.

    Now to keep the planks from just peeling off as you go, or yourself from having to hold them in place while the adhesive dries, which could take hours, we think you should start from the bottom of the wall. Then the bottom planks would be held up by the floor, and the next planks you put up would be held up by the ones below them. The tackiness of the glue should keep them otherwise wallbound.

    ...and that is all we can write here. There are probably blogs that will give you detailed tips on this process. There have to be, there are blogs about everything. There are even flooring blogs. No, really, there are.

  • Can the loose lay be glued down ? Yes, it can.

  • What is the chemical compostion if vinyl flooring gas? This would depend on the product. Some vinyls are made of 'virgin vinyl' and others of recycled. In the virgin cases, the manufacturers could determine the compositions because they're making the product, but with recycled they could not, as the vinyl would come from multiple sources.

    In August of 1015, Consumer Reports posted the following: "Consumer Reports ran lab tests on 17 vinyl-flooring products, testing for 13 types of phthalates. In addition to checking the composition of the flooring itself, the lab tested to see whether phthalates could be wiped off the vinyl flooring onto your hands or get into the air. Consumer Reports found that while there may be considerable amounts of phthalates in the compositions of the materials, the tests show that very little came out into the air or onto wipes run across the flooring."

    Source: http://www.ky3.com/news/local/consumer-reports-chemical-concern-is-vinyl-flooring-safe/21048998_34514204

  • Can loose lay vinyl planks be laid in a herringbone pattern Yes!

    We wrote about it here, with pictures:   Loose Lay Vinyl Plank in a Herringbone Pattern