Sheet Vinyl Guide

Vinyl or ‘lino’ as us kiwi’s more commonly call it, has been a staple floor covering seen in most of our homes for decades. It is loved for its hardiness, low maintenance and affordability.

All flooring types have their own pros and cons, and it is up to you to decide what option best fits your home and lifestyle. Here are some characteristics of sheet vinyl flooring to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.

  • Although we have all come to call this type of floor covering ‘lino’ or ‘linoleum’ out of habit, this floor covering has moved in leaps and bounds and the construction is no longer technically ‘lino’, rather Sheet Vinyl.
  • Linoleum was made up of materials such as linseed oil, cork dusk, wood flour and most commonly has a burlap or canvas backing. Sheet Vinyl is constructed out of synthetic products. There is typically a backing material which is a mix of vinyl and plasticiser or fibreglass. That layer is then covered with a print film of the desired pattern or design. This is then overlaid with a clear layer to protect the floor; this is called the ‘wear layer’. Finally, a coating of urethane is applied to further protect the floor from wear.
  • Today Sheet Vinyl has overtaken traditional linoleum in popularity with the former seldom used due to its limited design and colour possibilities, discolouration, sensitivity to cleaners and regular ‘sealing’ needs.
  • Sheet Vinyl comes on rolls and is available most commonly in 2, 3 and 4m widths. This is referred to as a lineal metre.
  • Designs, patterns and colours are printed on the surface of vinyl flooring and a coating is applied on top of this to protect the design, this is the wear layer. When this layer wears through from traffic and use, the design will be gone as well. It also helps repel dirt and spills. Each vinyl has a unique wear layer thickness. Often this is an indication of quality as the thicker the wear layer the more lasting the product tends to be. This may make some vinyls more expensive than others.
  • The amount of cushioning is also important as this will give you underfoot softness and a bit of ‘bounce’ making it more comfortable to walk or stand on. This is important for areas such as kitchens where you spend more time on your feet. Do note that with more cushioning, there is possibility of indentation where the feet of furniture compress the cushion with its weight. Use floor protectors under the feet of heavy items to limit permanent indentation.
  • It is extremely important when moving furniture and appliances to lift the items rather than dragging them across the vinyl as to not tear it.
  • Stability and water resistance make Sheet Vinyl a good choice for any room. As it comes in large sheet format, there needs to be very few joins. This is great for areas where one seamless look is wanted. It is also impervious to damage from water, which can seep between the joins of other flooring types. If joins are required in a larger space, skilled installers can often achieve a high quality join that looks near inconspicuous.
  • The Sheet Vinyl is glued to the subfloor and for this reason the subfloor needs to be completely clean, allowing the glues to stick.
  • Exposure to strong sunlight may cause fading or brittleness. Some ranges offer warranty against fading from sunlight.
  • What you don't see is just as important as what's on the surface. The backing of Sheet Vinyl flooring provides additional moisture and mildew resistance.
  • Sheet Vinyl flooring is an extremely low maintenance flooring option, and is considered one of the easiest flooring types to clean. Vacuuming and moping the floor is enough to keep the floor clean. Spills are no problem, simply wipe them away with a damp cloth.
  • One of the most appealing features of Sheet Vinyl is the ability to install it in homes without having to remove skirting boards.
  • Sheet Vinyl is available across a wide variety of price points that are comparatively cheaper to other hard flooring options.

KITCHEN : A fantastic option for the kitchen. Food and liquid spills can be easily wiped away without fuss. Select a Sheet Vinyl with more cushioning for comfort when standing for long periods cooking and baking.

HALLWAY: A Sheet Vinyl with a good wear layer is great for busy hallways. It will withstand the foot-traffic and any dirt and debris tracked in by shoes can be easily cleaned up.

BATHROOM & LAUNDRY: The water-resistance and stability of Sheet Vinyl make it one of the most popular and suitable options for these spaces.

LOUNGE AND BEDROOMS: Although not commonly used in this space, Sheet Vinyl is suitable for these rooms. A thicker vinyl with more cushioning will provide slightly more softness and warmth than a non-cushioned Sheet Vinyl.