Choosing the Right Type of Vinyl Flooring
Each type of vinyl flooring is specified based on a number of factors. Before selecting a new vinyl floor for your home there are a few things to consider. Of course the look is of primary concern but you will also want to consider what area of the house it is going in, what type of traffic and use it will receive, your budget for the project, and last but not least, what condition your subfloor is in.
The different types of basic subfloors include sound, dry, concrete, plywood, OSB, particle board, and gypcrete. Generally, all of these will be suitable for either a floating installation or a glue down installation granted that the subfloor is in relatively good condition. Some products are floating only, some are glue down only, and some can be installed by either method.
Subfloor Requirements For Different Types of Vinyl Flooring Installations
Floating Vinyl Flooring Installation
Floating vinyl floors are a little more forgiving than the types of vinyl that require a “glue down” installation. Even though a floating floor is a little more forgiving, you still need your subfloor to be flat. Flat does not necessarily mean level. You just don’t want any major hills or valleys because they create spongy, bouncy areas on the floor that will undermine the integrity of the locking system and cause your floor to separate over time. Each manufacturer will give their recommended tolerance ie. 1/8″ over 10 linear feet. Occasionally some minor prep is required to feather down a high spot or fill in a low one. Some waterproof vinyl flooring products may still recommend using a moisture barrier and or sound absorbing underlayment when installing over on grade or below grade concrete.
Glue Down Vinyl Flooring Installation
Glue Down vinyl floors typically require a little more subfloor preparation prior to installation. Ideally, you want to have as smooth and dust free of a surface as possible to achieve the best adhesive bond. Furthermore, as the adhesive dries, it pulls the flooring down into any imperfections. Deep pockmarks in concrete, plywood seams, even old flooring, can possibly “telegraph” through the new vinyl floor if the subfloor is not prepped properly. Thinner, less expensive, vinyl sheet goods often require a higher degree of prep to make the final product look good. Patching, skim coating, or the installation of 1/4″ luan may be required to achieve the desired outcome. If your subfloor is very wavy and not suitable for a vinyl plank or vinyl tile, sheet vinyl flooring may be your only option. The sheet vinyl can contour itself to the shape of the subflooring.