The return of vinyl

Amari Grey Oak Vinyl - Bathroom Bizarre27 January 2014, Johannesburg: Of late, there has been a massive resurgence of vinyl – and no, we are not talking about records, but about vinyl flooring. A synthetic counterpart of linoleum, vinyl flooring is water- and stain-resistant, versatile and durable, and has become a major flooring trendsetter, especially in wet areas in the home.

“Vinyl flooring was first invented in the 1930s, and it remains a popular option today due to a variety of desirable characteristics – the main ones being the fact that it is water-resistant, durable, easily maintained, warm underfoot, and cost effective,” explains Kyle Turner from leading sanitaryware and flooring supplier, Bathroom Bizarre. He offers an overview on the many benefits of vinyl flooring:

Moisture resistance: Vinyl flooring is entirely waterproof, so it can be used virtually anywhere inside the home. It is especially suited to wet areas, where water often ends up on the floor, such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundries.

Aesthetic versatility: Vinyl flooring is available in an incredibly wide range of colours and patterns to suit virtually any décor style. Says Kyle: “The most popular types of vinyl designs are those that simulate natural materials, such as timber and natural stone for example. Faux timber vinyl flooring is especially popular - it is available in planks, similar to genuine wooden floorboards, and looks just like genuine timber floors when it is laid. This allows homeowners to enjoy the look of natural timber in wet areas, without running the risk of it warping and flaking.”

Quick and easy installation: Vinyl flooring is available in sheets, tiles and planks, and it is incredibly easy to install. Sheeting needs to be glued down, and most often, the tiles come with a “peel-and-stick” backing, so it is just a matter of laying them out evenly and neatly. Vinyl planks on the other hand, are laid in much the same way as laminate flooring – boasting a tongue-and-groove profile that simply clicks together. “The key to successfully installing vinyl flooring lies beneath the floor itself – vinyl flooring requires an extremely smooth surface, as any flaws or imperfections will show through as bumps and indentations eventually. Vinyl flooring is best laid on top of a layer of well-sanded plywood or smooth concrete screed,” explains Kyle.

Durability: Vinyl flooring is generally considered to be an incredibly durable flooring option, which if properly installed and well maintained, can last between 10 and 20 years. However, as with anything, the quality of the product you purchase will ultimately determine its lifespan. Says Kyle: “Any vinyl flooring worth its salt should have a wear layer. The wear layer is located on top of the vinyl itself, and guarantees that the flooring will enjoy a long life, even in high traffic areas. All the vinyl flooring offered by Bathroom Bizarre for example, is of the highest quality and boasts a 0,5mm wear layer, making it suitable for high traffic areas in both commercial and residential applications.”

Hygienic and stain-resistant: All you need to do to keep vinyl flooring looking as good as new is to ensure that all grit and dirt are regularly swept or vacuumed away, and that it is cleaned with a damp mop and vinyl-approved cleaner whenever required. The clear wear layer acts as a surface barrier, protecting the floor from stains and spills. “Its incredible ease of cleaning and stain-resistance, the fact that it boasts non-allergenic qualities, it is fire-retardant and absorbs more sound than other types of flooring, has lead to vinyl flooring being regularly used in hospitals, laboratories and various other healthcare facilities. However, all these qualities are just as desirable for residential use as well,” notes Kyle.

Underfoot comfort: Vinyl flooring does not get cold, even during the winter months, making it a great option for traditionally cold areas in the home. It is a resilient flooring, which means that its soft texture provides a little bit of “give” when you walk on it, especially if it has been laid with a foam-type combilay underlay underneath. Kyle explains: “This underlay is designed to even out uneven subfloors, better insulate the flooring, and provide better mildew and moisture resistance. It has the added bonus of adding a bit of spring to the flooring and enabling better soundproofing as well.”

Bathroom Bizarre sell vinyl flooring in the following timber finishes – Columbian Teak, Amari Grey Oak, Brazilian Walnut and Norwegian Maple. Each vinyl plank measures 177,8mm x 1219,2mm x 5mm and retails for R295 per square metre.

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