Throughout the 70s in Central Florida, the norm for kitchen and bathroom floors was sheet vinyl. In the 70s, the color palette reflected the times – oranges, greens, and golds. In the 80s, lighter colors and tile patterns were more popular.
Sheet vinyl is a large continuous piece that is usually glued into place over concrete, wood, or an existing layer of vinyl. One layer can be put on top of another, but a third layer is not recommended. With sheet vinyl, there are generally no seams if the piece is big enough to fit the area.
The products made during the early years had inherent moisture problems. Purple and yellow stains often showed up in bathroom areas or near the sink or refrigerator due to moisture emanating from the concrete. Sheet vinyl made today has moisture barriers and antimicrobial wear layers, and are structurally sound.
The downside of sheet vinyl is that it generally comes in 12’ or 6’ widths. Since most kitchens don’t fall into a perfect rectangle, material waste is often a factor. The extra pieces can be used under the sink, however it can be costly. Also, if the width of the installation area is wider that 12’, then the material needs to be seamed. This is a tricky process that requires a sealer to give the flooring proper integrity. Moving appliances incorrectly can cause sheet vinyl to rip or tear, and repair is difficult.
What then are options for people who want the comfort of vinyl, but the durability of ceramic or porcelain?
Say hello to vinyl tile and plank. They offer the look of ceramic and wood, without moisture problems, side effects of achy legs, dirty grout, and most objects dropped on them will not break.
Vinyl tile comes in a variety of sizes, 12 x 12, 16 x 16, 18 x 18, modular and even brick patterns. Plank echoes wood in many ways including color variety and textured grains and comes in several width sizes.
One of the greatest benefits of vinyl tile and plank is that it diminishes waste, especially in kitchens and baths with narrow or wide shapes, or areas that jut out, such as closets or behind appliances.
Other benefits are the ability to do repairs easily. One tile or plank can be removed and another put in its place. These floors are thicker than sheet vinyl and more resistant to scratches. Most of the patterns are slip resistant making them a great choice for wet areas such as kitchens and baths and laundry rooms.