History of Flooring
In primitive homes, floors were made mostly from a mixture of stone aggregates with lime solutions. Homes of the rich were of natural stones, but the poor were struggling with sub-standard materials.
Floor Cloth Invention
The invention of cement had eased the floor maintenance, but basic issues were persistent. To make floor appearance good-looking, floor clothes were invented, which was replaced by some relatively sturdy fabrics, including canvas, hemp, and linen gradually.
With the pace of time, linoleum was made from linseed oil, cork gums, and pigmenting materials. It was leather-like oil-cloth and inexpensive, so affordable for all.
In the 1950s, the invention of plastic chemicals has given birth to PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride material, which was a long chain of the molecules of Polyvinyl Chloride or simply vinyl as a base material.
Layered Vinyl Flooring or Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Later on, the layered vinyl flooring material become popular thanks to various protecting coving on the top and supporting base material at the bottom of the PVC sheet to give it solid support against heavy foot traffic and unevenness developed over the time in the base structure.
However, the term Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is a commercial term, but technically, it is a layered vinyl sheet or tiles. LVT offers printing or overall appearance of natural stones and woods across the mass. Such luxury comes with a price but a lot cheaper than natural stones or ceramic/porcelain tiles.
How Is LVT Made?
- Vinyl resins and plasticizers when stirring together make a plastisol.
- Along with plastisol, AZO compound heated to produce vinyl form.
- The vinyl form has the consistency to spread in a slurry on the backing.
- Now, slurry laid down on backing of felt or wood pulp using a reverse roll-coater.
- After pouring, it smoothed out.
- Now, the coated sheet placed in an oven to convert the vinyl form into the gel.
- Vinyl resin absorbs the plasticizer and set.
- The next step is to run the gel in a printing press impressed with metal intaglio plates.
- With this, the gel gets impressions of decorative patterns, including colors, designs, and embossing effects.
- A mixture of plasticizer and vinyl prepared and ran on the printed gel.
- When the combination runs through an oven at a higher temperature than before it creates a clear vinyl by absorbing the plasticizer and melts.
- Thus, a sturdy layer forms on top of the printed layer and bear the brunt of foot traffic.
- The topmost layer becomes a finish layer that may be matte, semi-gloss, and gloss depending on the requirements to create the skid-free surface.
- The last and final treatment is coating with polyurethane using rollers. An air knife is controlling the consistent thickness of the coating layer.
- Later on, photochemical treatment has given to cure the coating.
- In the end, LVT sheet is cut to rolls in 12ft wide and 1500ft long dimensions or whatever standards are prevailing in the industry.
Types of Natural Vinyl Flooring
There are different types of luxury vinyl flooring material and practices used in the market.
Vinyl Sheet Flooring:
It comes in large, flexible, and continuous roles of polymerized vinyl chloride with layers of other materials such as
- PU (polyurethane) protective coating that eliminates the need for waxing.
- Wear layers around the glass fiber layers mostly made from plasticizer.
- Design & print layer, which are accepting flat & emboss kinds of printing effects.
- Glass fiber layers around the vinyl layer in the middle of the sheet.
- Fibrous baking sheet at the bottom.
PVC is impervious to water and any other liquid. So, it is the best water-resistant material for cheaper flooring options. Due to the coating layers of PU, it is easy to maintain and retains its look for a long period. A large size sheet/role allows custom cutting according to the dimension of the installation site/space. Thus, it ends in fewer seams and edges.
The apparent benefits of vinyl sheet flooring are getting warm and soft surface underfoot. With customization, it becomes downright cushiony. Fewer seams and edges allow rapid cleaning with manual as well as machine cleaners.
Vinyl Tile Flooring:
Vinyl composite Tile or VCT is often used in commercial applications or home applications where probability remains for high traffic. VCT accepts repeated finishing with chemical stripping and buffing with mechanical equipment. It makes its high resilience to abrasion & impact damage.
VCT cuts into modular shapes and sizes such as 12”x12” in a square shape, and 12”x24” in a rectangular shape. The installation of VCT demands a smooth and leveled sub-floor, as well as a special adhesive for it. For commercial applications, it requires waxing and buffing by using specific material and equipment. Periodic repetition of the same is essential in many instances.
In the market, you will find VCT resemble terrazzo, stones, woods, and concrete like traditional flooring material you will get all in added advantages of price, installation cost, aesthetics, durability, and infinite choices.
Vinyl Plank Flooring:
Many wooden flooring lovers look for the same alternative but with advanced material and vinyl is offering planks for it. Vinyl planks come in strips mimicking different types of woods in look and feel both with design and textures.
Vinyl planks are backed with a felt material to give it hardness at one hand and softness at another. Thereby, standing on vinyl planks becomes easier than a real wood plank. Moreover, the breaking of delicate objects like glasses or ceramic utensils is less likely to happen thanks to its softness and elasticity.
Installation needs only sub-floor in clean & good condition, so it proves a quick process. Maintenance also is an easy and cost-effective process.
How Much Does Vinyl Flooring Cost?
We know regular vinyl flooring is cheaper than other flooring materials, and it ranges from $0.50 – $2 per square foot. However, luxury vinyl flooring is running between $2 and $5+ per square foot. The differences in the cost is due to the quality of LVT/luxury vinyl tiles that are matching with woods and stones in appearance and other physical properties like hardness and water-resistance.
Where to Get Guidance & Materials:
It is a team of consultants at World of Stones, USA, which can provide you perfect guidance for your flooring solutions. Moreover, you will get a variety of natural stone and porcelain tiles choices for your next construction project. High-quality material and competitive cost is a guarantee here.