How to Choose the Best Vinyl Floor

best vinyl floor product from Shaw flooring

The best vinyl floor is different for everyone—and there are quite a few to choose from! This guide for vinyl flooring can help homeowners and business owners narrow down their options and choose the best vinyl floor.

Vinyl floors are typically split into three categories: sheet vinyl, vinyl plank, and luxury vinyl tile. The first type of vinyl flooring is available in sheets. Sheet vinyl is typically glued down with an adhesive. Vinyl plank flooring is available in strips that can be installed with or without adhesive. Luxury vinyl tile is similar to vinyl plank. All three types of vinyl floors are available in styles that resemble wood and stone tile. Sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl plank, and vinyl tile are all durable, easy-to-clean, and water-resistant. However, there are factors to consider when choosing the best vinyl floor for the space.

Factors for Choosing the Best Vinyl Floor

Installation: DIY vs. Professional

Vinyl floors are available in styles specifically made for do-it-yourself installs and via a professional installer. Specifically, there are luxury vinyl plank and tile floors made specifically for do-it-yourselfers. Sheet vinyl needs to be glued down and is a more complicated install. However, there are several click-and-lock luxury vinyl plank products made for do-it-yourselfers. These products can be installed as a floating floor without grout, making them an ideal floor for basements.

Style: Wood vs. Tile

All types of vinyl floors come in styles that resemble narrow- and wide-plank wood and stone tiles, and in a variety of colors. The best vinyl floor coordinates with existing décor. Sheet vinyl comes in a variety of styles, but doesn’t quite resemble wood and stone as closely as luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile floors. Luxury vinyl plank and tile products are available in styles that closely resemble traditional hardwoods or modern wood flooring. Though these floors look like wood flooring, they don’t come with the traditional worries about water damage from standing water or spills. These floors also come in products that resemble travertine, porcelain and cement tiles.

Moisture in Room: Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

Some vinyl floors are waterproof, while others are water-resistant. Both options are incredibly durable and can withstand water tracked in and frequent spills. However, waterproof flooring is built to handle frequent spills and the damp conditions of high moisture areas; these floors are ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, and rooms over a concrete slab (like a basement).

Sheet vinyl is the best vinyl floor for rooms prone to spills and high-humidity because it has no seams. Some vinyl sheet floors have even withstood minor flooding. There are also waterproof luxury vinyl plank and tile products designed specifically for basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. (Ask a flooring professional to see waterproof products if needed, because most vinyl products are water-resistant.)

Thickness: Commercial Grade vs. Residential  

Luxury vinyl plank and tile floors come in a variety of thicknesses (from 2-8.5 mm). In general, thicker floors tend to be more solid underfoot. The thickest luxury vinyl plank and tile floors are an excellent fit for commercial application, though may not be necessary in a home. Thinner vinyl floors are a good fit for light-traffic areas. Sheet vinyl floors tend to be similar thickness, though some vinyl sheet floors provide more cushion underfoot.

Budget: Affordability

There are a variety of vinyl floors available that fit into almost any budget. Sheet vinyl tends to be the most affordable, though it may be more expensive because it requires professional installation. Click-and-lock luxury vinyl plank floors typically cost more than other vinyl plank products, though the overall cost is often cheaper without installation costs. To get a final estimate, ask a local flooring professional to see the best vinyl floor that fits within the budget.