Overview

Vinyl flooring is also called "resilient" flooring because it characteristically "bounces back" from the weight of objects that compress its surface. It has long been the most popular hard surface flooring in the United States, according to industry reports in Floor Covering Weekly.

Vinyl floors are available in either tile or sheet form for both commercial and residentail use. Resilient flooring accounts for about 12 percent of all floor covering sold in the United States. (Other major categories include carpet, ceramic tile, hardwood and laminate.) New technologies in recent years have improved vinyl's performance - especially in the areas of durability against rips, tears and gouges. Because resilient floors are durable, easier to maintain and more moisture-resistant than many alternative materials, vinyl is preferred for use in residential kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in healthcare facilities, and commercial and retail establishments.

In general, there are two types of vinyl flooring: sheet flooring (typically 6' or 12' wide) and tile (typically 12"x12" or 9"x9"). In addition, there are two basic categories of vinyl tile - solid vinyl and vinyl composition - and three basic categories of vinyl sheet flooring - homogeneous, inlaid and layered composite. These products differ in manufacturing process and content. In fact, some floors contain as much as 55 percent vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) while others may contain as little as 11 percent vinyl, yet each of these floors is referred to as "vinyl flooring." (In addition to vinyl resin, vinyl floors typically contain fillers, plasticizers, stabilizers and pigments.)