With so many different types of vinyl flooring available, from expensive luxury vinyl floor tiles through to cheap vinyl flooring, it can be difficult to tell whether you’re really getting value for your money, so here’s how to compare the difference and see whether your flooring is good quality or cheap old tat.
Everything You Need To Know About Vinyl Flooring
First of all the most obvious consideration is the raw materials that have been used to make the flooring.
This of course can be very difficult to determine, but while in the past luxury brands like Amtico may have been way and above the cheaper alternatives, today it is very difficult to see a noticeable difference, and there is probably not that much between the higher and lower priced brands in terms of materials as there once was.
It is inevitable really that over time manufacturers will work out the best materials to use and will be able to source them and get the product made to a higher standard at a lower cost by producing it overseas.
So really there is probably not much to worry about in terms of materials when you’re comparing similar vinyl flooring or tiles in terms of thickness, etc.
The second thing to look at, and probably the biggest indicator of quality, is the thickness of the “wear layer.”
The wear layer is of course the top of the flooring that will experience wear and tear, and so the coating (of urethane) that is there to protect the pattern and design of the tile itself is critical – essentially the thicker the wear layer, the longer your flooring should last, and the better quality it is likely to be.
Again though, today there is very little between the higher priced and lower priced flooring.
The very top end of the range, the bespoke and made to order Amtico signature range has a wear layer of around 1mm (one millimeter) in thickness, while the standard Amtico Spacia ranges that you’ll find in online and high street retailers is around 0.55mm (just over half a millimeter) in thickness.
This compares to most other types of flooring like Karndean, Polyflor, Natural Stone, etc which tend to have a wear layer of around 0.5mm (exactly half a millimeter) in thickness, so they are practically identical – there is less than 1/20th of a millimeter in thickness between the higher and lower priced products, but the difference in price can be 100% to 200% – which is a heck of a lot!
However, you can find flooring that comes with a much better wear layer than Amtico, but is cheaper, like for example the Polyflor Expona range around CAD 39.99 per m² (excl VAT) and has a layer thickness of 0.7mm, compared to some Amtico ranges at CAD 60 + (incl VAT) per m² at 0.55mm.
So big expensive brands don’t necessarily equate to the best value, and the bottom line is that today’s vinyl flooring is far better quality than in the past, and is pretty much of a muchness across different brands in terms of quality with the exception of the wear layer and the price.
One common question that comes to mind is “where can I buy the best flooring tiles for home in Canada?. Well the only way really to get cheap flooring from any specific brand is to buy old stock that is no longer being produced, and this often means that it is out of fashion as well.
A far better question to ask is “what is a good alternative to the main, “big name” brands?” because then you open up a Pandoras box of a vast array of styles, colours, textures, finishes, ideas, designs, and styles, and this means that you can get the look that you want and get it in a cheaper product that is every bit as good as the more expensive products.