What Is Vinyl Flooring? The Pros and Cons of Vinyl For Your Home’s Flooring System

Choosing the right floor system for your new or existing home can be a headache if you are looking to install something durable and cost-effective. Luckily, you’re no longer in Ancient Egypt, where they used natural stone in the pyramids. Although stone lasts a lifetime, it’s not practical for comfortable modern homes, but in many cases, luxury vinyl flooring is.

While there are many floor systems to choose from, most people tend to opt for something that provides safety and longevity. It’s also important to remember that choosing the right flooring depends on the purpose of a space, such as whether it’s for a family home or a professional office. Do you have high-traffic areas where you hope to install something super durable? Or do you live alone and just want something high-quality but affordable?

It is one of the most common choices for both homes and commercial properties, but what is vinyl flooring? The best person to ask is always a local handyman. In this blog, you can get answers to all the frequently asked questions, such as “what is luxury vinyl flooring”, and “should I consider it?”

What Is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

When vinyl was first invented in the 1930s, it quickly became a popular choice for home interiors because it was a more affordable option than hardwood. It is entirely plastic, constructed from PVC, which is considered a synthetic material. You can easily manipulate its looks with a photographic layer that can resemble natural wood, stone or ceramic.

When it first became common, it mostly came as thin sheets that were laid out across entire surfaces. The more modern varieties come in the form of tiles, or planks, and are often called LVT/LVP— luxury vinyl tile/plank—to distinguish them from their older counterparts.

While it can mimic anything your heart desires, it doesn't have the same qualities as those materials. Still, the modern varieties are durable and affordable and can be a resilient flooring option for the right home. At this point, you might ask: “what is vinyl flooring good for?” It’s best to learn about the different types and styles before you get to the pros and cons.

Types of Vinyl Flooring

There are two main types—sheet and tile. Both have different installation requirements, and sheets are generally more difficult to repair.

  • Sheet Vinyl: This type of flooring comes in large, flexible sheets. The standard roll is 12 feet wide and depending on your needs, you might have to cut a seam. Installation involves cutting the large sheet down to size and securing it in place with a special adhesive.

  • Luxury Vinyl Tile/Plank: These come in tile shapes of nine or 12 square inches, designed to mimic real tiles. But there is also a style that comes in plank shapes of 7 inches by about 48 inches. The more high-end vinyl plank designs tend to simulate wood or stone. Installation for LVT/LVP differs based on the style you choose, but it generally involves locking together planks or sticking tiles into place.


Like every surface, floors require a protective layer, no matter what material. This type of installation has two main finishes that will protect your material and give it the shine that you’ve been looking for.

  • No Wax Finish - Vinyl does not need a wax finish as the manufacturer would have already applied a clear acrylic (or urethane) finish. Urethane provides the necessary durability to withstand high foot traffic.

  • Enhanced Urethane - Some more advanced urethane finishes highly resist scratches and stains and require less maintenance.

Nailing Down the Pros and Cons of Luxury Vinyl Flooring

There are many reasons to choose vinyl floors for your home, whether you are looking to replace the current flooring in your older home or you are a young professional looking to upgrade your new apartment by installing vinyl tiles or planks. If you are still on the brink of making the right decision, knowing the pros and cons might help.

Vinyl Pros

Low Cost:

Vinyl is generally less expensive than hardwood and other traditional materials. Those costs don't include labor costs, but since installation is not as complex as others, many DIY professionals install their floors themselves to save on labour costs. That easy installation also often provides savings for professional installation too.

Easy Installation

Unlike hardwood installation, you don’t need nails or staples. Vinyl tiles have a peel and stick backing, enabling you to apply it to your ready-to-go subfloor that can be concrete, hardwood or plywood. Planks use a locking system that is also equally convenient when compared to other methods of installation.


There really isn't much that you need to do other than sweeping and using a light cleaner to mop. Most luxury vinyl flooring shines clean after a simple clean, and it’s high durability prevents scratches and other issues.

Vinyl Cons

Low-Quality Sheets

Sheet varieties are highly susceptible to cracks and rips when not careful. Unfortunately, you cannot refinish old vinyl sheets and might have to replace the affected area, if not the entire installation.

Sensitive to Sunlight

While the material is designed to resist sunlight, it may fade when exposed to high heat or direct sunlight for long periods of time, so it may not be the best choice for areas that get lots of light during the summer.

Not Environmentally Friendly

Because it’s a synthetic material, vinyl has a more negative environmental impact than other natural materials. It does not decompose naturally, and it is usually not possible to recycle it. It’s also known to produce toxic chemicals when burned.

Repairing Vinyl Flooring

Having a healthy flooring system is crucial, which is why homeowners take floor repairs seriously, whether it’s fixing a crack or installing a new system, your floor serves as part of your house’s foundation and base. Everyone needs safe and solid ground to stand on.

Sometimes, you can perform a patch repair for minor damage in sheets using a spare sheet that you will have to cut accordingly to replace the old one. Use powder filler (water-based latex filler) to apply the new sheet.

For more advanced types of repair, your local handyman company has home repair professionals with all the tools to suit your needs, and can offer high-quality work for all kinds of vinyl flooring repair and replacement. Whether you need small fixes or an entire tear-out and replacement, you can rely on your handyman to do it right the first time.

Key Differences Between Vinyl and Laminate:

It might be difficult to differentiate the two sometimes—not only do they look the same, but they also have similar costs. However, they are not the same. The key difference between vinyl and laminate flooring is the material’s origin.

Vinyl Vs. Laminate Flooring

Vinyl is 100 percent synthetic—both sheet and tile types are made of PVC and bonded with fibreglass on the base layer. The next layer is the design layer, either printed or embossed on the sheet. When that’s done, a final wear layer is added that includes polyurethane, which is the finishing material that protects the sheets. As both planks and tiles, it’s quite thin—normally under half an inch.

Laminate bears a great resemblance to luxury vinyl tile, but it’s manufacturing process does involve the use of some natural materials; it’s composed of a wood core bonded with resin and a top wear layer made of plastic. Laminate is slightly thicker than LVT and LVP, averaging around half an inch, but it could be slightly thinner than that.

What Do I Choose?

Since laminate is more flexible in terms of design choices and also enables direct image transfers, it might win the best award for aesthetics. Still, vinyl resists heat and water more efficiently, which is a quality that some homeowners prefer. Having said that, it’s also important to remember that poor installation could lead to poor results, whether you picked a high-quality product for vinyl or laminate.

While laminate is more susceptible to water damage and can bubble and swell almost right away, loose seams and unsecured mouldings around vinyl could lead to water getting in contact with your subfloor and cause damage that way. In terms of resilient flooring, vinyl falls more into that category because overall, it’s easier to maintain and sturdy enough to serve high traffic areas, even in commercial environments. They are both easy to clean with barely any water or cleaner.

If laminate and vinyl are your main options but can’t decide how to pick the right one for each room, here’s a recommendation:

Laminate - Living room, dining room, bedroom, study room

Vinyl - All the above, plus kitchen, bathroom, basement and laundry room

You could potentially install laminate in the kitchen as well if you’re confident it won’t be exposed to too much moisture—but that can be hard to guarantee! If you have a finished basement that's well-maintained, vinyl could add a nice flair to it. The same applies to unfinished or partly finished basements. For any areas prone to moisture buildup, you definitely want to avoid laminate.

If budget and functionality are your top priorities, there is not much difference between these two options, and you can successfully make use of both with the exception of your bathroom. Neither will affect your home’s resale value as long as they are high quality products that are taken care of with proper installation and maintenance.

Whichever you choose, you should weigh your options carefully. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, it’s important to take your floor system into consideration. If you want to keep it the same, have an expert inspect its condition before making any definite decision.

Other Alternatives to Vinyl

While some homeowners prefer natural and durable materials like hardwood, others are on a budget and want something more cost-effective yet robust enough to withstand medium traffic or impact. If you are still unsure about LVT after knowing the pros and cons, you may want to consider the alternatives.


This type is one of the top four choices for floor installations. Back in the day, hardwood flooring boards were narrower than modern hardwood floor installations. Nowadays, there are many options available. It’s important to take steps to ensure extra protection and durability when installing floor underlayment and subfloors for hardwood. Once properly installed and well-maintained, it can last up to 30 years or longer, including six to seven additional sanding and refinishing processes. Some hardwood floors have a polyurethane finish to ensure effective moisture resistance, whereas other surface finishes include oil sealing, hard-wax oil, acid curing or aluminum oxide. Engineered hardwood floors are also a desirable, less expensive option that often comes prefinished.


Tile didn’t become popular in North America until settlers started to make use of it in the late 1700s. The evolution of tile is characterized by the many types and trends that have revolutionized the way people design their homes nowadays. Different tile types have other qualities that suit different needs, from ceramic to porcelain or stone to marble.


Although carpet is often considered old-fashioned and inappropriate for modern homes, it still exists in many family homes and serves a decent purpose because it’s comfortable and soft. It’s inexpensive, quiet and easy to install. A routine carpet cleaning service will keep it in shape. The only downside is that it’s not suitable for people with allergies, and it can also create problems for households with pets.

What is Vinyl Flooring—More FAQs:

Your local handyman professionals have answered your questions:

How Do I Best Protect My Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

It’s crucial that you use a high-quality sealer or finishing to protect the surface. Other than that, we recommend homeowners purchase rugs with backing made from natural fibre like cotton. If you have furniture, placing a rug underneath will further increase protection—handwoven rugs without backing work just as well.

Which is Cheaper, Traditional Tile or Luxury Vinyl?

Vinyl is definitely more cost-effective and less labour intensive. Traditional tile installation requires lots of measuring, cutting and grouting, where you need to plan your tiling structure and install it carefully. Modern luxury vinyl flooring significantly cuts down on those installation requirements. While porcelain and ceramic tiles are common for floors in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas, they also aren’t cheap materials. LVT/LVP is often a more affordable choice for many installations.

What is the Healthiest Flooring?

Any solid structure is healthy in terms of having no allergens, which is safest for asthma-prone homeowners. Otherwise, solid hardwood that’s installed without glue is the least toxic option as it has no formaldehyde. (Also: bamboo, glass tiles, ceramic and porcelain.)

Ready for Your Luxury Vinyl Floor? Call Your Local Pros at Mr. Handyman If You Have Any Questions!

Are you planning a kitchen remodel, or do you simply want to update your floors? You can trust the floor installation experts at Mr. Handyman to provide high quality workmanship and customer service. Let them enhance your flooring experience and give you the best advice to make your home more appealing, comfortable, and livable!

Schedule an appointment or call now to find out more about professional flooring installation.