7 Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular option for many homes because it is affordable and durable. However, there are some disadvantages to vinyl plank flooring that you should consider before purchasing.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is appealing due to its durability, easy installation, and water-resistant qualities. These flooring types make an excellent option within your home, especially if you are a family with small children or pets running around. However, there are some cons to vinyl plank flooring. 

Although vinyl plank flooring has exceptional qualities, there are some disadvantages. Vinyl plank flooring has a shorter lifespan than real hardwood floors, is not eco-friendly, is hard to recycle, emits VOC gasses (volatile organic compound), hard to repair, and has inconsistent qualities.

So what exactly does this mean? Today we will be covering every one of these issues that luxury vinyl flooring has and see what options we have available. Here are seven disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring.

1. Vinyl Plank Flooring has a Short Lifespan

Some types of flooring look like real wood and tile. For example, LVT (luxury vinyl tile) or LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring realistically mimics the beauty of natural materials at a fraction of the cost. However, one of the main disadvantages is that it doesn’t last as long.

Vinyl tiles can simulate ceramic tile or natural stone. Vinyl plank floors generally mimic various species of hardwood or distressed wood planks.

Some hardwood flooring can last over a hundred years and are in good shape, given the proper care, whereas vinyl flooring only lasts anywhere between 10 to 20 years. On the contrary, vinyl flooring is known to last longer when your floors are installed correctly, with limited foot traffic, and given the appropriate care.

You might be wondering how to can make vinyl flooring last longer. Here are some pro tips for you to use to ensure the longevity of its lifespan. 

  • Avoid direct sunlight: If your flooring gets too much sun, this means that over time, the design on your floors will eventually fade. Ensure that you cover your flooring with a rug or furniture wherever it has too much sunlight to protect them more. 
  • Use a cleaner suited for vinyl floors: Harsh cleaners can strip away the wear layer over your flooring and make them go bad quickly. Using a vinyl-friendly follower cleaner is a must to ensure a longer lifespan. If you want to take a more natural route, vinegar with soap and water is excellent.
  • Sweep up dirt: Regular sweeping with the broom or dust mop every day goes a long way. 
  • Mop 2-4 times a month: Although you do not need to mop every week, it is still vital to clean a few times a month to ensure it has a longer life. It’s best to routinely use a damp mop with a mild detergent.
  • Clean up spills quickly: Most vinyl planks are waterproof, but it is still essential to clean up the spills immediately after it happens. Wiping your floors promptly will ensure that nothing goes through the cracks in between the planks. 
  • Keep traffic low: If you are in a busy household, vinyl plank flooring can hold up well in high traffic areas. How long the LVP flooring lasts depends on the type of flooring and MIL wear layer you purchase. If you have a busy household, a 20 MIL top layer will last longer than a 6 or 12 MIL product. However, it will cost you more money. 

2. Not Eco-Friendly & Hard to Recycle

In recent years, we have been better at recycling more often worldwide, especially in America. Vinyl flooring is not an environmentally friendly option and is hard to recycle, but you can do it.

These floors are hard to recycle because the material used is out of a product called polyvinyl chloride, or PVC for short, which is used in various objects within your home, such as siding and window frames, pipes, etc. wall coverings.

Vinyl floors are so hard to recycle because PVC contains many harmful additives to maintain the material quality.

Vinyl floors are lovely in a multitude of aspects, as mentioned earlier. However, being made out of PVC would mean that our world will be overpopulated with many hazardous wastes in the coming years.

One of the things that vinyl floor companies can do a better job is to where homeowners can recycle their floors once their lifespan is complete to protect our environment more.

Although there is a rough estimate of 50 to 100 million pounds of vinyl recycled each year, it only represents 10% or less of all recycled plastic and only ⅓ of 1% of PVC building materials every year. If you wish to recycle your floors once finished, check within your region to see any recyclers available near you.

Recycling companies need a steady flow of material to profit, so it is only available in certain areas. 

3. Emits Gasses Into The Air (VOCs)

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are gases that can harm your health in the long run. These gasses are dangerous to the environment and can be hazardous to many people who have respiratory problems. Keeping this in mind, they will only emit for a short time after installation, but it does not change the fact that this issue happens.

When installing new flooring, it’s best to open doors and windows to keep the room well ventilated. If you have severe respiratory issues, consider wearing a mask during installation. Discharge of VOCs should dissipate over a few days.

4. Can Not Be Repaired

Although it is known that we cannot repair a damaged plank, you can always replace vinyl planks. Vinyl planks are softer than wood or tile and can dent under the weight of heavy furniture. Moving heavy items without furniture pads can tear plank boards.

Keeping that in mind, if your flooring has a scratch or two, you can quickly fix it unless it is too deep. Here is how to repair minor surface scratches:

  1. Using dish soap and warm water mixture, clean the floor thoroughly. Use a sponge for deep cleaning. Ensure the entire floor is clean with soap and water, then allow it to dry before anything else.
  1. Gently sand the scratched area with 320 grit sandpaper, then finish it off with 500 grit and 800 grit to ensure a smooth finish.
  1. Please make sure the area is soft and smooth, then wash it with soap and water. Allow air drying. 
  1. Afterward, wax the floor with a buffing agent or car wax. Use a soft cloth to buff the waxed area for a shiny finish. You’ll need to reapply wax to the area every few months as it wears off. 

5. It Can Be Hard To Remove

Vinyl plank flooring is intended to be a floating floor. If you did not glue your vinyl floors down, it is relatively easy to remove. On the other hand, many people wind up gluing their flooring down to ensure they do not accidentally come out of place while moving furniture or something.

If this is the case, the flooring material can be hard to remove, as you will have to carefully pry them out to make sure the plank is still intact. 

6. Sunlight Is Not Vinyl Floors Best Friend

Vinyl plank flooring offers many colors and designs that natural stone and wood do not. However, this comes with a price with overexposure to sunlight.

It is important to note that if you are going to be buying vinyl floors within your home, it is something to consider, as a home that brings in a lot of sunlight may not be the best house to put this kind of floor since your goal is to make them last a while.

On the contrary, if your home does not bring in much sun, putting these floors in your house will be one of the best options you can do, especially if you want to give off the look of having real wood within your home to save money. 

With that in mind, here are just a few preventative ways you can protect your vinyl floors from the sun:

  • Keep your curtains closed during the daytime.
  • Put rugs all over your home, especially where the sun is.
  • Keep large furniture near windows or where the sun will be exposed the most.

7. Inconsistent Qualities Depending On What Brand You Choose

Although many people are happy with vinyl flooring, many customers have been displeased with their products. The reason is entirely dependent on which brand you choose and how many material layers each one has.

Some companies have up to 6 layers, whereas other businesses have only 4. Some floorings even have a coat of UV protection. If you were to get a brand with better reviews than a cheaper vinyl flooring company, it would be best to go with those floorings. Some of the best companies for vinyl floors are:

  • Shaw Floors: This company has many different colors and styles to choose from. They also have a great warranty on their products.
  • Mohawk SolidTech: Many reviewers mention how they love the customer service and how ecstatic they are with the product.
  • COREtec flooring: Being one of the best companies due to its style, durability, looks, and quality, they are also among the most expensive brands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pergo Better Than Vinyl?

Pergo is a laminate flooring product. Laminate flooring is harder and more scratch-resistant than vinyl planks. However, vinyl is waterproof and better suited for wet areas like a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. Both flooring solutions have similar lifespans.

Which is More Expensive Vinyl or Laminate Flooring?

Vinyl and laminate flooring materials are similar in cost. Laminate is a bit cheaper than vinyl, but you still need to buy a vapor barrier pad to go under the laminate. Vinyl plank materials cost $2 to $12 per square foot, whereas laminate flooring costs about $2 to $10 per square foot.

Installing laminate has higher labor costs and requires a saw to cut material. Both can be DIY, but vinyl planking is easier and only needs a utility knife to cut material.

Does Vinyl Plank Thickness Matter?

In most applications, the overall thickness of your vinyl floor is a secondary specification because it has little bearing on durability. The top protective wear layer thickness is what determines how durable the flooring will be. A 20 MIL flooring will last much longer than a 6 MIL flooring.

Thickness has more to do with how much weight the flooring can bear. The thicker the plank the more weight it can withstand. Thickness is important in click-lock flooring because it helps to hold the planks together and reduce movement.

Conclusion

Vinyl flooring has many advantages, such as durability, waterproof qualities, and easy installation. Still, if the cons outweigh the pros, it will be best to get different floorings to suit your needs and the environment better. 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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