Vinyl flooring is immensely popular for kitchens thanks to its resilience, beauty, low cost and water-resistant properties. Whether you’re renovating your home or want to fix worn-out laminate flooring, vinyl is a pocket-friendly choice.
Available in both sheets and tiles, it’s neither as soft as carpet nor as hard as stone. Additionally, vinyl floors are usually finished with a clear ‘wear layer’, which works as a protective coating. They can be easily installed on top of your existing floor, without the hassle of pulling the original off.
But vinyl flooring has its downsides, especially in the kitchen. Let’s look at the pros and cons so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.
Vinyl Flooring for Kitchens – Pros and Cons
Your kitchen is probably the most used (and abused) place in your home. It’s where your family gathers for meals and your children come in search of snacks. From food stains and spills to heavy foot traffic and dropped utensils, kitchen floors have to endure a lot.
So, it’s important to choose a flooring material that doesn’t just look good but can also handle cooking mishaps, spills and scratches. Moisture and temperature fluctuations are common problems that kitchen flooring has to endure. Not all flooring can practically do so. Is vinyl a suitable option? Keep reading to find your answer.
The Pros of Vinyl Flooring
- It’s Water-Resistant
Unlike hardwood which absorbs moisture and causes warping, cupping and mould to form, vinyl is non-porous, meaning its surface is resistant to spills, splashes and stains. Vinyl or PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride), is the perfect flooring option for damp areas like the kitchen, bathroom, basement and laundry room.
- It’s Comfortable
Vinyl floors have a thin foam or felt backing layer that cushions your feet and joints. This makes vinyl an ideal surface to stand on when spending hours in the kitchen. Another advantage of this cushioning effect is that glass objects are less likely to break when dropped. Vinyl floors also insulate your home to help keep it warm in winter.
- It’s Stain-Resistant
There are two types of vinyl tiles and sheets – inlay and rotogravure.
The inlay variety features a uniform colour right through the vinyl sheet or tile; this uniformity helps make any scratches less apparent. The rotogravure style features a thin layer of vinyl on top of a base and a clear ‘wear layer’ that’s resistant to spills and stains. It also protects the printed design layer from damage by foot traffic.
- It’s Easy to Clean and Maintain
Since dust, dirt and allergens sit on the surface of vinyl flooring, all you need to do is gently sweep them away and give it a dry mop. For thorough, intensive cleaning, use a steam cleaner (never a wet mop). Avoid waxes, detergents, abrasive scrubs, solvents, scouring pads and ammonia, as all are harsh agents that can dull and damage vinyl flooring. Instead, use either approved vinyl floor cleaners to remove stains or make a homemade cleaning solution of one cup of white vinegar and a gallon of warm water. Add a few drops of mineral oil for extra shine.
Vinyl’s easy-to-clean properties make it perfect for high-traffic areas like the kitchen, where spills and other messes are common.
- You Can Choose Realistic Visuals
Vinyl floors come in a range of colours and designs that replicate natural stone, concrete and even hardwood. If you prefer a certain flooring design, pattern or colour scheme but your budget is tight, vinyl allows you to have the same look at a much lower cost.
The Cons of Vinyl Flooring
- It’s Susceptible to Damage
Vinyl floors are durable but not so much as hardwood, tile or natural stone. This puts them at risk of damage from sharp objects like screws and knives. Even sliding a heavy metal chair across vinyl flooring can cause deep scratches and dents. It can also get damaged if the subfloor isn’t smooth. Even dust particles trapped under vinyl sheets can cause bumps to appear on the surface, which can wear out over time.
- It’s Difficult to Repair or Take Out
In case of severe damage, like multiple dents or deep scratches, you can either completely replace your floor or patch the affected area. However, cutting the patch to match the existing pattern lines is difficult. Moreover, once the vinyl sheets’ adhesive backing glues to the floorboards, they’re difficult to remove. Only a skilled flooring craftsman can help you with this.
- It’s Susceptible to Chemical Stains
While vinyl is usually resistant to stains, it’s subject to discoloration when exposed to rubber. Mats with a rubber backing and rubber shoes that scuff the floor can cause a chemical reaction that can permanently stain it.
- It Has Ecological Waste Issues
Since the production of vinyl consumes non-renewable natural resources such as petroleum and natural gas, it doesn’t naturally decompose. It is also rarely recycled, which means that old, damaged vinyl floors often end up in landfills.
- There Is the Risk of VOC Emission
The PVC in a newly-installed vinyl floor can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and may also give off a slight odour.
As with any flooring material, vinyl isn’t perfect. While it’s comfortable and stain-resistant on the one hand, it’s susceptible to damage from sharp objects and difficult to repair on the other. Weigh the benefits against the drawbacks and then decide whether vinyl flooring is the right choice for your kitchen.