Vinyl flooring – everything you need to know about buying, fitting and cleaning

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  • This fabulous choice of flooring is great for adding personality to a space

    Vinyl flooring is hard wearing, durable and easy to lay. It is also much softer and warmer underfoot compared to stone and ceramic tiles, more forgiving with dropped crockery and a breeze to keep clean. No wonder it’s enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

    Not sure what type of floor you want? Kitchen flooring – everything you need to know

    And unlike the vinyl flooring of old, you’re no longer limited in terms of colours and patterns. There’s now an enormous range of 
modern, trend-led designs available, from wood effects to retro patterns.

    If you’re considering vinyl flooring for a kitchen, bathroom or beyond, here’s everything you need to know.

    What is vinyl flooring made from?

    After IH Feb p112 Short kitchen makeover

    The core material is a man-made synthetic called polyvinyl chloride resin. Vinyl flooring once contained harmful volatile ingredients that, understandably, put homeowners off, but now it’s totally safe and can even be recycled.

    Should I choose tiles or sheet vinyl?

    Kitchen flooring

    Image credit: Oliver Gordon

    Sheet vinyl comes in one piece and tends to be cheaper, although the new breed of custom-printed sheet vinyl (try Zazous or Atrafloor) is costlier but worth it. Standard rolls come in 2-4m widths, so you may need to put up with a join in larger rooms.

    Vinyl tiles (like the above) are rigid, and come in packs – some offer super-easy stick-on installation. Luxury vinyl tiles are the top-end option, costing from £40sq m. They offer excellent rigidity as well 
as insulation, sound absorption and 
work well with underfloor heating.

    How do I know a vinyl floor is good quality?

    Thickness is a good indication of quality, for both sheet and tiled vinyl. Cheap sheet vinyl starts at 1.1mm thick, which will make it easy to fit but not very long-lasting. Aim for 3.5mm upwards.

    ‘For extra piece of mind, seek out vinyl flooring that comes with a decent warranty,’ advises Mark Findlay of Harvey Maria. ‘At least 10 years, preferably more, is good.’

    Where should I buy vinyl flooring?


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    For accurate measuring, Carpetright stocks a wide range of vinyl and offers free home consultations. This including professional measuring 
so you can buy with confidence.

    Quick-Step’s patented Uniclic Multifit system couldn’t be easier to install. Using a special tongue-and-groove system, the vinyl planks are laid with a single ‘click’, with no need for adhesive.

    B&M’s self-adhesive vinyl tiles start from just £3.99sq m, so there’s no excuse not to give that downstairs loo a refresh! For something funky, check out the Bewley Vinyl, shown above.

    In store only: Bewley vinyl flooring, £39.99 for a 2 x 3m sheet, B&M

    How do I fit a vinyl floor myself?

    Sheet vinyl can be cut with a Stanley knife and is pretty easy to fit in a standard room. Vinyl tiles are installed similarly to ceramic tiles and many come with click-
fit edges. Versions that don’t require wet adhesive are cleaner and quicker.

    For all vinyl, preparing a flat subfloor is essential. A levelling compound or decent underlay is worth the expense. There are plenty of step-by-step fitting tutorials on YouTube.

    How to I clean a vinyl floor?


    Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    Enjoy this makeover with vinyl… Before and after: a dramatic fire prompted a dream kitchen makeover in grey and green

    Cleaning is straightforward, with 
a vacuum and an occasional mop. Buy  vinyl-safe floor cleaner – nothing abrasive. It can stain if spills are left to puddle so wipe them up straight away.

    Heavy furniture can create indentations in vinyl so use felt or rubber covers on chairs and casters. Never drag heavy furniture across vinyl as it may scratch or dent the floor.

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