Stephen Perrera, Owner Of Top Floor Installation Co. and native Tucsonan since 1955 has been in the flooring trade for over thirty-two years. He is licensed, bonded and an insured state of Arizona Flooring Contractor and detailed troubleshooter who performs moisture testing and floor failure analysis, installing a variety of floor coverings. Top
Why Vinyl Plank
I have been getting quite a few calls about vinyl plank. There is a special niche out there for the consumer who either cannot afford a wood or ceramic/stone floor and this type of flooring can deliver it. Whatever look you're thinking of there is one out there, be it bamboo, inlaid patterns and imitated hardwood in every specie or color imaginable.
Besides the excellent variety of design, many people need a floor that is more durable than a laminate or wood floor and that can be subjected to water spills, pet accidents and mud from mud rooms and this type of floor has a more durable surface than the old sheet vinyl floors. A big plus for those clean freaks is you can clean it with your mop and bucket without being afraid of damaging the core material like you can with a laminate or hardwood floor. Costs can vary from under a dollar a square foot to as much as a high-end laminate.
In my recent ramblings around the southwestern part of the country I have seen them popping up in hotels, elevators, and retail stores have had them for several years now. Some of them are manufactured so well even I have to take a second look.
Over in Taos at a historic Inn I was staying at I would have sworn the floor was a finely done 4 inch, square edge Ash hardwood floor. While drinking my morning coffee I spotted the cleaning crew slop mopping the floor. I was stunned and took a closer look at a corner near the wall that was not covered with trim. I was fooled! Usually an installer like myself can spot a faux hardwood floor a mile away.
There are vinyl planks being manufactured for any application you can imagine. There is your old style peel & stick. This is perhaps the least expensive style of vinyl plank out there and easiest to repair. No glue, just make sure the substrate you're going over is smooth and primer it. This type does not like dust.
Other types of vinyl planks have pre-glued edges. There is a click vinyl plank as well as planks you can glue with a wet-set adhesive or a two-part epoxy adhesive, the latter not recommended for the DIY'R as those adhesives have a very difficult learning curve. The latest is a vinyl click plank over a HDF core like your laminate flooring.
One of the first vinyl planks I installed was the Konecto plank with pre-glued edges. This was for a Dog Whisperer person, like the one on TV. He always has other peoples pets around and needed something that could hold up to pet accidents and be easy to maintain. I did his entire house in a tile-like look. When I saw him a year later he said it still looked great and he loves it. Just do not try going backwards with it unless you absolutely have to.
The most recent was a peel & stick for a woman who likes to adopt stray animals. She has seven cats and four dogs. She had torn out her carpet and was living on concrete as it got so bad with one dog being incontinent. The product cost 60 cents a square foot. I even demo'd ceramic tile in her kitchen to make it flow better through the house.
Installation methods can vary as much as the styles themselves. The floating products need a gap around the perimeter and undercut door casings and vertical obstructions like pipes. I would suggest leaving a slight gap with the heavier grades of plank as well. Finishing off with trim always looks nice.
As always, check the manufacturer's requirements for floor prep, moisture testing, climate control and expansion gap. In addition, definitely do not fill any expansion gap with caulking as it will lock the floor in and not allow it to move. This could cause buckling and panelization (gapping seams) of the pre-glued planks.
If you are in need of a floor or consultation on vinyl floors, an inspection of a vinyl floor having issues or any other floor please contact me.
Edited by Admin 4/2/2012
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