The backings of vinyl flooring are either “flex” vinyl or felt. Felt is used less often. Chemicals added to the backings make them moisture and mold-resistant. It protects the floor from discoloration caused by mildew, mold, or bacterial growth. “Full-spread” installation means that the entire vinyl backing is adhered to the subfloor. “Perimeter” installation means only the perimeter and the seams of the vinyl flooring are adhered to the subfloor.
Vinyl Wear Layers
The wear layer is the clear layer on top of the vinyl flooring. The thicker the layer, the longer it will last and resist damage. The type of wear layer determines how the vinyl floor will maintain its appearance over the years, and how much upkeep is required.
- Inlaid Color: The color and design are built all the way through the vinyl flooring, not just on the surface. Inlaid color vinyl flooring is made from handcrafted stencils. The layers of colors are fused under heat and pressure to produce a solid inlaid vinyl layer. Inlaid color vinyl flooring is heavy and comes only in six-foot widths. It is exceptionally tough and will not lose its design if dented or scraped. It can be repaired, because the color goes all the way to the backing.
- Inlaid Vinyl Flooring: Again the colors are in-laid and fused under heat and pressure. In this vinyl flooring the patterns are created through random placement of vinyl granules, chips, or cubes. This product is also tough and resists damage. This product is moderately expensive. Vinyl comes in either six-foot or twelve-foot widths.
- Rotogravure Vinyl: The designs are etched with acid onto a metal plate. Colors are added to the plate, and a thin vinyl sheet passes between the rollers. The printed sheet is covered with backing and wear layers. An unlimited number and kind of patterns can be accurately produced by this method. This vinyl flooring is lighter than inlaid products, so it is produced in twelve-foot widths and requires fewer seams. It is less durable than the vinyl inlaid products. The pattern may eventually wear off in heavy-traffic lanes.