A Trend We Love: Vinyl Flooring

New Groove: Vinyl Floors Are Back!

First vinyl records made a comeback, now floors. See how, where and when to use this durable, easy-to-clean material

Forget everything you think you know about vinyl floors from the kitchens of decades past. Vinyl flooring is back and better than ever. It’s durable and easy to clean, and it comes in a vast array of colors and patterns. This often undervalued material deserves a second chance to become part of any contemporary home. Here’s why.

Water-resistant and easy to clean, vinyl flooring is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens.

Water-resistant and easy to clean, vinyl flooring is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens.

Vinyl Stands Up to Use and Abuse

Vinyl is one of the most resilient flooring products on the market. It’s easy to sweep and mop up, and won’t scuff or ding easily. This makes it a popular choice for entryways, mudrooms and other areas that need frequent cleaning. Sheet installations with no real grout grooves means no place for dirt and grime to catch on, so the floor can stay virtually pristine.

Vinyl is also a great choice for laundry rooms and other spaces where there’s a risk of water or chemical spills, which could soak into other flooring materials with more disastrous results. Vinyl’s lack of moisture absorption prevents mildew and mold and, consequently, musty odors.

Many varieties of LVT (luxury vinyl tile) mimic the look of wood, with only a fraction of the price tag.  

Many varieties of LVT (luxury vinyl tile) mimic the look of wood, with only a fraction of the price tag.  

Vinyl Mimics Other Materials at a Fraction of the Cost

Like laminate tile, vinyl can be created in any sort of colorway or print, meaning it can be printed to appear like exotic wood or stone tiles that might be too expensive for your project — and it requires much less maintenance.

For example, in this kitchen the vinyl flooring has the look of a dramatic cork floor, but with much less upkeep than a true cork floor, and likely at a significantly lower price per square foot.

Sheet laminate does not always effectively simulate wood planks (make sure to see a large sample of whatever product you’re considering to check the quality), but it does well as a simulation for products like cork that also come in larger sheets or seamless installations.

Vinyl Creates Fascinating Looks

While it can simulate the look of other materials, vinyl is perhaps even better when creating a statement all its own. 

For example, this vinyl flooring is somewhat inspired by a carpeting weave, but ultimately it creates its own contemporary effect with its intricate patterning. It’s durable enough to survive on a staircase, but beautiful enough to be used anywhere.

This textural kitchen floor looks a bit like charcoal-stained exotic wood, or an architectural concrete, but it isn’t trying to look exactly like either. Ultimately it has its own interesting look that works wonders for a contemporary kitchen with some personality

Vinyl Looks Great in Dramatic Patterns

The fact that it often comes in large sheets doesn’t mean you have to install vinyl as a single piece. Whether you use sheet or tile, combining multiple shades in interesting patterns can personalize the look without adding too much to the material cost.

Tip: For a patterned floor that won’t overwhelm you, try a palette of charcoal gray, warm taupe and white or slightly off-white.

Vinyl Can Add Retro Charm

What says diner more than a black-and-white checkerboard floor in classic vinyl? This pattern and material are meant for each other. Use the combo in any style of kitchen to add a hint of retro appeal without the room’s looking like the set of a period film.

Vinyl Can Be Applied on Top of Old Floors

Want a floor makeover without a full remodel? Adhesive vinyl tile can be placed on top of tiles (leaving the grout exposed for a more realistic effect), or laid over smooth floors to give them a new look for just a few hundred dollars, in a very doable DIY project.