The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



Why Is Vinyl Flooring So Popular? Should Homeowners Be Concerned?

 May 1, 2023 |  Home Maintenance, DIY, Home Decor, Safety |  floors, new homeowner, first-time-homeowner, real estate

Anyone familiar with the home real estate market has surely experienced the impressive prevalence of vinyl flooring. From the basement to the dining room to the family room and everywhere in between, it can seem impossible to avoid this synthetic flooring option. In fact, it has officially become the most popular flooring option on the market (just behind carpeting).

However, for designers and homebuyers who prefer natural materials, the massive footprint of vinyl in the flooring market is a frustrating turn. After all, vinyl flooring is ultimately just an imitation of the authentic stuff (hardwood, stone, or tile). Other than affordability, is there any benefit to opting for vinyl flooring? To help drill down the real reasons for why vinyl flooring is so popular, let’s look at its potential benefits before discussing its lesser known problems.

What is Vinyl Flooring?
Far from a recent invention, vinyl can trace its history back to a legacy of “resilient flooring,” or flooring materials that were bendable and flexible, which made them much easier to install. In the late 1800s, vinyl was developed and first introduced to the public when incorporated into golf balls, shower curtains, and shoe heels. Vinyl actually wasn’t proposed as an option for flooring until the 1930s.

Marketed and coveted for its versatility and flame-resistant nature, vinyl flooring rapidly grew in popularity, especially as the material was slowly improved upon over the decades by features like cushioned flooring for increased comfort. Today, vinyl flooring can be installed in plank flooring or smaller tile flooring depending on what sort of material is being simulated.

Vinyl flooring has a sizable presence in both the residential and commercial real estate sectors, and its ability to replicate the look and feel of natural materials seems to improve every year. The benefits of vinyl flooring don’t stop there, by any means, though.

What Are The Benefits of Vinyl Flooring?
As previously mentioned, vinyl flooring really cannot be beat when it comes to affordability. According to an article published by Forbes comparing the costs of various flooring types, vinyl flooring was by far the most economical option ($1.50 - $6 per square foot at the time of publishing).

Homebuyers and renovators looking for the most budget-friendly option are naturally drawn to these savings, but vinyl flooring is also designed with DIYers in mind. Rather than paying for professionals to install hardwood flooring, homeowners can save even more by installing vinyl flooring themselves. Vinyl can be installed over pretty much anything, including concrete, hardwood, or even different layers of vinyl.

Vinyl flooring is flame-resistant, waterproof, and incredibly durable with resistances to scratches and scuffs. Thanks to these traits and its low demand on maintenance, families with younger children and pets are even more drawn to vinyl as a flooring material for pretty much any room in the home. Seemingly on every point vinyl flooring looks to be a strong option for homes and commercial properties, so what’s with the detractors? The truth is, as some argue, vinyl flooring might have their own health concerns that remain largely unknown to the general public.

The Problem with Vinyl Flooring
Many homeowners prefer the look and feel of natural materials in their flooring, even though hardwood floors or stone materials are more costly and require more maintenance. However, the reason why some have become a bit more alarmed by vinyl flooring options is due to the discovery that some of its materials may contain toxins.

Healthline Media, a health information publication based out of San Francisco, published an article criticizing flame retardants used in vinyl flooring and furniture due to their association with “...respiratory problems, neurological issues, skin irritation, and cancer.” In addition, a group of chemicals called “phthalates,” which are used to make flooring materials more durable, have been attributed to negatively affect development in young children.

Although there is plenty of dissension and skepticism towards some of these somewhat alarmist health claims, the negative qualities of vinyl flooring may be too quickly overlooked due ease of installation and minimal maintenance needs. Hardwood flooring, tile, and stone material designs can be beautiful and tie a room together in ways that synthetic alternatives just can’t match.

Neglected home maintenance tasks can lead to major problems down the road. Need an update on the condition of your home? Schedule a home maintenance inspection today!

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