Vinyl Formats

Vinyl flooring comes in two formats: sheet and tile.

Both vinyl sheet and vinyl tile are made from the same material; they differ in size, how they are prepared and packaged and the way they are installed. Vinyl tile continues to be easier to install and repair than vinyl sheet, but new developments in vinyl sheet installation are closing the gap. Installation and repair should not influence your choice of sheet or tile.

When choosing between sheet or tile formats, the most important issue is the look of the floor. If you prefer a highly patterned design, vinyl sheet may be a better choice. For a checkerboard pattern, vinyl tile may be perfect. The Home Depot's flooring experts can guide you in these decisions.

Vinyl Sheet

Vinyl sheet comes in rolls either six feet or 12 feet wide, with each roll containing a single sheet of vinyl. The sheet is rolled flat and cut to match the shape of the floor it will cover.

When the floor is too large for one sheet to cover, a second sheet must be added. Where the two sheets meet, the gap will be visible as a thin line or seam. Except for such seams, vinyl sheet floors are smooth, continuous flows of a visual design or pattern.

Vinyl sheet is available in a huge selection of colors and patterns. It is easy to maintain, and frequently used in kitchens and bathrooms.

Types of Vinyl Sheet

Vinyl sheet comes in three types, each designed for a different method of installation:

  • Felt-backed
  • Vinyl-backed
  • Modified loose-lay

Felt-backed - The most common type of vinyl sheet is felt-backed, which is constructed with a layer of felt added to the back of the vinyl sheet. The felt layer adds strength and cushioning to the vinyl sheet. Felt-backed vinyl sheets are installed by covering the entire floor with adhesive.

Vinyl-backed - Vinyl-backed vinyl sheets are installed by gluing the vinyl sheet to the floor only at the edges. Vinyl-backed is the least common format for vinyl sheet and is usually recommended for professional installation only.

Modified loose-lay - A third type of vinyl sheet, modified loose-lay, is constructed with a layer of fiberglass backing that provides greater strength and stability to the vinyl sheet than either felt or vinyl backings. Modified loose-lay vinyl sheets are installed without adhesives. Double-sided tape is used to secure the vinyl sheet under appliances and at doors.

Of the three types of vinyl sheets, modified loose-lay products are the easiest to install.

While fiberglass backing adds greater stability than either felt or vinyl backings, all vinyl sheet formats, including modified loose-lay, are sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature. To avoid floor buckling, manufacturer's installation guidelines should be closely followed.

Vinyl Tile

Vinyl tile usually comes in 12-inch squares (12" x 12") with an adhesive backing. For installation, tiles are laid out one at a time in one of several patterns to create an attractive floor. A finished vinyl tile floor looks very different from a vinyl sheet floor, which has few lines or seams. The regular pattern of lines in a vinyl tile floor is an important part of its design.

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