Frequently asked questions about vinyl sheet flooring, vinyl plank flooring and (VCT) vinyl tiles

What is a steel trowel finish?

Concrete sub-floors must be cured and completely dry. The surface must be steel trowelled to a smooth dense surface free of trowel marks and irregularities.
For a very smooth finish, you would use a steel trowel after the concrete has become quite stiff, you would not have a textured finish, which is often applied to attain some degree of non-slip for example in areas such as driveways.

Can you lay vinyl sheet, vinyl plank or vinyl tiles on a wooden floor?

Yes. New timber floors should be rigid, sound and constructed of seasoned timber and free from excessive cupping warping other wise this will affect the appearance of the vinyl as well as the way in which the vinyl bonds to the floor.

What does plasticization mean?

All vinyls have plasticisers in them. Plasticisers are used in vinyl flooring products to soften the material and improve its flexibility. Common plasticisers used in vinyl are oils; mineral oil and hydrocarbon oil (petroleum based).

When these plasticisers leech out – or ‘migrate’ – from the vinyl into the adhesive, they can send the adhesive soft and break down its holding power.

Essentially nothing sticks to oil

. The usual reason for this is that the wrong multi-purpose adhesives has been used instead of for example 2007 adhesive. You need to use adhesives that have been recommended by the vinyl manufacturer.

What about moisture in the concrete?

Water proofing additives and curing compounds can be added but this is not the ideal situation, and is not a measure that is recommended lightly, but can be overcome with applying moisture barrier protection

What is homogeneous vinyl?

The homogeneous vinyl sheet flooring is made up of a SINGLE POUR OF PVC/PVA; this allows the entire thickness of the flooring to be used as a wear layer.

Some manufacturers claim that their vinyl is a homogeneous when in fact it is made up of layers.

It is available in a wide range of chip designs, marbled and directional patters, and plain colours. This vinyl sheet flooring is more suitable t areas where there is high traffic, where the environment requires non-slip vinyl.

Because the composition of the vinyl is al the way through, if you scratch the floor you are not likely to see it, as the wear layer is all the way through

How noisy is vinyl when you walk on it?

No, vinyl is not noisy and is soft underfoot and quiet to walk on, unlike ceramic tiles, or laminated wood. Often vinyl will withstand a cup being dropped on it !

How strong is vinyl flooring?

Vinyl flooring is a man made product, designed to replicate other materials you might consider to use as flooring, but can’t due to their suitability.
Vinyl floors are very strong, stronger than their natural equivalents because they are made to withstand cracks, chips, scratches and things being dropped. This means vinyl flooring is very durable, you can’t get that sort of durability from a ceramic or stone floor.

What is coving up the wall mean?

Coving is the process of turning up a sheet at the perimeter to provide a continuous surface between the floor and wall, or floor and other vertical surfaces.

Australian Standard 1884 describes three types of cove:

  • preformed
  • border
  • and pencil cove.

Preformed cove

When a cove former or fillet is used to support the sheet at the floor and wall junction, the cove is called preformed, since the amount of curve is set by the fillet piece.

When a cove former or fillet is used to support the sheet at the floor and wall junction, the cove is called preformed, since the amount of curve is set by the fillet piece.

Border cove-Feather edge skirting – Flat skirting

A border cove uses a separate piece of sheet material which is joined at the floor to the field material.
The border piece can be the same colour as the field material or a contrasting feature colour.

Pencil cove

Vinyl sheets with good flexibility can be installed with a pencil cove.
The field material is flashed up the wall, in the same way as with preformed coving, but there is no cove fillet involved.
Instead, the material is simply pushed into the junction between the wall and floor with a stair tool.

AS 1884 specifies that the radius of the curve for a pencil cove must be a maximum of 5 mm. To help achieve this tight radius, the material is warmed with a heat gun to make it more flexible.

Cove fillet is the best because the vinyl is glued to the cove fillet and then up the wall.

Pencil coving can be tricky, as you still take the vinyl up the wall, but essentially there is a gap (air) behind the curve of the vinyl. If people use cheap vinyl it will crack where the floor meets the wall vinyl which is usually taken up 100mm or 150mm.

We have installed both without problems. If the vinyl has a lot of PVC in it then it is easy to pencil cove; if the vinyl has a lot of recycled content (That’s the fashion at the moment ) then there is a potential for the cove to crack where the wall meets the floor.

What is Heterogeneous vinyl sheet?

Heterogeneous vinyl sheet flooring is made up of a number of layers. This multiple-layer construction creates design prints with a variety of effects, including highly realistic wood-effect designs.
The issue with vinyl sheet flooring that is heterogeneous is that the wear layer can be 0.3, 0.55 or 0.75 mm. This means that it does not have the same robustness and scratch resistance as homogeneous vinyl sheet flooring

What is meant by a wear layer?

The protective top layer (also called a wear layer) is important to the durability of the product. Various products come in different gauges (thickness) and wear layers for vinyl plank flooring.
Some vinyl flooring planks are 2mm gauge, 2,5mm gauge, 3mm gauge, 3.5mm.

The wear layer which is effectively the photographic layer which is protected by the polyurethane layer can be 0.2mm, 0.25mm, 0.3mm, 0.35mm 0.55mm

Vinyl plank flooring expands and contract as they are made out of PVC; expansion and contraction in temperatures has no effect on the planks when installed.

What about moisture in the concrete?

Water proofing additives and curing compounds can be added , but this is not the best solution; the best solution is a dry floor. The most common method we use is to apply a moisture barrier protection-coating. There are several available on the market; generally two coats are applied, and they require time to dry.