Vinyl plank flooring is a relatively new and popular choice among homeowners due to its water-resistant properties, affordability, and ease of installation. This type of flooring mimics the look of hardwood floors, but with added benefits such as being more resistant to scratches and dents. It’s made up of several layers, including a wear layer on top that protects against wear and tear.
One of the main reasons vinyl plank flooring has become so popular is due to its versatility. It can be installed in almost any room in the house, even in areas with high moisture levels like bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl planks come in various sizes, colors, and designs that can match any décor style, which further contributes to their popularity.
However, investing in any new flooring for your home can be a significant expense. A frequent question we hear from prospective buyers is in regards to the lifespan of their floors, specifically “how long will vinyl plank flooring last?”
There are several factors that can affect the lifespan of your vinyl plank flooring, and we’ll dive into them in this article!
The Average Lifespan of Vinyl Plank Flooring
While it’s true that vinyl plank flooring is often praised for its durability and resilience, it’s important to remember that it’s not invincible. The lifespan of your vinyl plank flooring will depend on various factors that can affect its performance and appearance over time.
Generally, industry standards suggest that vinyl plank flooring can last anywhere from 15-25 years. However, it’s crucial to understand that this range is not set in stone, and the actual lifespan of your vinyl plank flooring may fluctuate based on factors like the quality of the material (thickness of wear layer for example), the quality of the installation job, and especially the care and maintenance you give your floor as a homeowner.
If you purchase vinyl plank flooring with a thicker wear layer, you hire a reputable and highly skilled installation team, and follow the best maintenance practices, it is not unreasonable to say you may get even longer than 25 years out of your flooring.
On the other hand, purchasing thin wear layer planks combined with a shoddy install and improper maintenance may not get even 10 years.
Let’s take a closer look at these factors.
Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Quality and thickness of the wear layer
When it comes to vinyl plank flooring, quality matters. If you opt for a cheap, low-quality product with a thin wear layer, chances are it won’t last very long.
The wear layer is what protects the surface of the flooring from scratches, dents, and other forms of damage. Therefore, it’s important to choose a vinyl plank flooring product with a thick and high-quality wear layer that can withstand everyday wear and tear.
Installation method and subfloor preparation
The installation process plays a crucial role in determining how long your vinyl plank flooring will last. Improper installation techniques or failure to properly prepare the subfloor can lead to premature damage or failure.
Make sure you carefully follow manufacturer instructions for installation if taking on a DIY project, or hire experienced professionals if necessary. Additionally, subfloor preparation is just as important as installation methods.
Any imperfections or moisture issues in the subfloor can compromise the integrity of your flooring over time. Always ensure that your subfloor is strong, leveled, and free from any moisture issues before installing vinyl plank flooring.
Maintenance and cleaning routine
Maintenance plays an important role in extending the lifespan of your vinyl plank flooring. Neglecting regular cleaning and maintenance can lead to premature wear and tear. It’s important to develop a regular cleaning routine that includes gentle cleaning agents and avoiding harsh chemicals.
Additionally, take care to avoid excessive moisture during cleaning, as it can seep through the seams of the flooring and cause damage over time. By taking care of your vinyl plank flooring, you can extend its lifespan significantly.
Signs That it’s Time to Replace Your Vinyl Plank Flooring
Visible wear and tear on the surface layer
When it comes to vinyl plank flooring, wear and tear can be a telltale sign that it’s time to replace your flooring. The surface layer of vinyl plank flooring is designed to protect the underlying layers from damage. However, if the surface layer has worn away, then the layers underneath will be exposed to potential damage from water, scratches, and other hazards.
If you notice that your vinyl plank flooring has visible wear and tear such as fading, dents or scratches in the surface layer then it may be time for replacement. While small scratches can often be fixed with a little elbow grease or DIY repair kits, extensive damage or large areas of wear indicate that replacing your vinyl plank flooring is inevitable.
Loose or warped planks due to subfloor issues or water damage
Another sign that indicates it may be time to replace your vinyl plank flooring is if there are loose or warped planks. Loose planks can occur due to inadequate adhesive application during installation (if glued down) while warped planks are typically caused by exposure to moisture over time. It’s important not to ignore these signs as they could lead to further problems such as mold growth or structural issues in your home due to water infiltration.
If you notice any loose or warped planks in your vinyl plank flooring, replacement may be needed soon.
The lifespan of vinyl plank flooring can vary widely depending on quality, installation, maintenance, and environmental factors. Higher-quality materials with thicker wear layers can last up to 20 years or more with proper care.
Investing in high-quality vinyl plank flooring is a smart choice for homeowners who want a long-lasting, attractive floor that requires minimal upkeep. With proper installation and care, vinyl plank flooring can provide many years to decades of reliable performance without the need for expensive repairs or replacements.
While it may be tempting to choose cheaper options with thinner wear layers or lower-quality materials, these choices are likely to result in shorter lifespans and ultimately higher costs over time. Overall, choosing vinyl plank flooring with a focus on quality and durability is an investment in your home that will pay off for years to come.