They have stunning looks. They are easy to maintain. They are even cheaper. Vinyl flooring solutions – sheets, planks, and stripes, are hard to ignore when decisions for new flooring are being made. But there are some very dark truths about vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring disadvantages are so severe that sometimes they overshadow all of their advantages.
I have been in the real estate business for the last 15 years and I think you should know some certain truths about vinyl flooring before installing one in your house.
Reading this article might help you mitigate the health risks of your family members, prevent you from harming the environment, and even save some money in the long run. In the latter part of the article, I will also answer some common questions about the disadvantages of vinyl flooring.
Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring: Know All The Drawbacks Before Using
I will explain all the drawbacks of vinyl flooring in three categories. Starting with the disadvantages that you may experience as a user:
1. User-End Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring:
No advertisements or paid reviews will tell you about them. But after a few days of starting to use vinyl flooring, you will come to know about these disadvantages of vinyl flooring:
- Growth Of Molds And Mildew:
Vinyl flooring is water-proof. But the joints of their planks or stripes need good sealing to prevent water from getting through them. Sealings of vinyl floors often get broken with furniture movements or any kind of scratches.
Once the sealing is broken, moisture of the air, fluids of any spills, or stranded waters begin to get accumulated under the vinyl flooring. Eventually, molds and mildew grow rapidly under the floor. As you know, molds slowly ruin the flooring.
- Not Cleanable With All Cleaning Agents:
You cannot use abrasive cleaners or detergents to clean vinyl flooring. Otherwise, you will find a dull film on your floor. Neither you can use any solvent-based polishes, ammonia-based cleaning agents, vinegar, or paste wax on your vinyl floors. These traditional cleaning agents eventually cause bucklings and cracks in the floors.
- A Little Dirt Is Enough To Ruin:
While installing vinyl floors, you have to make sure the subfloor is completely clean from specks of dirt. Even if a single granule of dirt is left under a vinyl floor, it will eventually damage the floor.
Vinyl floor materials are made from chemicals. These chemicals tend to react to dirt. The result is bucklings and cracks and total ruin of the floor. Most of the time vinyl floors are installed by DIY users. So, chances of leaving some dirt under the floor are very likely.
- Not Suitable For Heavy Furniture:
If you have heavy furniture and appliances at your house, think twice before installing vinyl floors. All sorts of vinyl flooring get easily scratched with scuffings by furniture movement.
Even installing vinyl floors after the furniture is positioned will not save you. Because your refrigerator, washing machine, kitchen cabinet, or dining table will always need repairs at some point in time. There is no alternative to moving them over your delicate vinyl floors and accepting the harm.
- Not Recommended For Heavy Traffic Area:
If the floor area is exposed to high traffic movement as in a hotel reception or ticket counters, vinyl floors will not last as you wished them to. Likewise, if you have a big family with a lot of kids, be alarmed.
Continuous running and stepping will make the seams of vinyl flooring visible very soon. After that, the total damage to the floor is a matter of time only.
- Difficult To Replace:
If a small area of a vinyl sheet floor is damaged, the whole floor has to be removed and reinstalled. If a single corner of a vinyl plank gets a crack, the whole plank has to be taken out.
In many other flooring solutions with tile structure, it is very easy and inexpensive to repair. Because you only need to replace a single tile.
- Not Good For Kitchen & Washrooms:
Installing vinyl flooring in your kitchen and washroom could make your life miserable after a while. Because in those areas, spills and stranded water is a common thing to happen. Since the sealings of vinyl floors are easy to break.
If you are using a loose-lay vinyl floor in your kitchen, the risk is even higher. The temperature fluctuates randomly in the kitchen by the cooking procedure. Continuous shrinking and expansion of the planks by the fluctuating temperature leave visible gaps in between the planks.
- Lose Of Colors:
One of the main reasons behind your decision to install vinyl floors was their eye-catching colors. But if the floor is exposed to direct sunshine, the color of your vinyl floor will fade away. Stranded water can also take the color away from a vinyl floor.
Another reason for the discoloration of vinyl flooring is interaction with rubbers. Vinyl floor elements are made from chemicals. These chemicals react if anything made of rubber gets in touch with them. The result of the interaction is a permanent stain on your favorite vinyl floor.
- Less Durable:
The easy-to-get scratches, the high risk of growing molds under the floor, and chances of discoloration make vinyl floors less durable compared to other flooring solutions.
That means the overall cost of using a vinyl floor does not remain less than other expensive floorings if you take into account their shorter lives.
- Zero Value Addition:
To many people, spending on your house is a way of investment. As a fixed asset, houses are always valued with their resale price. But if vinyl floors are installed in any house, the new floors do not add any value to the house.
The return on investment (ROI) is zero for installing vinyl floors. Because of their lack of durability, real estate men do not value vinyl floors at all.
2. Health-Related Disadvantages of Vinyl Floors:
There are some major scientifically proven health risks of using vinyl floors in your house. I am explaining those here:
- Health Risks From PVC:
The main element of vinyl flooring is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is a proven cause of cancer and many other diseases. The toxicity of this chemical has made it banned in the USA to be used in children’s toys.
From production to usage and disposition- throughout the whole life, vinyl planks, sheets, and stripes discharge PVC in abundance. For this, health-conscious people avoid vinyl flooring in their homes.
- Health Risks From PBDE:
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are one of the volatile organic compounds that vinyl floorings host in themselves. Getting in touch with these compounds can cause a lot of health problems for children. Some of the probable diseases caused by PBDEs include cancer, obesity, neurodevelopmental delays, and endocrine and thyroid disruption.
Different studies show that having vinyl flooring in the house can increase the presence of PBDE in your body more than six times. Children are seen to have 15 times more phthalate metabolite levels in their urine if they live in a house with vinyl flooring.
3. Environment Related Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring:
Vinyl flooring materials discharge different types of harmful gases during different phases of their lives. These gases are deemed to be a threat to the ecological balance of the world.
- While The Production Of Vinyl Flooring:
Petroleum-based chemicals are used to make vinyl flooring elements. Toxic chemicals like dioxin and polyvinyl chloride are released in the air in abundance in the manufacturing process of vinyl floors. That is why the surrounding air of a vinyl factory is highly polluted.
- While Installation Of Vinyl Flooring:
Vinyl sheets, planks, and stripes discharge more chemicals when they are newly bought. For that, installing new vinyl floors has certain health risks. DIY (Do It Yourself) people love to install their vinyl floors themselves.
This is very risky because in the initial period vinyl floor materials release a lot of phthalates in the air. Phthalates are very dangerous for conceiving mothers.
- While Being Used:
As long as they are being used as floors in your house, vinyl floors will continue to keep releasing harmful chemicals. They do so even more while being cleaned or when they get scratches.
Many vinyl plank flooring uses asbestos as the adhesive. Asbestos is another proven cause of cancer. So repairing a vinyl floor is also dangerous.
- While Being Disposed Of:
Vinyl flooring materials pollute the air the same way they do that while being produced. People living around a vinyl material disposition ground tend to get sick very often.
- Vinyl Flooring On The Ozone Layer:
PVC, the major compound of vinyl materials, is proven to be one of the major contributors to the depletion of the ozone layer in the earth. Through the holes of the ozone layer, harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun get to reach us.
- Vinyl Flooring And Global Warming:
Scientists and environmental activists around the world claim that PVC gas is one of the major reasons for overall global warming. PVC is the main component of vinyl flooring materials. So, by using vinyl elements as your flooring, you will be adding to the process of global warming – the biggest threat for the world today.
5 Chemicals Of Vinyl Floors That Harm Us:
Of all the harmful chemicals of vinyl flooring, 5 chemicals pose bigger risks. There are described below:
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):
This is the main ingredient of vinyl flooring. PVC is already banned in the USA for being used in toys. They cause different kinds of cancer in the human body.
Scientists have claimed that phthalates work as a disruptor to our endocrine system. This can affect the natural development of children. Phthalates also damage our reproductive health and also disturb the metabolism system. They also disturb the hormonal secretion of our nervous system.
Formaldehyde is another chemical of vinyl floors that can cause cancer. It is one of the gases, which are generally known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
To create resistance against scratches on vinyl floors, the chemical urethane is used. It is also toxic. It continues to come off a vinyl floor years after the installation.
To ensure better integrity of vinyl floors, organotins are used in the productions. This is a kind of stabilizer. Experts claim that exposure to this chemical induces irritation in the eye and the skin.
Commonly Asked Questions On Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring:
What Is The Safe Way To Use Vinyl Flooring At Home?
There is no safe way to use vinyl flooring at home. Because no matter what precaution you take, vinyl materials will continue to release harmful chemicals as long as they are being used. Emission of injurious gases is more intense at the beginning of installing the vinyl flooring.
Is Vinyl Flooring Banned?
Due to their hostile activities against nature and humans, an anti-vinyl flooring campaign is gaining momentum all around the world in recent days.
Many of the largest companies of the world, like Honda, Apple Inc., Hewlett Packard, Volkswagen have decided to decrease vinyl materials in their production process.
Governments and policymakers of 170 countries have adopted policies to phase out the use of vinyl entirely.
How Quickly Does Mold Grow Under Loose Lay Vinyl Floors?
In a damp and moist environment under a vinyl floor, where water is accumulated following a leak in the sealing, molds can grow within a day or two.
Along with damaging the flooring, molds also create an unhealthy environment for humans to live in.
Do The Sealings Of Vinyl Floors Break?
The sealings of vinyl floors are prone to be broken. Scuffing of heavy furniture or sudden hit with a heavy object can break the sealing of vinyl floorings. After the sealing is broken, vinyl flooring becomes vulnerable to water and moisture in the air. Anyway, check this article ‘How To Protect Vinyl Flooring From Heavy Furniture?’, it will help you in that case.
Which Cleaning Agents Are Not Allowed To Be Used On Vinyl Floors?
You cannot use most of the typical cleaning agents which are generally used to clean floors. You cannot use detergents, liquid polishes, ammonia-based solutions, abrasive cleaners, and paste wax on a vinyl floor.
The aforementioned cleaning agents have some chemicals in them which are not compatible with the chemicals of vinyl flooring.
Why Do Vinyl Floorings Get Buckled?
Vinyl flooring gets buckled when there is some water under the floor. It means the sealing of the floor around the buckle has been broken and water has passed through the broken seal.
The next step would be cracks in the flooring and finally, the whole floor will have to be reinstalled.
Can You Repair A Vinyl Floor By Sanding It?
In many other flooring systems, you can get rid of the hard stains by simply using a sanding machine. But you cannot sand out vinyl flooring. Because they are completely synthetic products. If you try to use a sanding machine on a vinyl floor, the chemical compounds of the floor will break and the whole floor will be damaged.
How Injurious Vinyl Flooring Is To Your Health?
All types of vinyl flooring release many harmful chemicals in the air. They do it the whole time they are being used. Long-term intake of those harmful chemicals in our bodies can cause cancer, obesity, neurodevelopmental delays, endocrine, and thyroid disruption, and many other diseases.
Is Vinyl Flooring Really Harmful To the Environment?
Vinyl flooring is considered very much harmful to the environment. During its production, usage, and disposition, vinyl flooring releases a lot of harmful chemicals into the air.
These toxic chemicals harm our environment in two ways. Firstly, they contribute to overall global warming- the biggest threat to our existence at the moment. Secondly, they are partially responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer of the earth. However, you can read my detailed article about the effect of Vinyl flooring on the environment by just clicking here.
Is Vinyl Flooring A Good Option?
The answer to your question can be both yes and no. It depends on your budget and personal preferences. If you are conscious about the health of your family and the recent threats to our environment, vinyl flooring by no means can be a good option. If you want to get the flooring done least expensively with all the fashionability, vinyl flooring can be a good option for you.
However, on my site, I have already written articles on the comparison of ‘Vinyl Flooring Vs Engineered Hardwood Flooring, Vinyl Flooring VS Carpet and Vinyl Flooring VS Wooden Flooring’, go and check them out to make a wise decision.
Despite all the disadvantages of vinyl flooring, their average global usage is increasing by 13 percent each year. Now that you know about all the vinyl flooring disadvantages, you can resist its increasing use by spreading the word.