What to Think About When Choosing New Flooring

Subfloor Condition

Before you install new flooring, you must first prepare the subfloor. Aside from validating the warranty, preparing the subfloor sets the stage for a better, more precise final look. If the subfloor is made of concrete, inspect it carefully: Most likely, you’ll find cracks, divots and uneven spots. If the subfloor is made of wood, you’ll often find joint unevenness, raised or depressed fastener heads and plywood knot holes. Remove these irregularities. Otherwise, the new flooring will show them. Should the subfloor be less than perfect, certain floorings options hide imperfections. For example, a rigid core SPC product, like Sound-Tec, masks unevenness in the subfloor by “floating” over the surface rather than sticking to it. Sound-Tec conceals minor imperfections by smoothing over them. Its rigid core eliminates any “wavy” look. On the other hand, glue down luxury vinyl tile (LVT), telegraphs imperfections in the subfloor. After installation, this flooring will show the unevenness of the surface underneath. For a perfect finish, fill in divots, holes and low spots in the subfloor by using Portland cement-based floor patches that bring the subfloor up to a flat, level surface. While preparing a subfloor is important, it can be costly. So it’s a good idea to choose a rigid core click/floating floor, designed to float over the top of the existing flooring. In general, rigid core products cost more per foot, but your total installation costs might be less compared to an extensive floor demolition with a less costly floor covering option.

Installation Setting

What dictates the type of flooring you should install? One, the installation site. Two, the intended use of the floor. As you decide on the right flooring product, keep the following in mind:

How much foot traffic is expected?

Vinyl flooring comes with a wear layer designed on the surface. Measured in “mils,” wear layer thickness varies. A thicker wear layer withstands more foot traffic. In general, 8 mil wear layers are rated for residential use, while 20 mil wear layers are rated for commercial applications.

Will the flooring be for commercial or residential use?

Commercial areas with a lot of foot traffic require a more permanently fixed solution. Glue down LVT is a good choice. It’s “locked down” to the subfloor for a superior base of support.

Are rolling loads common on the access floor?

GlueDown LVT does a better job of withstanding pressure from equipment on wheels, like hospital beds, mail carts, and office chairs.

Will heavy furniture be placed on the floor?

Flooring could break down if heavy furniture locks it down to the subfloor. For example, Click/Floating floors need to expand and contract based on atmospheric conditions, like room temperature and humidity.

Will pets scamper on the floor?

Pet claws scratch and scuff. So, you might want to look into flooring with thicker wear layers, which give better protection compared to thinner ones.
All three vinyl flooring options, including GlueDown LVT, Click/Floating Floor and LooseLay Flooring can be installed below grade (basement level), on grade (ground level), and above grade (second floor or higher). Waterproof vinyl products can also be installed in wet areas, like bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, as well as in commercial spaces.