Durability, sustainability, versatility are highlighted characteristics
By Jenna Lippin
Volume 26/Number 24; April 15/22, 2013
As flooring products evolve and undergo technologic advances, many consumers are turning to vinyl for both first-time installation and remodel because of the value proposition compared to other surfaces. Organizations such as the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) recommend the product for a number of reasons, while flooring manufacturers are making significant strides with both design and performance.
Allen Cubell, vice present of residential product management at Armstrong, summed up all the benefits resilient offers. “Vinyl today provides the best combination of beauty, performance and installation options—the ‘big three’ features in flooring [all at a value price point]. From a beauty standpoint, design execution has leap-frogged other categories like laminate and ceramic. Those other categories are all playing catch-up with design. From a performance standpoint, vinyl has always won. Now add on all the installation options with glue-down, floating, loose lay, etc., and there’s every reason in the world to install a vinyl floor.”
Aside from the “big three,” resilient features a number of advantages when compared with other materials. Particularly valuable are the benefits with sustainability and compliance with green initiatives.
In terms of recycling, more than 1 billion pounds of vinyl are recycled annually. During the vinyl flooring manufacturing process, most of the scrap (pre-consumer material) is recycled for use in the finished product. More than 99% of all manufactured vinyl compound is recycled into finished vinyl products. In addition, many resilient flooring manufacturers reclaim vinyl from the field (post-consumer material) and recycle it back into their or other vinyl products.
Dean Thompson, president of the RFCI, noted the sustainability values of vinyl, particularly its compliance with important standards within the building industry. “Scientific studies support the long-term health and safety
advantages of vinyl products,” he said. “With the availability of NSF/ANSI 332 Sustainability Standard for Resilient Flooring, we have brought more transparency to the sustainability process. The standard evaluates the entire lifecycle, from raw materials to end of life management. Certification to this comprehensive sustainability standard provides specifiers and purchasers with the highest level of confidence and credibility.”
Many manufacturers add their own “upgrades” to make resilient even more appealing. For example, Mannington cites its vinyl products “offer an excellent value to the consumer,” noted Ed Duncan, senior vice president of marketing. “[Our vinyl] is beautifully styled, durable, easy to clean and maintain, and has a long life. Mannington uses exclusive technologies to achieve these attributes, including a No Yellow Guarantee, as our vinyl floors will never yellow from rubber-backed mats.”
Russ Rogg, president and CEO of Metroflor, highlighted the company’s new LVT product, Aspire, which is a floating, groutable tile. “With it, an installer can float 16 x 16 tiles utilizing a grip-strip system and with a spacer leave a 3mm channel to accept grout. After the tile is laid, the installer simply grouts the floor as he would a traditional ceramic product.”
The RFCI website includes a “7 Reasons” page that highlights seven reasons why resilient flooring is a top choice when deciding which material to install. Why choose resilient? According to the Institute, because it is durable, stylish, sustainable, affordable versatile, unexpected and safe.
The most notable of the 7 Reasons are durability, sustainability and versatility. Vinyl flooring withstands indentations from heavy loads and traffic and many products tout scratch resistance. In terms of sustainability, vinyl helps reduce landfill waste because it does not have to be replaced as often as other flooring materials, plus it is recyclable. Vinyl floors are quite versatile when it comes to design, as a broad selection of styles is available for virtually any environment.