Choosing the right vinyl click flooring can seem a daunting and complex task. In making the decision, not only color, pattern, and design play a key role, but also the comparison of products from competing brands and manufacturers, which often differ significantly in price. So how can we compare panels from different manufacturers when all are described as durable and long-lasting in advertising texts, and ads promise that they are the best?
In such a situation, the advice of a seller or installer may be more valuable than reading advertising slogans. However, it should be remembered that their interests are not always aligned with those of the investor. In such a case, we have technical data sheets and standards, which, due to their universality, allow for the comparison of different products.
In this article, we will tackle the most important technical parameters that affect the durability of the floor. This will allow the reader to understand what to pay attention to when choosing vinyl click flooring, so that the decision made is conscious and based on reliable knowledge. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss these parameters in detail and explain how to compare different products to make the right choice.
Thickness of Vinyl Click Flooring: How to Compare Panels from Different Manufacturers
The thickness of vinyl click flooring is one of the key parameters influencing the durability and resilience of the floor. Before making a purchase, it is worth knowing what are the optimal thickness values and what are the potential problems associated with choosing panels that are too thin or too thick.
Vinyl click flooring with a thickness of 4 to 5 mm (without underlay) is most commonly found on the market. This thickness ensures the proper properties of the milled core lock, which affects the stability and durability of the connection between individual panels. When choosing panels with a thickness below 4 mm, it is worth paying attention to the potential risks associated with their use. While they are attractive in price, the tongue milled at such a thickness can break even under small weight. As a result, gaps, cracks, and chipping may appear on the floor, significantly reducing the aesthetics and functionality of the floor.
In turn, vinyl click flooring thicker than 5 mm does not bring additional benefits in terms of durability or resilience. However, it should be remembered that their price may be higher, which should be taken into account when comparing offers from different manufacturers.
Another aspect to consider is that some manufacturers include the thickness of the underlay with the panels. In such a case, it is worth checking the actual thickness of the panel itself in order to compare offers from different companies. When making a decision about purchasing vinyl click flooring, it is worth considering not only their thickness but also other parameters such as the type and quality of the lock, the type of substrate, or the surface texture. Only a comprehensive approach to analyzing offers will allow you to choose the product that best meets your needs and expectations.
Use Classifications of Vinyl Click Flooring: How to Choose the Right Panels for Different Rooms
The use classes of floors are key when choosing the right flooring for different types of rooms. According to the EN 10874 standard, these classes determine the durability, resistance, and expected usage time of the panels, which allows you to better assess their properties before purchase.
Use classes can be divided into two main categories: panels intended for residential spaces and panels intended for public use spaces.
1. Flooring for residential spaces:
Class 21: moderate use, temporary use (e.g., bedroom, guest room). Panels of this class are rarely seen, as they offer lower durability (corresponding to the AC2 wear class).
Class 22: normal use (e.g., living room, dining room, internal corridor). This is the most commonly chosen class of panels for residential spaces, which ensures adequate durability and resilience.
Class 23: heavy use (e.g., staircases, entrance corridor, kitchen). Panels of this class are suitable for rooms with high foot traffic.
2. Flooring for public use spaces:
Class 31: moderate use, temporary use (e.g., hotel rooms, conference rooms, small offices). These panels are suitable for places with medium foot traffic. Class 32: normal use (e.g., kindergartens, offices, waiting rooms, hotel lobbies). These panels correspond to the AC5 wear class and are often used in places with higher foot traffic. Class 33/34: heavy use (e.g., corridors, offices, large retail stores, classrooms). Panels of this type can be used in any type of public use spaces.
It's worth noting that use classes are just one of many aspects to consider when choosing vinyl click flooring. Other important parameters include thickness, type and quality of the lock, type of substrate, or surface texture. However, knowledge about the use classification will facilitate the choice of appropriate panels for specific rooms, according to their intended use and expected durability.
Vinyl Flooring: Glued versus Floating Installation
Vinyl floors can be installed in two different ways: glued to the substrate or installed as a floating floor. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, which are worth considering before making a decision on the appropriate option.
1. Glued Vinyl Flooring:
Quieter: Glued floors are quieter.
Durability: They can be beneficial in commercial, office spaces and on large areas (over 200 m²).
Stability: Glued floors are permanently connected to the substrate, providing greater stability and durability to the floor.
Substrate Requirements: Gluing requires very good substrate preparation, which must be as even as a table. The use of a self-leveling screed is always necessary.
Experience: Installing glued floors requires more experience, which can increase the costs associated with professional installation.
2. Floating Vinyl Click Flooring:
- Easier installation: Installing click floors is simpler and faster, making it more suitable for people with less experience.
- Flexibility: Floating floors can be more easily dismantled and replaced.
- Louder: Click floors can be somewhat louder compared to glued floors, which may be less attractive to some users.
In summary, glued vinyl floors are more suitable for commercial spaces, offices, and large areas, while floating floors are a better choice for apartments or rooms where ease of installation and flexibility are key. The final decision depends on the individual needs and requirements of the user and the specifics of the room where the floor is to be installed. However, it's also worth noting the price difference between these two types of vinyl click floors. Click floors are usually more expensive than glued floors, which can influence the decision on choosing the right type of vinyl flooring installation, especially for larger investments.
Types of Locks and Assembly
Choosing the right locking system is crucial for the stability and ease of installation of vinyl floors. Therefore, it's worth examining the types of locks available on the market, which differ in the way panels are joined and the final aesthetic effect.
- Traditional locks, known as 'angle angle' or 2G, are a solid fastening that requires joining the short sides first, and then the long edges of the panels. Installing this type of lock can be more difficult, especially with large format boards, but with standard sizes and appropriate installer experience, it's a safe and solid option. These locks are the cheapest solution.
- Modern 5G locks, or 'drop down', are much faster and easier solution, ideal for large format boards. The assembly involves inserting the boards into the lock profile on the long side and dropping them down, snapping the lock on the short side. However, careful approach is important during disassembly to avoid damaging the delicate snap elements. 5G type locks are among the most expensive, as their production is the most complicated.
- The 5Gi lock is a variant of the 'fold down' lock, which combines the features of both previously described systems. It requires a knock on the short side, but thanks to the unique fit, it allows for creating different floor patterns, such as herringbone or basket weave. However, it should be remembered that after disassembling this type of locks they often are not suitable for reuse, as the snap elements are physically driven in.
Choosing the right locking system depends on the preferences and experience of the installer, as well as the size and aesthetic requirements of the space where the vinyl floors will be laid. A well-chosen lock will ensure stability, durability, and an excellent visual effect of the floor.
Dimensional Stability of Panels
The dimensional stability of vinyl flooring is a key factor affecting its quality and durability. According to ISO 23999 standard, vinyl flooring manufacturers must meet specific requirements regarding the dimensional stability of their products. The lower the dimensional stability coefficient (expressed in percentages), the better the quality of the floor.
Floors with high dimensional stability are less susceptible to dimension changes caused by temperature fluctuations in rooms. As a result, these floors are less prone to shrinkage and expansion, which enhances their durability and aesthetics. From a visual reception perspective, floors with a better dimensional stability coefficient look better, as a larger area can be laid without the need for additional expansion joints.
High dimensional stability also prevents the floor from lifting due to intense sunlight. Appropriate dimensional stability of vinyl flooring is crucial for its durability, both in residential and commercial spaces. Choosing a floor with the right dimensional stability coefficient guarantees a satisfying visual effect and long-term use without the need for frequent repairs or replacement.
R Parameter: Underfloor Heating
The next paragraph covers underfloor heating and the significance of the R parameter for floors with this type of heating. The R parameter, also known as the thermal resistance coefficient, plays a key role in choosing the right floor panels for use with underfloor heating. Studies related to this parameter are conducted in accordance with EN 12667 standard.
The lower the R parameter, the better the efficiency of underfloor heating. Floors with low thermal resistance conduct heat more efficiently, which means they use less energy and are cheaper to operate. Choosing panels with a low R parameter can save up to 2-3 euros per square meter per heating season.
Therefore, when choosing vinyl flooring for use with underfloor heating, it is worth paying attention to the value of the R parameter. By choosing a panel with appropriately low thermal resistance, we gain more efficient heating, lower operating costs, and comfortable conditions in the rooms. This not only contributes to improving thermal comfort, but also positively affects the environment by reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Additional Factors Influencing the Choice of Panels
In the next paragraph, we will discuss additional factors that should be considered when choosing vinyl panels. Quality certificates, environmental aspects, and manufacturer's warranty are elements that can affect purchase satisfaction and floor durability.
Quality certificates are important because they attest that a product meets rigorous quality standards. When choosing vinyl panels, it is worth paying attention to the presence of certificates such as ISO, CE, or certificates of conformity with European standards.
Environmental aspects also play a significant role. In the era of growing environmental awareness, more and more people pay attention to the impact of products on the environment. By choosing panels made from environmentally friendly materials and produced in a responsible way, we can contribute to the protection of the natural environment.
The manufacturer's warranty is another important aspect that can affect purchase satisfaction. By choosing vinyl panels with a long-term warranty, we can count on the manufacturer's support in case of any problems related to the quality or durability of the product. It is good to check what warranty conditions the manufacturer offers and how long the warranty period lasts.
In conclusion, when choosing vinyl panels, it is worth considering not only technical properties, but also additional factors such as quality certificates, environmental aspects, and the manufacturer's warranty. This will allow us to make an informed choice that will contribute to our satisfaction with the purchase and the durability and comfort of using the floor.
ISO 23999 is an international standard for testing the properties of flexible floors, such as vinyl or linoleum. This standard defines testing methods and requirements for various properties of these materials, which helps in assessing their performance and quality in different applications.
The scope of ISO 23999 includes testing of many properties, such as dimensional stability, bending resistance, tensile strength, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, and reaction to fire. Thanks to this standard, manufacturers of flexible floors must meet certain quality criteria, which gives customers greater confidence in choosing the right product.
ISO 23999 is one of many international standards aimed at ensuring high-quality products and services in the market. In the case of flexible floors, adhering to this standard is crucial for maintaining the durability, functionality, and aesthetics of floors.