Use this 3 part SimpleSpecs™ specification section to specify vinyl, linoleum, and rubber resilient sheet flooring.
Various types of resilient floors are available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Consult with a reputable flooring manufacturer to determine the best product for each project.
Seams can be heat or chemically welded to provide a continuous, non-absorptive surface.
Vinyl and linoleum sheets can be installed with integral wall bases. A cove strip is placed at the wall/floor junction and the flooring is run up the wall to the required height, providing an uninterrupted surface without joints. The top of the sheet base is then covered with a cap strip or other trim.
Sheet vinyl flooring is vinyl flooring that comes in large, continuous, flexible sheets. A vinyl sheet floor is completely impermeable to water, unlike vinyl floor tile, which comes in stiff tiles, and vinyl planks, which come in interlocking strips. It is sometimes called linoleum after a similar product of different (linseed oil) chemical composition.
Vinyl flooring is extensively used because it is water-impervious, fairly durable, adjustably resilient and insulating, easy to install, available with a variety of appearances, and inexpensive. Custom-print vinyl sheet flooring may cost an order of magnitude more, if ordered commercially.
The manufacture of polyvinyl chloride involves polymerizing vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen and has other negative health effects. Its escape into the environment is a concern. Other ingredients in vinyl flooring vary widely, and some are harmful.
The thickness of the sheet and the wear layer determines the durability of the floor; unlike linoleum, vinyl flooring is usually not homogenous, and once it wears through the print layer, it will be obviously damaged. Thinner floors may also tear. While it is possible to wax or otherwise resurface vinyl floors, it is not often done.
Vinyl floors can be recycled, but currently almost never are. They are landfilled rather than used as raw materials in a closed loop. Vinyl floor’s life cycle environmental impact is worse than that of linoleum.
Linoleum is made from dried and milled flax seeds mixed with other plant material (pine resins, wood flour, ground cork) with a jute backing, all completely natural materials which come from renewable sources and are 100% biodegradable. All by products and waste is milled and used. Linoleum does not fade, as the pigments are embedded in the structure. It is anti-static, repelling dirt, dust and other small particles, making it hypoallergenic – for this reason it is often used by people with respiratory issues (asthma, allergies). It is also fire-resistant and does not require additional fire-retardants finish.
Rubber flooring used to be made from a rubber tree, a 100% renewable resource. Today styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), a general-purpose synthetic rubber, produced from a copolymer of styrene and butadiene is used for “rubber flooring” It is easy to install and maintain, is anti-static and provides effective sound insulation and vibration reduction. Rubber flooring is also resistant to fading and cigarette burns. Most rubber flooring is made from synthetic rubber, which is not a sustainable product.
Related SimpleSpecs™ master specifications: