By Steve Cooper
Suppose you’ve got a floor problem in a guest bathroom. The current look is very mid-1980s—not your style. And the subfloor seems to have been installed by contractor who didn’t own a level. Time for a change, but what’s best the best choice for a contemporary look on a tight budget?
The answer used to be traditional sheet vinyl, which was felt-backed and fairly rigid. But for many the better choice is now fiberglass-backed vinyl. This newer flooring will give you enticing color and design choices, is nicely cushioned (as your feet will notice), and is moderately priced. The biggest advantage, however, is that in many situations, you can probably put the floor in yourself and save big.
Traditional sheet vinyl needs to be glued to the floor, which is a job best to left to professionals. Also, vinyl made the traditional way resists flattening out after it comes off rollers, making large installations difficult for the inexperienced.
When vinyl is backed by flexible fiberglass, it is almost like a rug. It goes down flat and stays put. Though it can be glued in place, permanent installation isn’t required. A fiberglass vinyl floor can simply be cut to size, placed over the old floor, and held in place with tape around the perimeter.
Because installation is a relatively easy task in many rooms, fiberglass vinyl has proven a huge hit in the marketplace. While it may not be first choice for every room in the house, it is an excellent pick for bathrooms, laundry rooms, small kitchens and utility rooms. It’s been a real discovery for renters, because they can pick their own design, then take it along when they move.
Cutting the sheet for a small rectangle is probably within most homeowners’ abilities. Professional installation may be required for rooms with complicated perimeters, which makes cutout a challenge. Also, because vinyl comes in 12-foot sheets, there must be a seam in larger rooms. Seams are also a job for the pros.
Image: Mannington’s Sobella™ – Colorado Forest
For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.