Experts say that vinyl flooring offers some advantages beyond low cost, ease of installation and suitability for wet environments like kitchens and bathrooms. Vinyl flooring is reasonably durable and easily replaced. It's less likely than wood to fade with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. It's non-absorbent and easy to clean. It's not as cold underfoot as stone or tile. And it comes in an almost limitless variety of designs, colors and textures. However, vinyl flooring isn't particularly elegant. You're more likely to need professional help installing sheet vinyl than with small vinyl tile squares, but there will be fewer seams with sheet vinyl. For a similar type of flooring, made of natural materials rather than plastic, reviewers recommend linoleum (*est. $3 to $7 per square foot).
Consumer Reports presents the most comprehensive unbiased coverage available, rating ten vinyl flooring products. However, you'll need a subscription to see the chart. We found good general advice on the website of home-improvement columnist Tim Carter, at Better Homes & Gardens and at retailers Lowes.com and WolfeFlooring.com.
Consumer Reports test 10 vinyl flooring products and rates them according to their ability to resist wear, scratches, dents, stains and sunlight. A subscription is required to view the ratings, however.
Review: Flooring: Green Gets Better, Editors of Consumer Reports, Aug. 2008
Home improvement columnist Tim Carter presents helpful information on vinyl flooring while answering readers' questions. Several articles address installation, types, and common problems with vinyl flooring.
Review: Flooring, Tim Carter
This retailer website offers helpful information on choosing, maintaining, and installing vinyl flooring. There's an especially helpful section on installing sheet vinyl.
Review: What Type of Flooring is Right for Me?, Editors of Lowes.com
4. Better Homes & Gardens
This report describes basic flooring options and includes a very short section on vinyl that mainly highlights the different types without much information on installation or costs.
Review: A Guide to Flooring, Editors of Better Homes and Gardens
5. Better Homes & Gardens
This report offers brief flooring suggestions for heavily trafficked areas. Vinyl is mentioned several times, but there's little information here on installation or cost.
Review: Flooring Ideas for Problem Spots, Editors of Better Homes and Gardens
6. Essential Industries, Inc.
Essential Industries makes resins and polymers for floor finishes. However, this website offers a helpful overview of the general characteristics of vinyl flooring.
Review: Common Flooring Types, Editors of Essential Industries, Inc.
This retailer website sells flooring. It also presents useful information on buying and installing vinyl tile and sheet vinyl.
Review: Flooring Type Comparison, Editors of WolfeFlooring.com
This website offers detailed information on installing and caring for vinyl flooring. The how-to sections include some photos, so it's easier to get an idea of the labor involved.
Review: Flooring, Editors of FlooringGuide.com