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The Bedroom Floors: Pros and Cons of Vinyl Flooring

Whether it takes the form of sheet vinyl, vinyl tiles, or newer luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) tongue-and-groove planks, vinyl is a surprisingly versatile flooring choice for bedrooms. This is no longer a flooring reserved only for bathrooms and kitchens. A wide variety of looks is now available, with luxury vinyl products that are almost indistinguishable from wood, ceramic, or stone. The downsides relate to the fact that vinyl is plastic and, as a result, off-gases chemicals and cannot be recycled.

Pros

Nearly waterproof: Although this is more important in bathrooms and kitchens, the waterproof nature of vinyl may be of value in bedrooms with adjoining en suite bathrooms. The waterproof nature also makes this flooring easy to clean.

Easy maintenance: Bedrooms are relatively low-traffic rooms, and vinyl is easily kept clean by sweeping and occasional damp mopping.

Somewhat soft: Although not as soft as carpeting, vinyl flooring is a second-best choice in rooms where you are concerned about someone falling.

Easy installation: Vinyl flooring, especially tiles and luxury vinyl planks, are relatively easy for DIYers to install.

Inexpensive: According to national averages, sheet vinyl costs about $3 per square foot to install, while luxury vinyl planks average about $7 per square foot, though these costs are much reduced if you install the flooring yourself. This puts vinyl flooring at the low end of costs for recommended bedroom flooring.

Relatively long-lasting: Because bedrooms are relatively low-traffic areas, a good-quality vinyl floor can easily last 10 to 20 years.

Cons

Not a “green” choice: The major drawback to vinyl is that it is relatively bad for the environment. Its production uses non-renewable petroleum resources and it requires considerable energy to manufacture.

May off-gas chemicals: New vinyl installations, especially those that use glue-down application methods, may emit VOCs and hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde for several weeks after they are installed.

Not recyclable: When vinyl flooring reaches the end of its life and is removed, it is probably destined for a landfill, with its synthetic materials likely to last for centuries before breaking down.

The Linoleum Alternative:

Linoleum is the original resilient flooring, made from linseed oil and other natural ingredients. Vinyl flooring was originally a replacement for linoleum, but homeowners concerned about the environmental impact of vinyl flooring have now rediscovered linoleum, which has most of the same virtues as vinyl but is a more environmentally sound choice. Linoleum is slightly more expensive than most types of vinyl flooring, and design choices may be more limited, but it is worth looking into if you are considering a resilient flooring material.

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