floor basics

The Basics: What is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl sheet flooring debuted as a waterproof alternative to linoleum back in the 1940s. That’s the material you probably remember from your grandma’s kitchen or from your childhood bathroom. 

Vinyl plank flooring, on the other hand, is something totally different. It’s a high-tech, multi-layer material that usually resembles a wood plank (though it can mimic anything). 

But instead of being made of wood, it’s primarily made of—you guessed it—vinyl. Have you heard of PVC (polyvinyl chloride)? It’s the same thing. Good ol’ plastic! Vinyl plank is just a more technical term for PVC flooring.

What is Vinyl Plank Flooring Made Of?

Most commonly, vinyl plank is made of three layers. From the bottom, they are:

  1. core or base layer that provides structure.
  2. design layer that looks (and feels) just like wood, plank, or just about anything else.
  3. A transparent wear layer that protects the plank from damage.

Some vinyl plank products are rigid, some are flexible, and some of the best vinyl plank brands include additions in their wear layers for extra protection or attached underlayments for enhanced underfoot feel. 

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