Trends come and go. What was popular yesterday is out today. This reality fuels our economy, but also can increase our environmental burden.
There is a recent trend back to vinyl flooring, specifically vinyl flooring that looks like wood planks.
Vinyl flooring is made from synthetic materials and is essentially a plastic. This is different from linoleum which is made from more natural products like linseed oil, cork dust, and wood bi-products.
Both types of flooring are very durable, but vinyl flooring is more waterproof and thereby more suitable for potentially wet environments like kitchens and bathrooms.
A more recent trend in vinyl flooring has been to manufacture it in planks, similar to wood planks. This gives the flooring a much more natural look. In addition, installing vinyl planks is easier than installing sheeted flooring.
If installing over concrete you need to install a vapor barrier first. The planks are laid without any adhesive. If installing over a subfloor you need to make sure that the area is clean. The floor can be installed directly and typically does not need a vapor barrier.
Vinyl planking does not look like real wood. However the plank format, as well as better wood patterns, gives the planks a wood-like appearance that is pleasant so that many people choose to install it where they would have normally installed a traditional wood floor. See photo below.