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Vinyl Floor Installation Cost Guide
Updated: January 5, 2023
If you are looking for a low-cost, durable, and easy-to-install flooring material, vinyl might be the best fit for your project. Vinyl flooring comes in a range of colors, styles, and patterns. It is water-resistant and can be installed in any room of the house, including kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. It can be floated over concrete or glued down onto your choice of substrate. Vinyl flooring is so popular that it is one of the fastest-growing flooring industries at this time, with projected market growth rates of 8.75% by 2029. Because vinyl is made of petroleum, petroleum cost volatility could impact the cost of vinyl flooring in 2023 and beyond. Costs spiked briefly in 2022 but steadily dropped again, overall remaining even. This is likely to be the case in 2023 as well unless petroleum has a big enough sustained increase in costs to impact the production of the flooring.
Vinyl flooring has an enormous cost range. The national average cost range is $600 to $2,000, with most people paying around $1,400 to professionally install 200 sq.ft. of premium-grade vinyl plank click-lock flooring. This project’s low cost is $400 for 200 sq.ft. of installed glue-down sheet vinyl. The high cost is $2,800 to install 200 sq.ft. of luxury vinyl tile floated over an uneven substrate.
Vinyl Flooring Cost
|Vinyl Flooring Installation Prices|
|National average cost||$1,400|
Vinyl Flooring Cost per Square Foot
Vinyl flooring comes in a wide range of thicknesses, finishes, styles, shapes, and installation methods, resulting in a wide cost range. Most people today use either luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or luxury vinyl planks (LVP) for their homes, but there are other materials to consider, such as sheet vinyl and older glue-down tiles. At the low end, sheet vinyl costs $1 a square foot, while high-end materials with stone or wood cores and long-wearing top layers cost up to $12 a sq.ft. Installed, expect to pay between $2 and $18 a sq.ft., depending on the type. Below are the average material costs for vinyl flooring based on the most commonly sized installations.
|Size||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|100 sq.ft.||$100 - $1,200|
|200 sq.ft.||$200 - $2,400|
|300 sq.ft.||$300 - $3,600|
|500 sq.ft.||$500 - $6,000|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$1,000 - $12,000|
Cost of Vinyl Flooring by Type
Vinyl flooring comes in several types, which influences both its appearance and how it is installed. This also impacts your project’s cost in material and installation. Within each type, you can find several variations in terms of thickness, quality, and style. The lowest cost option is sheet, which is made of large pieces that come in rolls or large sheets. The most expensive is luxury - thicker flooring that has a more realistic-looking texture and appearance, which is more comfortable underfoot and long-lasting. It has different options for color, style, and installation, impacting your total costs. Below are the average costs for different flooring types.
|Type||Costs per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Sheet||$1 - $2|
|VCT||$1 - $4|
|LVT||$1.50 - $12|
|LVP||$1.50 - $12|
|Plank||$2 - $7|
Vinyl Flooring Sheets
Vinyl sheet flooring costs $1 to $2 a sq.ft. It is one of the least expensive materials for floors. It comes in rolls or pre-cut sheets that are 6’ or 12’ wide. Depending on the type, it may be glued down completely or just around the edges. It is seamless and your best choice for wet areas like bathrooms. Because this material is so thin, it needs an absolutely thin, smooth, and level subfloor. Otherwise, there can be imperfections in its surface after installation.
Vinyl Composite Tile Flooring
VCT costs between $1 and $4 a sq.ft. for the material. VCT is made up of several layers and designed for durability. Tiles can be glued down with adhesive backs, or some styles can be click-locked together for a floating floor. These tiles come in several sizes, patterns, and thicknesses. Thicker tiles are more durable and longer-wearing than thinner tiles and more expensive. This material can be installed anywhere, and since it has a very waterproof adhesive backing, it is good for basements and bathrooms. Keep in mind that the longer this material is glued down, the harder it is to get it up, making replacements difficult.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
LVT averages $1.50 to $12 a sq.ft. LVT is a high-quality floor. It is thicker than normal vinyl, with embossed patterns and more realistic stone or wood looks. It has a thicker wear layer on top, typically made of urethane. Your floor will continue to look better for longer, outlasting standard floors by several years. This long-wearing flooring is a good choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens, hallways, and mudrooms. Depending on the material’s quality, some may be waterproof and good for basements and bathrooms, but others may not, so you need to pay attention.
Luxury Vinyl Plank
The cost of LVP ranges from $1.50 to $12 a sq.ft. for the material. It is a higher-quality flooring material. This is a thicker plank with a long-wearing top layer. It has a more realistic-looking wood-grain appearance that can make your floor look like natural hardwood. It click-locks together in installation and can be floated over any substrate. Like LVT, this material is very durable and works well in high-traffic areas, including kitchens, hallways, and rec rooms. The higher-quality planks are more waterproof and can also be used in very wet areas like bathrooms without issue.
Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl plank flooring costs $2 to $7 a sq.ft. These planks may start out thicker in many cases than LVP, meaning they can have a higher starting cost. However, they tend not to have as many styles or options, accounting for their lower upper-cost range. Like tiles, planks come in several thicknesses, with thicker materials being more expensive but also easier to install. Planks are designed to click together in a floating floor, and very thin planks are hard to install in this manner, which can dramatically increase your installation costs. The planks are water-resistant, good for floating over concrete, and can have a wood grain that appears very natural. Thicker planks are more durable, so you can install them in higher-traffic areas, while thinner planks are best suited to low-traffic spaces like bathrooms.
Vinyl Flooring Price by Thickness
Vinyl flooring comes in several different thicknesses, ranging from 2 mm to slightly more than 8 mm. The thicker the vinyl, the more durable it is and the less likely it is to dent, split, or show imperfections in the subfloor. Thicker vinyl is also likely to have a thicker wear layer, usually measured in mil - one mm is around 40 mil. Luxury vinyl has a wear layer of up to 40 mil and a total thickness of up to 8 mm, with the lowest levels for homes being around 12 to 20 mil and 4.5 to 6 mm in total thickness. Very thin vinyl is generally under 4 mm and 4 to 8 mil on the top layer. This is recommended only for very low-traffic areas because it does not wear well. Keep the top layer thickness in mind when you purchase vinyl because there is no one-to-one correlation between thickness and the top layer. You may find thicker planks with a thinner top layer and a thinner plank with a thicker top layer. Therefore, there can be a fairly wide range of costs associated with the plank thickness. Below are the average costs of vinyl flooring based on the vinyl thickness.
|Thickness||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|2 - 4 mm||$1 - $3|
|4.5 - 6 mm||$1.50 - $7|
|7 - 8.5 mm||$5 - $12|
Average Cost of Vinyl Flooring by Type of Backing
All sheet vinyl has a backing, and that backing material changes the installation process. There are two main backing types: felt and fiberglass. They make an attractive, durable floor, but they change how your floor is installed and how easy it is to remove. Felt-backing is older and a more traditional style. Adhesive is applied to the entire backside of the sheet before it is rolled in place with very high pressure. This makes it difficult and time-consuming to install and expensive to remove. The adhesive grows stronger with age, so the longer it is down, the more difficult it is to remove. It should not be used below grade.
Fiberglass-backed vinyl is newer and more readily available than felt-backed. It is only glued down on the edges, making it faster and easier to install and remove. However, because there is no adhesive in the center, it may warp or buckle in the middle of the floor with age, so it does not tend to last as long. Below are the average costs per square foot for both sheet vinyl flooring types.
|Backing||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Felt||$1 - $1.50|
|Fiberglass||$1 - $2|
Vinyl Flooring Price by Pattern
The color or pattern on your vinyl flooring is created in two ways. It can be printed or inlaid through the top coating of the tile. Both provide realistic-looking, high-quality designs, but there are some differences you need to understand to make sure you get the right floor.
Printed vinyl flooring is available as sheet flooring, standard planks, and VCT. The pattern is a thin layer on top with a layer of urethane over it. This gives the material a smoother finish that is not quite as long-wearing or durable. Inlaid designs are thicker and have a more realistic texture. They are available on LVT and LVP floors and a few higher-end standard planks or VCT floors. The pattern or color layer is up to 40 mil in thickness, so it will wear longer than a printed vinyl floor. You generally have more options for colors and patterns in inlaid than printed, although several printed options are available for each flooring type. Below are the average costs per square foot for the different types.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Printed||$1 - $5|
|Inlaid||$5 - $12|
Average Cost of Vinyl Flooring by Core Type
Luxury and standard planks can be made of solid vinyl all the way through. But luxury vinyl may also have different cores, impacting how the flooring feels and performs long-term. These can include a stone polymer core (SPC) and a wood polymer core (WPC). In each case, a different material is mixed with the vinyl to change how the plank reacts. For example, wood polymer core planks are softer and springier underfoot. Stone polymer core planks are harder underfoot but are much more durable. The appearance of the material will not change, however, because it is only the center of the flooring that is impacted. Having a different core to your vinyl can impact its cost, feel, and durability. Below are the average costs for SPC and WPC flooring.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|SPC||$3.50 - $7|
|WPC||$4 - $12|
SPC Vinyl Flooring
SPC flooring is slightly less costly than WPC, running between $3.50 and $7 per sq.ft. It is most often used by homeowners looking to mimic the look of natural wood or stone at a much lower price. It is highly durable and ideal for high-traffic areas and commercial flooring. The stone plastic composite core is virtually indestructible, allowing it to stand the test of time. These floors are very durable and completely waterproof, so you can install them in wet areas like basements and bathrooms. They can be floated over any substrate if it is level.
WPC Vinyl Flooring
WPC flooring costs between $4 and $12 per sq.ft. for materials only. WPC has a vinyl surface with a wood-plastic composite core. The core is solid, durable, and waterproof and will not run the risk of rippling or warping. The layer comes in a wide range of designs and is covered by a wear layer that protects it against scuffs and scratches. WPC is dense and ideal for uneven subfloors. It is waterproof, meaning you can install it in wet areas. It is slightly softer underfoot, so many people prefer it over SPC in rooms like kitchens. It can be floated over any substrate.
Vinyl Flooring Prices by Brand
There are many brands and manufacturers of vinyl flooring. Some specialize in one type, while others are known for specific patterns or styles. Your installer may recommend certain brands over others, mostly for an easier installation. However, most brands have several options for type, thickness, and style. Shaw, Armstrong, Tarkett, and Stainmaster tend to have the lowest cost options, with Armstrong, Tarkett, and Stainmaster also offering some very high-end materials. This can make Tarkett vinyl flooring prices and Armstrong vinyl flooring prices comparable with Shaw’s low end, but higher than the cost of Shaw vinyl plank flooring for their luxury planks.
Mohawk, Karndean, and COREtec are all good middle-of-the-road brands in terms of cost and quality. They do not offer very low-cost and low-quality materials, but they also do not offer very high-end or high-quality materials either. Most of their materials are moderately durable and long-wearing. Mannington vinyl flooring tends to be a little higher-end. They also have lines of non-VOC floors, a bonus for people wanting to eliminate VOCs from their homes. This makes the cost of COREtec vinyl flooring and Karndean vinyl flooring costs considerably lower than Mannington vinyl flooring costs. Below are the average costs per square foot for some of the most popular brands.
|Brand||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Shaw||$1 - $6|
|Armstrong||$1 - $12|
|Tarkett||$1 - $13|
|Stainmaster||$1 - $15|
|Mohawk||$2 - $5|
|Karndean||$2 - $6|
|COREtec||$3 - $5|
|Mannington||$4 - $10|
Labor Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring by Type
Vinyl is generally a fairly easy material to install, regardless of whether you are putting down sheets or planks. Installation costs typically range between $1 and $6 a sq.ft., depending on the type and how it is installed. Although, most installation costs range from $2 to $3 a sq.ft. for the most commonly installed materials. For installers who charge by the hour, expect costs to fall between $30 and $50 an hour for installation. Different styles may be installed differently, impacting the total costs. In addition, thin planks and felt-backed sheet vinyl are both more time-consuming and difficult to install. These materials tend to be less expensive, leading some people to choose them, thinking they are getting a bargain. This is often not the case because installation costs outweigh any potential savings. Most vinyl can be floated over any existing substrate, making it a good choice for encapsulating old floors. Only very thin vinyl needs a level substrate, and your installer can generally let you know if the substrate is an issue when they give you an estimate. Below are the average labor costs and total costs to install vinyl flooring based on the type of flooring.
|Type||Costs per Sq.Ft. (Labor Only)||Costs per Sq.Ft. (Total)|
|Plank||$1 - $4||$3 - $11|
|LVT||$1.50 - $6||$3 - $18|
|LVP||$1.50 - $6||$3 - $18|
|Sheet||$2 - $5||$3 - $7|
|VCT||$2 - $5||$3 - $9|
Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring by Style
Vinyl is so versatile and popular because it can take on the look and feel of natural materials at a fraction of the cost. Expect to pay between $1.50 and $12 per sq.ft. for the material, depending on the style. There are two basic ways you can style your vinyl floor. One is to choose the look of the material, usually marble, stone, slate, metallic, or wood-look material. These all come in a wide cost range depending on the material’s thickness. So, vinyl wood flooring costs range enormously, depending on whether it is a standard plank or luxury material with a stone or wood core.
The other way to style your flooring is to purchase it in a pattern. Patterns come in two types. One is where the planks or tiles are ready to install in a specific pattern, meaning they are cut and arranged for the best installation of that pattern. This includes plank patterns that give a more realistic wood look with better color variation and herringbone patterns, where the planks are already cut to the right sizes. Geometric patterns are a little different. These are printed in repeating shapes and patterns. You need to install the tiles in the right direction or pattern to see the repeating results. Because of how they are packaged, you sometimes need to purchase extra to ensure the pattern runs properly around the room’s edges. Below are the average costs per square foot for the different vinyl flooring styles.
|Style||Costs per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Marble Look||$1.50 - $10|
|Stone Look||$1.50 - $12|
|Slate Look||$1.50 - $12|
|Metallic Look||$1.50 - $12|
|Wood Look||$1.50 - $12|
|Herringbone Pattern||$4 - $8.50|
|Geometric Pattern||$5 - $10|
|Plank Pattern||$5 - $10|
Cost to Replace Vinyl Flooring
If you have an existing vinyl floor and want to replace it with something newer, your old flooring needs to be removed first. If this is a floating floor or fiberglass-backed floor, expect to pay roughly $1 to $2 a square foot extra in material removal costs.
If you have an old adhesive vinyl floor, either felt-backed sheet or a glued-down vinyl tile, be prepared for a few things. One, glued-down tiles from before the 1980s may contain asbestos. If your floors are dark in color or the adhesive is black, it is more likely to contain asbestos. It needs to be tested before removal.
In addition, the adhesive used on these floors grows stronger with age. The longer the floor has been down, the harder it is to get it back up. Sometimes, special equipment is needed, and often the subfloor has to be repaired after the floor is up. If this is the case, a new subfloor costs around $1,500. Expect costs closer to $5 to $10 a square foot to get up a very old floor, and your costs may go even higher if asbestos is present.
Cost to Replace Carpet With Vinyl
If you have carpet in your home, you may want to consider replacing it with one of the many vinyl flooring options. Carpet is not ideal for many homes and rooms because it does not stand up to much wear and tear. More plush carpets become worn down, making tracks in high traffic areas. It can be challenging to completely remove stains, especially those made by pets. Carpet can be problematic when water damage occurs since it is absorbent. Major water damage on the carpet can lead9 to mold and mildew and will likely have to be thrown away.
Vinyl flooring provides a more modern look than carpet, and it can stand up to stains, water, and high traffic. When replacing your current carpet with vinyl flooring, expect to pay between $1 and $1.50 per sq.ft. to have your carpet removed and $2 to $18 per sq.ft. to install the vinyl flooring. For a 200 sq.ft. room, this makes the cost $600 to $3,900, depending on the vinyl type. When replacing carpet due to water damage, you may need to have the area inspected for mold before replacing it, costing $500 on average.
Cost of Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring
Some flooring installers recommend underlayment beneath the floor, especially when using a thinner vinyl and you want to reduce noise. Thicker floors do not require an underlayment, especially when floating them. Underlayments are designed to make the floor comfortable to walk on, reduce echoes, improve structural stability, and the subfloor’s feel underneath. Underlayment costs approximately $0.50 per sq.ft., and using it can increase the cost of labor by another $1 a sq.ft. To avoid buckling or warps, use a thin underlayment.
How to Measure for Vinyl Flooring
When ordering the floor yourself and not having the company install it, you need to measure the floor accurately to ensure you purchase enough material. To measure your floor and determine how much vinyl flooring you will need involves determining the square footage of your area and including any extra spaces, such as closets. It may be easiest to start by breaking the area down into smaller square or rectangular sections if the space is large or has different angles. This is also a good practice for measuring closets and hallways.
Once you have your sections, take the length and width of the section and multiply them. Since you will measure in inches, the result will be the total number of square inches. To get square feet, divide the final number by 144. After doing this for all sections, add them together and round up to the nearest whole number. Take that number and multiply it by 1.10. This will give you the amount of square footage you need for space, taking into account 10% waste.
Preparing a Subfloor for Vinyl Flooring
Before installing your vinyl flooring, your professional will prep your floor so that the vinyl will be smooth, adhere well, and create the right look. When installing flooring, your professional will start with either a concrete or wood subfloor. The first step with both subfloor types is checking for moisture.
If you are installing it over concrete, the installer will thoroughly clean the floor and check to ensure it is level. If there are low spots, they will fill them in and sand 4 them down so that they are smooth. They will then remove any debris to make sure they are starting with a clean/dry floor.
If you have a wood subfloor, the installer will likely check to see if it is level or needs repairs. In some cases, they may install ¼” of plywood 3 over the area to start with a smooth, even surface. Once any repairs are made, they will thoroughly clean and dry the area before installing the new floor.
Pros and Cons
Vinyl floors are becoming increasingly popular in modern homes, due to the various finishes and textures available. They can have the appearance of wood or tile, so it is suitable for any room in the house. Another benefit is the cost. It is significantly cheaper than hardwood or tile and easier to install. This material is low-maintenance, does not require special cleaners, and is water-resistant. Vinyl does not last as long as tile or wood (10-20 years on average), and if you are trying to be environmentally conscious, remember vinyl is a product of the petroleum industry. Moreover, this material is also hard to remove as the adhesive hardens, making the glue difficult to remove.
Vinyl flooring maintenance improves the look of your flooring and helps extend the life of it. Start by keeping dirt and debris off your floors as much as possible through regular sweeping and dusting. As Apartment Therapy states, you should also address any spills immediately after they occur, ensuring that the area is thoroughly dried. While you can use gentle cleansers on your floors, one of the best methods is using an apple cider vinegar mixture. Mix a cup of the vinegar with a gallon of water and gently scrub the surface. If you have stubborn dirt or grease, dishwashing liquid can be added to remove it.
VCT maintenance requires cleaning with a neutral cleaning product using a mop to prevent damage to the sealer or wax. If you notice any damaged pieces, consider replacing them immediately. LVT and LVP flooring require the same maintenance as other types of flooring. LVT flooring maintenance and LVP maintenance simply require regular sweeping and mopping lengthwise along the planks following a zigzag pattern. Make sure to clean up spills immediately to prevent stains and accidents. You should also avoid anything that can scratch the floors, such as long pet nails and furniture with rough footing.
Vinyl Flooring vs Laminate Cost
If you are installing plank flooring and want the look of wood, the closest competitor to plank vinyl is laminate flooring. Both are made of layers and designed to be easy-install floating floors. The biggest difference between the two is that vinyl is water-resistant, while laminate is not. Vinyl can be installed in wet areas and below grade, but laminate swells and warps when installed in these areas.
Laminate is made up of many layers of fibrous material laminated together, while vinyl is made up of many layers of plastics. This makes vinyl a little more durable. Both come in several colors, styles, and textures. Of the two, laminate tends to be slightly more expensive, although it can also be longer-lasting when properly cared for. Vinyl is less likely to scratch, dent, and unlikely to warp. Laminate scratches and dents, so more care needs to be taken to reach its maximum lifespan. Below are the average costs to install 200 sq.ft. of each.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Vinyl||$600 - $2,000|
|Laminate||$1,500 - $3,500|
Cost of Vinyl Flooring vs Carpet
Like vinyl, carpeting has a very wide cost range. There are many carpet materials, colors, and styles to choose from, including natural fibers like wool and moisture-resistant fibers like polyester and olefin. Carpet is warm and soft underfoot, but while carpet can only look like carpet, vinyl can mimic other materials like stone, wood, and wood patterns like herringbone and parquet. Both materials have similar lifespans, although some fibers like wool may last longer with proper care.
Carpet is generally higher in maintenance than vinyl, although this varies depending on the fiber. Some fibers, such as nylon, require regular steam cleaning to look their best, while vinyl only needs to be swept and mopped as needed. Both have a wide range of total costs, depending on the material and style. Of the two, vinyl tends to be less expensive, but there can be an overlap between the two. Below are the average costs for installing 200 sq.ft. of each material.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Vinyl||$600 - $2,000|
|Carpet||$980 - $1,680|
Linoleum vs Vinyl Flooring
It can be difficult to tell vinyl and linoleum floors apart when looking at them. These are two very different materials, however, both in the way they are made and the way they look. Linoleum is a natural material made with limestone dust, linseed oil, and a jute backing. The color goes right through, and you can make repairs with a leftover piece of tile and glue. It tends to be in mostly solid colors, and it is incredibly long-lasting, with some floors lasting 50 to 100 years.
Vinyl is a petroleum-based plastic containing PVC. The color is on top, and the material is made in layers. If it is cut or damaged, it cannot be repaired. It comes in many more styles and appearances than linoleum, which can give it the look of wood or stone, while linoleum tends to come in solid colors. Vinyl lasts 10 to 20 years on average, so you will need to replace it more often. There is an overlap in their costs, although vinyl generally has a wider cost range. Below are the average costs to install 200 sq.ft. of each material.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Vinyl||$600 - $2,000|
|Linoleum||$800 - $1,200|
Vinyl vs Hardwood Flooring Price
If you want the look of wood, consider hardwood flooring as well as vinyl plank flooring. Hardwood flooring is a beautiful, natural material that increases the value of your home. Hardwood floors come in many different styles, textures, colors, and wood species. Some are designed to be used above grade only, while others may be installed below grade and in damp areas. Vinyl can be installed anywhere without worrying about moisture.
Hardwood floors are generally longer-lasting than vinyl and can be refinished. Vinyl requires less care but lasts a fraction of the time as hardwood and does not improve the value of your home in the same way. Most vinyl plank flooring and LVP are designed to mimic the look of wood flooring but at a much lower cost. Below are the average costs to install 200 sq.ft. of each material.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Vinyl||$600 - $2,000|
|Hardwood||$2,800 - $6,400|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Sometimes, the details make a floor look finished, such as smoother transitions like door thresholds, flush stair noses, transition strips, t-molding, and quarter-round molding. These are sold in 2’ to 4’ lengths and are cut to fit. These accessories often match your floor’s texture and pattern, and the price varies accordingly. Expect to pay between $5 and $30 for 2’ to 4’ sections of these transition materials, but you can also find high-end vinyl thresholds that match the floor perfectly for up to $50 for some LVT and LVP products. When installing vinyl stair treads, expect to pay $2 to $13 a foot, depending on the style and quality.
Radiant Floor Heating
Any time you install a new floor, consider adding radiant floor heating. Both electric and hydronic radiant heat can be installed with vinyl flooring. They make the floor feel much warmer and more comfortable under your feet while reducing your heating bills. While this is not always necessary, it can enhance your enjoyment of the floor, especially in areas like the bathroom. The average cost of installing radiant floor heating is $10 to $27 a sq.ft.
Vinyl Vapor Barrier
While concrete may seem solid, it is actually porous and prone to moisture. So if you plan to install vinyl flooring on a concrete subfloor in an area with higher moisture and humidity, a vapor barrier under plank flooring may be advisable. Expect to pay between $0.15 and $0.40 per sq.ft. for vapor barrier materials. Without the moisture barrier, you may have problems with adhesion, causing the flooring to buckle, lift up, or bubble. Even if the moisture does not damage the material, the damage to the adhesive may be enough to render the planks useless if they get too much moisture.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. It is possible to install vinyl flooring yourself, but professionals do the job easier and faster. If you have the right tools, this floor could be installed in a weekend. DIYers may encounter difficulties working with complex areas like stairs.
- Environment. Vinyl raises many questions for environmentally conscious individuals. It is made from PVC, meaning it is petroleum-based and not a renewable resource. Recently, developments in manufacturing have led PVC to be a #3 recyclable plastic. New developments have also resulted in lower VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in vinyl flooring produced over the last few years.
- Caution during a fire. Vinyl tile does not burn, but it melts and releases toxic gasses as it does. In a fire, these gasses can become hazardous to individuals in the house who do not have a self-contained breathing apparatus. Fumes can prove deadly in a house fire to civilians and firefighters.
- Temporary furniture removal. If your floor needs to be replaced, you may need to temporarily move furniture. Hiring movers costs about $60 to $80 per hour, with a minimum of one hour of work. Most flooring installation companies do this for $40 to $100 per room.
- Warranty. Manufacturers often have a limited warranty on materials, but look for contractors who guarantee their labor. Many issues that occur with vinyl flooring are a result of faulty installation or an uneven subfloor.
- Location. Job complexity and location play a large role in the installation cost. Stairs are notoriously difficult to install, so expect stairs to fall at the higher end of the installation cost, around $3 to $4 per sq.ft. The room you are installing the material in can impact costs, mostly due to the size. Bathrooms are less costly than kitchens, which are less costly than living rooms due to the average size of each space.
- Lifespan. Vinyl flooring lasts an average of 10 to 20 years when properly installed and maintained. Some older vinyl floors have lasted longer, but they generally begin cracking and become permanently stained by the 10 to 20-year mark, even if they are left in place.
- Outdoor. While vinyl is indicated for indoor use, it is water resistant and can therefore be used on porches, balconies, and some other outdoor areas. Thicker materials with higher mil counts on the top layer tend to do better in wet areas. Do not use adhesive materials in outdoor spaces, and always check that the material is not indicated for indoor use only.
- Existing floors. If you have an older floor that is either difficult to remove or may contain asbestos, you can float a vinyl floor over the old floor. This is called encapsulating the old floor and is frequently done with old asbestos vinyl floors because they are so difficult and costly to remove.
- What is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring?
The main difference between vinyl and laminate flooring is the makeup of the material. Vinyl floors are made from PVC resin, a byproduct of the petroleum industry. Laminate floors are made from wood byproduct and fiber board.
- Do you need an underlay for vinyl flooring?
Not necessarily. Some types comes with underlayment already built in, so you don’t need anything additional. Many types do not require an underlayment at all. Underlayment can help reduce noise.
- What is a good thickness for vinyl plank flooring?
The “wear layer” is the part that needs to be measured. Professionals recommend a wear layer of at least 12 mil, but if you have pets or children, a wear layer thickness of 20 mil. is more desirable.
- Is vinyl flooring expensive?
Vinyl flooring is generally considered to be one of the least expensive floor types. A 200 square foot floor will cost $600 to $2,000 for materials and installation.
- How do you lay down vinyl flooring?
While the specifics vary depending on the style of vinyl flooring you choose, the method is similar. The subfloor should be clean and level, and each piece of flooring, be it planks or sheets, are carefully laid on the subfloor. Peel-and-stick flooring has a peel-away adhesive, and planks lock together. Trim and molding are put in place at the end.
- What do you need to install vinyl plank flooring?
If you’re installing plank flooring yourself, you’ll need chalk lines, a utility knife, a level, and equipment to level the floor (sander or self-leveler).
- Apartment Therapy. “How to Clean and Maintain Your Vinyl Floors.”
- Armstrong Flooring. “What's the difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring?"
- Bona. “How to Clean Luxury Vinyl Flooring."
- BuildDirect. “What is WPC Vinyl Flooring?"
- Craftsman Book company. National Repair and Remodeling Estimator, 43th eed., Ed. by Albert S. Paxton (Carlsbad, CA, 2020).
- FIXR Cost Guides and Cost Database.
- Flooringinc.com. “Vinyl Plank Flooring: Everything You Need to Know.”
- Hunker. “Do You Need a Moisture Barrier on Concrete When Laying Vinyl Flooring?"
- Lowes. “Vinyl Flooring Buying Guide.”
- National Home Improvement Estimator, Ed. by Ray F. Hicks (Carlsbad, CA: Craftsman Book Company, 2020).
- The Home Depot. “Types of Vinyl Flooring.”
- The Spruce. “Flooring Underlayment: The Basics."
- The Spruce. “How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring."
- The Spruce. “Types of Vinyl Flooring Materials: Tile, Sheet Vinyl, and Luxury Vinyl.”
- This Old House. “All About Vinyl Flooring.”
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.