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Question DetailsAsked on 12/15/2015

Vinyl flooring that looks like wood, should we use planks or sheet vinyl? Can it be installed over tile?

We have seen vinyl flooring that looks like real wood in department stores and grocery stores. Not sure if the material they used was vinyl planks or sheet vinyl. We want to put this throughout our home vs hardwood floors, especially since it would go in the kitchen and we've been told hardwood floors can get damaged by liquid spills and appliances leaking. We want to know if plank vinyl pieces are better over sheet vinyl and if the vinyl can be installed over our current tile floor?

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Here are a couple of related links to similar questions that might help you -

Certainly, since the existing tile is not smooth and has lots of "mounds and valleys", putting sheet vinyl over it will reflect those valleys and come out looking all dimpled or checkerboarded in short order. Putting an underlayment over it to smooth that out is a bad idea - you end up with mounds and ridges commonly from the tile cracking, breaking up, and coming loose as fasteners for the underlayment are put through it, plus probably raises your floor level too much. The planking can be put over tile - but commonly also reflects the tile as valleys and ripples unless the 3/4" thick rigid type, so my recommendation - rip the tile out and do the job right.

As for strip or sheet vinyl for a kitchen - first, I recommend ONLY the 100% vinyl products, not vinyl-coated laminate, which swells and disintegrates if it gets wet. I always recommend sheet for kitchens and baths and other damp areas like mudrooms, preferably seamless (even though that increases cost a bit due to wastage in cutouts as opposed to piecing it to optimize material usage - use cutouts as undersink kitchen and bath liners) or if necessary use fused seams rather than glued, transition strips over the seams if at room transitions if feasible to minimize risk of seams coming loose and sticking up and getting torn/broken off.

Sheet (properly sealed at the edges) stops water infiltration and subfloor swelling better, does not have joints to let water from spills or flooding in under it to mold and swell the subflooring or trickle through to the level below, and does not accumulate the black joint grundge all jointed kitchen products are susceptible to. I also prefer to, if feasible when remodeling, run it in under the cabinets so any leaks in there come out to the floor to be seen rather than rot out the subfloor unseen, and heat it and turn it up at the toekick and miter-seal and caulk the corners so it forms a "bathtub" (except at doorways, where weatherstrip-bottomed transition strips serve that function) to catch any but catastrophic flooding or spills.

For new work/major remodels, I also like to do the same turn-up but also higher (4-6 inch) in the dishwasher cubby and any laundry alcove so any flooding there is contained, then put in a watertight low dam/high transition strip at the entry to that location, and a "dry drain" leading outside (or to a sump pump if below ground level) so any leaks from those devices are contained. In almost all code areas such dry drains, without the hassle of a sewer drain trap that can go dry, is allowed to catch and divert water pipe or dish/clothes washer overflow outside onto the ground on an emergency basis (same as sweeping it out the door in a flooding event) - through a floor drain and plastic pipe (3-4 inch) in the subfloor leading outside the house to a suitable place to dump it, with insect -resistant louvers on the outlet, not screening because the water is likely to have a lot of lint and dust bunnies in it and the outlet will likely never be cleaned.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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