What You Need to Know About Vinyl Flooring Durability

We put two kinds of vinyl flooring options to the test and this is what we learned.

Thin vs. Thick Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring costs anywhere from $1.69 to $3.19 per square foot. More expensive flooring is usually thicker and sometimes more attractive, but we wondered if it’s more durable. To find out, we bought the most expensive option and the cheapest at a local home center, then did some tests.

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Wear Layer

Vinyl flooring has a protective wear layer. This is measured in mils (one-thousandth of an inch) and gives the flooring added durability. The higher the mil count, the greater the durability. In our case, the thin vinyl flooring we tested was four mils and the thick was six mils.

Drop Test

Vinyl floors are susceptible to damage from falling objects. For our first test, we dropped a screwdriver from roughly three ft. onto each thick and thin floor. We dropped it three times. The two floors showed similar tiny surface dings.

Abrasion Test

For this test, we used a random orbit sander with 180-grit sandpaper to simulate abrasion over a long period of time. First, we held the sander on the two types of flooring for 30 seconds each. The sander wore down the thin flooring more than the thick, leaving a large, white circular mark. The thick flooring showed light, barely visible marks and some wear at the seams. For the second test, we moved the sander back and forth over the pieces of vinyl flooring for nine minutes each. The thin vinyl wore down quickly, leaving a streak of white, while the thick hardly showed any visible damage at all.

The Results: Thick is Tougher

Thin vinyl flooring is cheaper, but in our tests it wasn’t as durable as the thick stuff. While both showed some damage from dropped items, the thick held strong against abrasion. Plus, these cheap flooring ideas are great alternatives and give hardwood flooring a run for its money!