Loose lay vinyl flooring is only relatively new but various types of vinyl flooring have been around for over 50 years.
The earlier types of vinyl flooring came in foam backed sheet form, which tore easily and hard vinyl tiles like seen on supermarket floors.
There has been a lot of research and development done into vinyl flooring products over the years, and this has brought many advancements including the timber look vinyl plank flooring.
Vinyl plank flooring started appearing in Australia in the early 90’s and was quite different to the earlier sheet vinyls, as it was harder and had been cut into individual plank size pieces which feature unique patterns.
These vinyl planks have evolved further since with the advancements of technology, with the vinyl planks now becoming increasingly realistic looking. Now we are at a stage where it is hard to differentiate a vinyl plank floor from a real timber floor.
Vinyl plank flooring has generally been a 2-3 mm thick product that is glued down directly to the floor with a hard set adhesive and known as LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile).
Introduction of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring to the Market
More recently in 2011 following many years of development Karndean introduced LooseLay, a true loose lay vinyl plank flooring to the Australian market.
What made this product different wasn’t the look of the finished floor, but the speed and ease of installation and the flexibility of installation over an existing floor without damaging the existing floor.
The surface of the loose lay vinyl flooring is very similar to glue down vinyl planks, but they have added a reinforcing layer for dimensional stability. On top of this they also add extra thickness bringing it to 4.5 – 5.0 mm thick to give it its own weight to keep it on the floor. Finally of the bottom with a special non slip backing.
Following Karndean’s success with Karndean LooseLay vinyl planks, there have been numerous other manufacturers coming out with their version of loose lay vinyl planks. This has increased the choice of qualities, colours, and prices, but they all have the same basic design principles of a stabilisation layer and non slip backing.
The Different Layers of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring
The basic make up of a loose lay vinyl plank starts with a clear wear layer on the top.
The thickness and hardness of this wear layer various between ranges and manufactures, but this is normally what determines the wear warranty of the product.
Under this is the image layer, which is a digital print of the timber or product that is being imitated.
Below this there are a variety of filler layers, stabilisation layers, and reinforcement layers. At the bottom there is the special non slip backing.
Each manufacture makes their version of loose lay vinyl slightly differently.
Some add a special coating over the clear layer to improve hygiene and clean ability, there’s a variety of wear layer textures and bevelling
There is also different make up for the stabilisation/reinforcement layers, and even a variety of non slip backings.
Installation Methods of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring
While the product is called loose lay vinyl flooring, this doesn’t mean the flooring can be loose laid in every situation.
Depending on the situation, loose lay vinyl flooring can be installed in multiple methods including truly loose laid, held with perimeter stick double sided tape, adhered with pressure sensitive glue to the entire floor, hard stuck with acrylic adhesive, or adhered with 2-part epoxy adhesive.
The true loose lay method is only recommended for small areas of low traffic or temporary use.
Perimeter stick using double sided tape is the method mostly chosen for DIYers, and is suitable medium sized areas.
Installing with pressure sensitive glue can be done by a DIYer for a more permanent installation, or by an installer for a semi permanent installation.
Acrylic adhesive installation method is the most common method done by professional installers as minimises risk the vinyl flooring migrating.
2-part epoxy adhesive method of installation is only done in areas of high heat or wet areas, and will not allow the vinyl flooring to be uplifted easily afterwards.
Suitability of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring
Loose lay vinyl flooring is perfect for use within your home and also in commercial situations such as offices and shopping centres.
With being installed in hundreds of retail stores around the country, loose lay vinyl flooring has shown its durability with high levels of foot traffic and trolleys going over the flooring day in and out for many years.
With such a wide choice of installation methods, durability, and being easy to install, loose lay vinyl flooring truly is a versatile flooring product for use in all homes and businesses.
The friendly staff at Integra Direct can help you with your decision with many types of flooring that would be best for your room in the home, including high quality loose lay planks, and with which installation method is best for you.
If you would like to take a closer look at our loose lay vinyl planks, please feel free to visit our showroom at Helensvale.