Loose lay vinyl is only relatively new but various types of vinyl flooring have been around for over 50 years. The earlier types of vinyl came in sheet form and vinyl tiles still seen on supermarket floors. There has been a lot of research and development done into vinyl floor products over the years, and this has brought many advancements including the timber look vinyl plank. The vinyl plank started appearing in Australia in the early 90’s and was different to the earlier sheet vinyls, as it had been cut into plank size pieces. These vinyl planks have evolved since, with the advancements of technology, with the vinyl planks becoming increasingly realistic looking, till now where we are at a stage where it is hard to differentiate a vinyl plank floor to a real timber floor.
Vinyl plank flooring has generally been a 2-3 mm thick product that is glued down to the floor with a hard set adhesive and known as LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile), but more recently in 2011 following many years of development Karndean introduced LooseLay, a true loose lay vinyl plank 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, extra thickness bringing it to 4.5 – 5.0 mm thick to give it its own weight to keep it on the floor, and a special non slip backing.
Following Karndean’s success with LooseLay vinyl planks, there have been numerous other manufacturers coming out with their version of loose lay vinyl planks increasing 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 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 different. Some add a special coating over the clear layer to improve hygiene and clean ability, there’s a variety of wear layer texture and bevelling, different make up for the stabilisation/reinforcement layers, and even a variety of non slip backings.
If you would like to take a closer look at a loose lay vinyl plank, please feel free to order a sample from our products page.