General Guide to Vinyl Floor Coverings

The following information should be viewed as general in nature, and specific advice should be sought from manufacturers, installers and experienced professionals, for individual situations.

Vinyl flooring encompasses a diverse range of product types, each with their own individual installation methodologies, and applications.

Vinyl floor coverings are highly resilient and hard wearing, they provide a hygienic environment that is water resistant and easy to clean and maintain. Some Vinyl products are textured or contain carborundum particles to provide slip resistance, which is often a requirement in commercial applications. Vinyl flooring products are subject to the same slip resistance testing criteria as ceramic tiles. – Further information regarding slip resistance can be found in the KNOWLEDGE BASE section of our website,  under the GENERAL menu.

Vinyl is commonly available in both a continuous sheet up to 4 meters in width, these can be textile backed, homogeneous (Coloured all the way through the product) or heterogeneous, and also in modular tile or plank formats. Dependent on the product type, vinyl floor coverings are either loose-laid, direct stuck or can even be clicked together and floated, in a similar fashion to laminate flooring!

A special note regarding so called ‘Loose-Lay’ vinyl planks: 

This term generally refers to 5mm thick luxury vinyl planks, which were initially marketed as a ‘Loose-Lay’ product, requiring little substrate preparation and no adhesive. Subsequent product failures have overtime, lead to almost all manufacturers changing their installation requirements to include, at the very least, the use of pressure sensitive adhesive, to hold the product in place. As with other vinyl products, adequate substrate preparation is still a necessity if the floor is to remain aesthetically pleasing over the long term, and in order to meet the manufacturer’s warranty requirements, and relevant Australian Standards for installation.

The main classification feature governing all vinyl flooring products is the thickness of the wear layer; the thicker the wear layer, the more resilient the product and the more traffic it will withstand. Most wear layers will vary in thickness from 0.2 mm to 1.0 mm. If in doubt, selecting a product with a thicker wear layer will mean that the product will last longer. Selecting the right product for the intended end use is critical for a successful installation outcome over the longer term.


As vinyl floor coverings are relatively thin, substrate preparation is almost always required, even in newly constructed buildings.

The quality of the finished installation is very much dependent upon the preparation of the sub-floor and the attention paid to the recommendations made by the various codes of practice, and those made by the manufacturers of the flooring products, the adhesives and the levelling/smoothing compounds. – Failure to do so will almost always void the manufacturer’s warranty!

Apart from click-together vinyl planks we do not normally recommend DIY installation of vinyl products, due to the degree and quality of substrate preparation required and the specialised skill, equipment and adhesives necessary for a successful outcome.


The majority of vinyl installation failures are not caused by poor fitting, but by the failure to condition the site, vinyl tiles and planks prior to installation.

Vinyl tiles and planks plus any other products such as borders, feature strips, and adhesives should be conditioned for at least 24 – 48 hours prior to installation. Boxes of tiles/planks must be stacked less than 5 boxes high and product removed 30 minutes before use. The room temperature should ideally be between 18 and 26°C but more importantly should be constant and not varying by more than 2°C. The temperature needs to be maintained prior to, during and for at least 24 hours after the installation is completed.

It may be necessary to use temporary measures to block out windows during and after installation to prevent direct sunlight from the floor.

North or West facing windows and glass sliding doors should be shaded to minimise daytime fluctuations. Thermostatically controlled heating systems should be used when necessary, and left on during the night to achieve a constant temperature similar to that of the daytime.