What You Need to Know About China Vinyl Tile Flooring
Sheet vinyl is manufactured in 6- or 12-foot rolls, and it’s typically installed using a glue-down application, in which adhesive is troweled onto the underlayment. The flooring is then pressed into place and compressed with a heavy roller to secure the bond. It’s usually a matter of simple daily sweeping and occasional damp mopping with mild detergent to keep the floor looking like new.
One major advantage that standard vinyl offers over tile is water resistance. Vinyl is a hard, relatively cold material underfoot, and it’s one of the few materials that can repel standing water. This characteristic also helps make vinyl a more suitable flooring option in kitchens and baths.
However, the hard surface of vinyl can transmit sound well enough to make a room feel hollow underfoot, even with throw rugs in place. In addition, the material is not as warm and soft as other flooring materials such as carpet.
Most homeowners who choose vinyl flooring do so because it can be printed to look like a wide array of other materials, including hardwood and natural stone. Some of the most convincing designs mimic ceramic tile and stone. In general, tile works better at this task than sheet vinyl, because it’s easier to hide seams between the tiles.
The most common types of vinyl are made in China and are sold at big box home improvement stores. Many of them use a peel-and-stick method of installation, but some use a traditional troweled-on adhesive. Both methods are generally easy for DIYers to install.
Regardless of the type of vinyl, it’s important to read labels carefully. The chemicals in vinyl—particularly the plasticizers, stabilizers, and lubricants—can be toxic if exposed to skin or inhaled for extended periods of time.
When Brittany Goldwyn Merth ripped up the carpets in her Maryland home, she wanted something that was easy to clean and would complement her rustic-modern style. She settled on Home Depot’s Lifeproof line of vinyl planks that look like wood and lock together without glue. The planks were made in China, and their manufacturing has been linked to the oppression of a Muslim minority in northwestern China. That story, which began with 30-year-old Abdurahman Matturdi being herded into a bus emblazoned with the name Zhongtai Chemical Company, is a window into the global supply chain of a product most Americans don’t give much thought to.