What are the different types of resilient flooring?

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by Tom Watson on July 19, 2015

Resilient flooring has been around since the 1950s when sheet vinyl burst onto the scene. It became quite popular because it felt “cushiony yet firm” when walking on it.

It’s also very durable, so needless to say it quickly became an attractive choice for kitchens and bathrooms floors in millions of homes and high traffic areas in businesses as well.

Fast forward to today, and the term “resilient” is now a ‘catch all phrase” for many types of synthetic and natural flooring treatments. They share many common traits but are unique in composition and style. So today I thought it would be a good idea to write a post on the topic.

I’ll briefly chat about the most common varieties found today. The list is not meant to be comprehensive in scope, as there are many varieties and sub-sets of resilient flooring. It’s more of a list of the most common types you’ll run across.

The different types of resilient flooring

Linoleum. This used to be a popular option years back but fell out of favor over time. However the last few years linoleum flooring has become popular again because it’s considered an “environmentally friendly” flooring option.

It’s made from a collection of renewable materials that include linseed oil, recycled wood powder, cork powder, and limestone. It’s offered in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Other than being eco-friendly the main benefit is that it’s extremely long-lasting. Thirty to forty years of life can be achieved with proper care.

VCT  (Vinyl Composition Tile). This is a flooring material that has several ingredients but is primarily composed of limestone (roughly 65% if you were wondering). VCT is most commonly used in high-traffic commercial applications. Retail businesses, public buildings, schools and large office complexes are just a few of the places it is utilized.

It’s main claim to fame is that it’s highly durable, easy to maintain and very inexpensive when compared to other flooring alternatives. You will normally see it cut into 12-inch squares though other sizes are available. The latest technology now allows for VCT to resemble wood and stone, making it more versatile than it ever was from a design standpoint.

Sheet goods / Sheet vinyl. This option is considered a “soft flooring material”. This brings both pro’s and con’s of course. Benefits to this type floor is that it’s considered a sanitary floor because the seams are chemically / heat-welded, it has less seams because of the wide widths available (6 to 12 feet) and it’s resistant to solvent acid and alkaline spots. On the downside it’s prone to scratching and considered more difficult to install.

Rubber flooring. Found in health clubs and commercial buildings where people spend a good potion of their day on their feet, rubber floors are more common than you think. They will only increase in the future due to their eco-friendly nature. They are normally installed as tiles or pads. The “bouncy” nature of rubber floors reduces pain and stress on the feet and joints of workers.

This is why it’s sometimes referred to as “anti-fatigue flooring”. Another benefit to this type of floor is that it’s useful to control static electricity, which makes it a popular choice for companies that build and test electronics that can be damaged by static discharges.

Cork flooring. This is another eco-friendly option that is becoming all the rage by homeowners interested in going green wherever possible. In case you didn’t know, the vast majority of cork comes from the outer bark of cork trees. These trees are native to northwest Africa and southwest Europe. What makes them so eco-friendly is the fact that they can be harvested up to 20 times during a tree’s lifetime.

While each of the types of resilient flooring I just spoke of are generally long-lasting and durable (after all, that’s why they are called “resilient”), they all require varying degrees of routine, periodic, interim, and restorative cleaning procedures in order to maintain their appearance over the long haul. I’ll cover that topic in another post down the road!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan July 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Interested to know how you clean dark laminated flooring . Thanks

2 Tom Watson July 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Hi Susan! We’ve talked to people who do the installs, and some say just use over the counter laminate floor cleaner while others say don’t use anything (not even water, ONLY DUST THEM). So the jury is out on what is best, as it’s probably a matter of opinion more than anything. What I will say is that we use a product called “Squeaky Cleaner” that I get from my favorite vendor Jon-Don. Here is a link… Squeaky Cleaner

For price comparison, here is an Amazon link… Squeaky Cleaner Spray

3 Toni July 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Hi Tom,
I have an unrelated question that google has been unable to help me with. I am trying to figure out market size in my service area so that I can do some planning, and then track results. But I have no clue how I could find out how many homes in the 4 small towns I serve actually use a cleaning service. Any advice is appreciated!


4 Tom Watson July 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Hi Toni! There is no way (that I know of) to determine how many people in a four town section actually use a cleaning service. Large companies (or better yet… politicians) hire “polling companies” to determine that information (that’s why you see polls that say they are accurate within +/- a certain number of percentage points). They spend money to call a bunch of people (a lot of money). Cleaning companies can’t afford that research.

HOWEVER…. A generally accepted way to determine “WHO COULD AFFORD” a cleaning service is by “household income”. I was always marketing to households that earned over $75,000. These people usually have DISPOSABLE income. According to the latest data I could find easily (2009), 31.6 percent of households fit that criteria (keep in mind, this data is NATIONALLY, not necessarily in your town).

So for you… you need to find out HOW MANY HOUSEHOLDS are in those 4 towns. Then you could take an ASSUMPTION that 31.6 make over $75,000 (and that would be your IDEAL market). Normally… I only advertised IN THE WEALTHY NEIGHBORHOODS (you need to “GO TO WHERE THE MONEY IS” as I always say). People “just getting by” generally don’t have housekeepers, while wealthier people CONSIDER IT at a much higher rate.

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