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vinyl flooring – questions to consider

Room with Vinyl Flooring

Can vinyl flooring be green? This section contains questions you can ask your local vinyl flooring professional to find out what green, or eco–friendly, merits the vinyl floor you are considering has. Installation, recyclability, recycled content, lifespan and manufacturing questions are provided to help you formulate your own green ranking of the new vinyl flooring you're considering. Don't forget to use the™ search directory to find your nearest vinyl floor store. And if you still have questions before you go shopping, use our Live Chat feature at the top of the page to chat with one of our vinyl flooring professionals.

Featured Vinyl Floor Products

Some Good Questions to Ask Your Retailer

How long can I expect this flooring to last?

Vinyl flooring generally lasts from 5 to 30 years. Longer lasting products are better choices from a green perspective because replacing the flooring more often increases the amount of it moving into the waste stream. Naturally you need to take into account the quality of the vinyl tiling you're buying and which end of the lifespan scale it will tend to be and then weigh that against the negatives of vinyl flooring.

Is this product certified by the FloorScore program?

The FloorScore program certifies vinyl flooring that meets or exceeds indoor air quality standards. The Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) developed the program in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). FloorScore conducts testing and awards certification to various floor products for their compliance with indoor emissions and air quality requirements adopted in California. Furthermore, the concern is not only with the amount of VOC* emissions but also the type.

*VOCs (short for volatile organic compounds) are carbon–based chemical compounds that can be found in certain flooring materials, adhesives and cleaners.

Does this flooring include any recycled content?

Some vinyl flooring includes post–consumer and/or post–industrial vinyl. In other words, it may contain vinyl that's been recycled after household use, or waste recovered from the manufacturing process. Be sure to ask what percentage of the content is recycled and, as stated above, what sort of useful life you can expect from this particular given the traffic etc. it will be exposed to in your home.

What happens to vinyl flooring at the end of its life cycle?

Vinyl flooring does not require special handling: It can be sent to landfills. Some types of vinyl flooring that do not include PVC can be recycled. For the environmentally conscious this is a key question. Vinyl is not generally regarded as eco–friendly, so if your vinyl floor can be recycled at the end of its useful life, that's a step in the right direction. Furthermore, by choosing recyclable vinyl, you help increase the demand for greener vinyl tiles and move things in a more environmentally responsible direction.

How can I make vinyl flooring last as long as possible?

Manufacturers recommend placing doormats at entrances, using felt floor protectors under furniture, shielding vinyl flooring from direct sunlight, and avoiding prolonged contact with water. Your retailer may offer additional suggestions, as well. But remember, if you use cleaning products, you should take the same care to make sure they are as green as possible as you would with your floor. Read the labeling, check for any certifications, and ask questions about these products.

How is this flooring installed?

Some sheet vinyl requires adhesives over the entire subfloor. Other products use adhesives only at the perimeters. Some tile is glued down; others are self–adhesive. There are also vinyl products that click together in floating floors that are not adhered to the subfloor at all. Make sure the type of vinyl floor you have in mind is really best for your home and lifestyle by checking with the retailer. You can also get some hints from one of our experts by using the Live Chat feature at the top of this page.

How should the subfloor be prepared?

Flaws in the subfloor show through vinyl flooring, which means it is important to create a clean, level, smooth surface before the vinyl is installed. Manufacturers of some vinyl products recommend priming the subfloor before the vinyl is installed. Make sure you understand exactly what preparation is necessary for the product you purchase. If your retailer can't answer all your questions on this, visit the forums at™ or use the Live Chat function at the top of this page to quiz one of our flooring experts.

Where was this flooring manufactured?

The farther the flooring had to travel to reach your retailer, the more energy was expended. Purchasing flooring manufactured close to your home can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the floor's overall carbon footprint.