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Sheet Vinyl Flooring (Why It's Slowly Going Away)

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Sheet Vinyl Flooring (Why It's Slowly Going Away)

Many years ago, residential sheet vinyl flooring was the most popular type of flooring for bathrooms, mud rooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. Retail floor covering stores stocked rolls and rolls of different styles and colors. Fast forward to today, and most flooring stores no longer inventory residential sheet vinyl, and barely have any displays in their showroom at all. This article will discuss the drastic decrease in popularity of sheet vinyl flooring, as well as what product has taken its place.

Sheet Vinyl Flooring (Why It's Slowly Going Away)

Why was sheet vinyl flooring so popular?

Customers need a flooring product in their home that is durable, easy to clean and waterproof. Sheet vinyl flooring matched these requirements. Most sheet vinyl flooring comes in 6' and 12' width rolls and can be installed using a glue down installation method. With very few seams needed to perform the installation, as well as the product having a smooth and resilient surface, it was the perfect fit for those high traffic areas of the home that could take on water and outside mud and dirt.

Another attraction to sheet vinyl flooring was the inexpensive cost. Customers could purchase sheet vinyl flooring at a very affordable price and remodel a home space for a fraction of the cost (as compared to ceramic).

Sheet vinyl flooring was also extremely popular. Everyone had sheet vinyl flooring in their home. It was quite simply the go to product for kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms. With the exception of ceramic, there was no other product in the marketplace that would be a good product for areas of the home that could take on water spills.

Retail floor covering stores had many different product displays in their showroom, and many even had stocking rolls on the showroom floor. It was quite popular for distributors and manufacturers to offer discounts to retail stores that would purchase full product rolls for inventory purposes.

Sheet vinyl flooring was also a product that could be installed over existing sheet vinyl. Many customers looking to do a home remodel, could save on installation costs by purchasing a newer sheet vinyl and having it installed over the existing sheet vinyl floor.

Sheet vinyl flooring was very easy to clean. With the smooth surface, customers simply needed a little bit of water and a mop or sponge, and they could easily clean any floor.

Finally, sheet vinyl flooring was kid and pet friendly. Homeowners could place pet water and food bowls directly on the sheet vinyl flooring, without the harm of damaging the floor. Pet hair was incredibly easy to clean. The floor was very scratch resistant and would easily absorb harsh activity from pets and children's toys.

Is sheet vinyl flooring and linoleum the same thing?

Many people visit a retail flooring store and ask to see the "linoleum." However, most of the time, they are referring to sheet vinyl flooring. In reality, it should be noted that sheet vinyl flooring and linoleum are two completely different types of products.

Sheet vinyl flooring is material that usually comes in both 6' and 12' width rolls. Sheet vinyl flooring is made from synthetic products and chemicals. When these chemicals are put together, they form what is commonly called "vinyl."

Linoleum (on the other hand) is made from natural products (example: linseed oil or cork) Linoleum is a much more durable product and is usually much more expensive. While linoleum is used in residential applications, the vast majority of sales is for commercial use (schools, offices, clinics).

Another big difference between sheet vinyl flooring and linoleum is the overall make-up of the products. With sheet vinyl, since it is made in a factory using synthetic materials, the top coating of the material does not go all the way through the product.

So, if a sheet vinyl floor is scratched, the homeowner will see a "white color " in the floor, simply because the pattern is only on the top layer of the product. With linoleum, that is not the case. The overall color and pattern of the linoleum floor goes throughout the product. So, if a scratch occurs on linoleum, it would be much harder to see, as the scratch will be covered up by the same overall floor color.

Sometimes customers require linoleum for health reasons. Allergies and other health related issues sometimes cause problems, and homeowners wish to use "natural" products in their home.

The bottom line: sheet vinyl flooring and linoleum are two completely different products. About the only similarity they have is they both come in "rolls," and are both used in the same areas of the home. So, be careful when reading an online review about "linoleum," as the individual might be confused about the two products.

Can you still buy sheet vinyl flooring?

Sure, you can. However, stores no longer view sheet vinyl flooring as a priority item. A store that used to carry a dozen stocking sheet vinyl flooring rolls, might now only carry one or two. Likewise, stores that used to have two or three sheet vinyl flooring displays in their showroom, might now only have one, which is most likely tucked away in some back corner.

Most sheet vinyl flooring sales are for customers looking to remodel a small bathroom or laundry room. The sale of sheet vinyl flooring in kitchens has virtually disappeared. Homeowners have discovered there are simply better flooring options that can be purchased.

Sheet vinyl flooring products have many different designs and colors. That has not changed. Products are meant to look like stone or ceramic floors. Most patterns are developed for laundry rooms, mud rooms and kitchens.

Over the years, the installation methods for sheet vinyl flooring have drastically improved. Many years ago, sheet vinyl flooring had to be installed using a glue down method. Nowadays, many of the products can be loose laid or installed using a "perimeter" glue down method.

There are also several different qualities of sheet vinyl flooring. Most displays will have the same color/pattern in a good, better and best version. The better product is thicker and more durable but will also cost more money.

Sheet vinyl flooring is still sold in the marketplace. A customer can find sheet vinyl flooring in virtually every floor covering or DIY box store. It is just not a product that is in high demand.

Is sheet vinyl flooring used in new home construction?

New home builders used to purchase sheet vinyl flooring for kitchens, mud rooms, laundry rooms and small hallways (coming from the garage).

However, those sales have virtually stopped. A very small percentage of home builders currently use sheet vinyl flooring. Using other products simply helps them sell the home quicker. Sheet vinyl flooring has lost its appeal and is no longer viewed as a modern looking product.

Homeowners would rather use products that are popular and that will attract customers to the home. Sheet vinyl flooring does not increase home value, and home builders can get a better product at the same cost.

If a customer goes on any custom home tour, it is almost a guarantee they will not see any new home with sheet vinyl flooring in it.

For the most part, sheet vinyl flooring is now limited to existing home makeovers.

What product has replaced sheet vinyl flooring?

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring have taken over the sheet vinyl flooring business. We have a great article, "Flooring Ideas For Your Kitchen," that does a wonderful job of explaining LVT & LVP, and why these products have become so popular.

Luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring can be used in any area of the home, including those areas once filled up by sheet vinyl flooring. LVT/LVP products have exactly the same benefits as sheet vinyl flooring, and quite simply, look much better in the home.

Some of the benefits of LVT/LVP include:

  • Waterproof

  • Pet Friendly

  • Kid Friendly

  • Scratch Resistant

  • Easy To Install

  • Cost Effective

If a customer visits any retail floor covering store, they will see rows and rows of luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring displays. Retail showroom space is prime real estate for any store. When a store has 30% - 40% of its showroom space dedicated to LVT/LVP samples, a customer can be certain this product is popular.

Not only are luxury vinyl tile and plank products available in stone and ceramic looks, but they also have beautiful wood looking products that are designed to mimic real hardwood products. Luxury vinyl plank products come in a variety of widths and length boards, they have wonderful colors, and they offer a very easy click together installation method.

Many customers are purchasing luxury vinyl tile and plank products and performing the installation as a DIY weekend project. Likewise, with the click together installation, LVT/LVP can be installed over many different existing floor products and can save a homeowner a lot of money when it comes to the installation costs.

Conclusion - Sheet Vinyl Flooring

While sheet vinyl flooring is still sold in the marketplace, it has had a huge drop off in sales. Customers are no longer looking for sheet vinyl flooring. Rather, luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring have taken its place in most stores.

Will sheet vinyl flooring become extinct? Probably not. We think most stores will continue to offer customers a few samples to look at. However, we don't think many stores will continue to inventory sheet vinyl rolls (like they used too).

Sheet vinyl Flooring is an old product category that is still around, but sometimes hard to find.


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