House and Home

Vinyl has a lot more to offer than you think, says Julia
Vinyl has a lot more to offer than you think, says Julia
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Sometimes, the oldies are the best.

Certainly, that’s the case with one particular flooring.

Because yes, vinyl might sound like it’s a bit dated, but it has a lot more to offer than you think.

Sheet vinyl is a practical choice for kitchens and bathrooms, being straightforward to fit yourself (although you may prefer to get in a pro).

It’s also affordable, coming in a big range of styles, colours, and designs that look like ceramic tiles, wood and stone but often cost less per square metre than the real thing.

Check out Carpetright’s for some great contemporary and traditional designs.

With practicality and price both ticked, vinyl is additionally water resistant, hard to stain, and durable (obviously the better the quality, the longer it’s likely to last).

Unlike a tiled floor, it’s comfortable and ‘warm’ underfoot, which is a big plus when you’re stepping out of the bath or shower on a cold morning.

If you have kids or pets, vinyl comes into its own too, because it’s softer, quieter and safer than a hard floor and (generally) stands up to heavy foot traffic well.

Perhaps best of all, vinyl is a doddle to keep clean – sweep it, vacuum it, mop it... done.

There are some inevitable downsides too. Vinyl can get scuffed and scratched and it will deteriorate eventually, especially at the edges, where it tends to curl up over time.

You have to be careful not to tear a vinyl floor – dragging a fridge across it, for example, is a recipe for disaster. Vinyl can also be damaged by extreme temperatures, and faded by sunlight.

That said though, vinyl is clearly still a good choice for many homes; and if you agree, here’s how to go about it.

Before you fit the vinyl, it’s important to ensure that the sub-floor is as clean, dry and flat as possible - vinyl will show up lumps, bumps and other imperfections.

If the sub-floor’s concrete, you can use the Artex Easifix Floor Repair Kit (£12.98, B&Q) to fill any cracks and holes.

Floors that are higher in some places and lower in others can be improved with self-levelling compound, which is available from DIY stores.

To prepare a floorboard sub-floor, begin by knocking down any protruding nails with a hammer and nail punch.

Screw down any loose boards, checking first that there aren’t any cables or pipes underneath.

Floorboards have a tendency to move, so the more secure you can make them, the better.

Once the floorboards are secure, fix hardboard on top to provide a good surface on which to lay the vinyl.

Both the hardboard and vinyl should be acclimatised in the room before you use them.

As a final tip, having a warm room makes vinyl easier to fit - so what better time is there to get started than the upcoming summer months?