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How Forgiving Is Vinyl Plank Flooring? What You Need To Know

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular choice for homeowners. It is a quick and affordable solution to floor covering. You can have floors that look like hardwood, tile or stone for a fraction of the cost.

How Forgiving Is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

But how forgiving is vinyl plank flooring and is it for you? As a forgiving floor covering vinyl planks are an excellent choice. They are soft, semi rigid, water, stain and scratch resistant. They are also very durable.

Vinyl plank flooring is simple enough for DIY projects and will cover up minor imperfections in the floor.

How Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Perform?

So that you know how forgiving vinyl plank flooring is it’s a good idea to look at how it performs as a floor covering. This means thinking about how durable, resistant to scratching, stains and water it is.

Also how difficult it is to keep clean and looking good. For reference, we’ve had our own vinyl plank flooring throughout the house for just shy of 12 years.

We’ve never had an issue with it, and guests still come in and tell us how amazing it looks!


Unlike vinyl tiles which used to be quite thin, vinyl plank flooring has a good thickness. It’s made in long planks with tongue and groove connections to make fitting simple and quick. This design is like laminate flooring.

Because of the way it is made vinyl plank flooring is very durable and has a life expectancy of around 20 years.

As it comes in sections, if one piece is damaged it’s fairly straightforward to swap it for a new piece. Unlike other floor coverings you don’t have to replace the entire floor.

Scratch Resistant

Vinyl plank flooring is very resistant to scratches, and it is ideal for areas of heavy use. However, you should take care not to put very heavy furniture on top of it or drag furniture as this can cause damage.

Softer vinyl flooring can easily be damaged by pet claws so remember this when choosing which one to have for your floor.

Stain & Water Resistant

Vinyl plank flooring can be used in bathrooms, so it is water resistant. This makes it a good choice for the kitchen and utility room too. You should clean up any spills as soon as possible, but most vinyl flooring is stain resistant.


Most vinyl plank flooring is easy to clean needing just a regular vacuum or sweep. You can mop this flooring but be careful using strong chemicals such as bleach.

You should only use cleaning products which are specially made for vinyl flooring. It’s not a good idea to use a steamer on vinyl plank flooring.

This is because the steam can get between the joints of the vinyl flooring and reach the floor underneath.


If it gets damaged you can replace one piece of vinyl flooring without taking up the whole floor. But it can be difficult. The tongue and groove connection system means that each piece is interlocked with the one next to it.

This may mean removing whole rows of vinyl planks to get to the one that is damaged and needing to be replaced. You’ll then need to replace all the flooring. It’s a good idea to keep a pack of the original vinyl floor planks for repairs.

This is because if you need to replace any at a later date you won’t be able to get an exact match.

Which Type Of Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Most Forgiving?

How Forgiving Is Vinyl Plank Flooring? (1)

There are many types of vinyl plank flooring to choose from. It may take a while to choose but the most forgiving is luxury vinyl plank flooring. This is much thicker than standard vinyl flooring and has many benefits.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is much thicker than standard vinyl flooring. It is semi-rigid and is made up of 6 to 8 layers of material with a protective top coat.

Typically you can choose between smooth or embossed designs for luxury vinyl plank flooring. Due to its thickness, luxury vinyl plank flooring is the most forgiving.

It is softer underfoot, has a greater durability and creates a thicker barrier on the floor. It is very durable and resistant to water and stains. It also has a solid PVC backing layer for rigidity and strength.


You should consider using a good quality underlayment to add to the comfort of vinyl plank flooring. This will improve the cushioning of the flooring. It will deaden the sound and add to the cold blocking from the floor.

If you are installing vinyl plank flooring in a bathroom or kitchen you should use a particular waterproof underlayment. This will increase the life of the flooring and also provide peace of mind.

How Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Compare To Other Floor Coverings?

When comparing different flooring options you may wonder how vinyl plank flooring competes with carpet, hardwood flooring or tiles.


Carpet is a good choice for a soft underfoot feel and for keeping a room warm. Although, carpet is not waterproof and if anything is spilled on it there is a good chance that it will stain.

It will work well over an imperfect subfloor especially with a good underlayment. However, carpet isn’t as quick and easy to clean as vinyl plank flooring.

Hardwood Flooring

For imperfect subfloors Vinyl plank flooring is more forgiving than hardwood flooring. Although a well prepared subfloor is ideal, if there are minor imperfections or bumps in the floor a vinyl plank flooring will hide them.


Like hardwood flooring, tiles are not very forgiving over an imperfect subfloor and will not lie flat.

Tiles are more durable than vinyl flooring and can be scrubbed and steam cleaned. They are harder underfoot and can be cold if you don’t have underfloor heating.

Final Thoughts

Vinyl plank flooring is a good option for an easy to install and maintain floor covering. It is a durable product and resistant to much that a busy household will throw at it.

Replacing damaged pieces is relatively easy while cleaning and maintenance is very straightforward. It will also hide minor imperfections in the subfloor with no obvious tell tale signs.

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