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What mm thickness do I choose when I buy vinyl flooring?

What mm thickness do I choose when I buy vinyl flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring is available in a number of thicknesses ranging from 2mm to 5mm thick. When you buy vinyl flooring it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Just as laminate flooring, the thicker the floor, the sturdier it is, but this is not the end of the story…

Vinyl Flooring Thickness

Vinyl flooring comes in thicknesses ranging from 2mm to 5mm. There are several important questions you must ask yourself when deciding which thickness will be right for you:

  • Where am I installing?
  • Will there be a lot of foot traffic in this area?
  • What type of subfloor do I have?
  • What condition is my subfloor in?

If you are looking for flooring to refresh your low traffic bedroom, a thinner vinyl plank flooring will work great for you. For areas that have more traffic and usage, such as enrtyways and hallways, you want to choose thicker floor. Your subfloor is also a very important part of choosing the thickness as well. If you have an even concrete subfloor, you can get a thinner vinyl flooring. This is because your subfloor is sturdy enough that you don’t need the extra support. However, if you subfloor is a thin, creaking hardwood, you should opt for the thicker vinyl for added stability and support.

Different vinyl flooring thicknesses

Different vinyl flooring thicknesses

Vinyl Flooring Wear Layer

A thicker vinyl is more durable, right? Actually, the durability of vinyl plank flooring is determined by the wear layer. So don’t assume that all thicker vinyl flooring will be more durable. When shopping for vinyl plank flooring, pay also attention to the wear layer. Just like the thickness, the thicker the wear layer, the more durable the floor will be. Make sure to choose features of the flooring that’s right for you and your application, using the same questions posed above.

The wear layer is the protective coating on top of the decorative layer of the vinyl flooring. The most popular is a urethane-based layer that protects the floor against scratches, stains, and scuff marks. The wear layer keeps the original look of the floor longer, providing a maintenance-free finish.

Vinyl flooring cutaway layers diagram

Vinyl Floor Layer Diagram courtesy of processsystems.sandvick.com

Final Tips

If you are installing in a high traffic area, it is recommended you choose a thicker vinyl floor as it will provide more sturdiness and support. Thicker vinyl floors are also more forgiving to imperfect subfloors. If you are concerned about your subfloor, choose a thicker floor, however we always suggest to install new floors a subfloor that is even, clean and dry.

Don’t forget that vinyl plank flooring may require a moisture barrier Visqueen Underlayment, especially if you are installing over a concrete subfloor. This underlayment will prevent any moisture from the subfloor from coming up into your floor. In the case of glue down vinyl flooring, no underlayment is required.

Remember these tips and choosing the right thickness of vinyl flooring will be an absolute breeze!

Still have questions? Leave them in the comments below and we will be happy to answer them!

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10 comments

  1. I recently purchased a 7.2 mm thick Vinyl Plank from Rona in Canada. My question is how does the product hold up next to a gas fire place. Can I install right up to the fireplace?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Scotty, thanks for your question! The vinyl should be fine against the gas fireplace. If anything, the edges may get soft against the hot surface. Be sure to read the manufacturer instructions before you install to make sure that is the case with this specific laminate. You can also text a plank before you install to see how it reacts. Hope this helps!

  2. How can I compare thicknesses of LVT when one is listed as 2 mm and the other is described as 55 gauge?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Melba, thanks for your question! Gauge measurements are used differently in a variety of products, and can be fairly inaccurate when measuring thickness. We don’t typically see vinyl flooring measured this way. If you cannot find the thickness on the product, we would recommend looking for the mil number. This will give you the wear layer thickness, which is the most important aspect of vinyl durability. This will not give you the full board thickness, but it will signify the durability of flooring you are purchasing. You can learn more about wear layers here: http://www.bestlaminate.com/blog/wear-layer-vinyl-flooring/

      Here’s a reference of corresponding mil to mm comparisons when it comes to wear layer:
      0.1 mm = 4 mil
      0.3 mm = 12 mil
      0.5 mm = 20 mil
      0.7 mm = 28 mil
      1.0 mm = 40 mil

  3. What is the best vinyl plank flooring on the market. There are so many to choose from, I need help. Thank you

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi, Betty! It really depends on what your needs are and where you are installing your flooring. Please give us a call at 1-800-520-0961 and we will be happy to help you!

  4. Most vinyl plank flooring companies say that using an underlayment voids the warranty. Since my floors are on a concrete slab, they get cold in the winter, and I’d like to have at least a modest underlayment to provide some insulating factor. Is there a vinyl plank brand that allows for an underlayment?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Tim, thanks for the question! There are some brands that will allow an underlayment, such as Berry Alloc Dream Click, and they call out the usage of their brand specific underlayment. This is the only vinyl product we carry that calls out an underlayment. We also have one LVT specific underlayment that is only 1MM that works with most LVT floors and is thin enough to not obstruct the locking system. Hope that helps!

  5. I agree that if you are looking for flooring for your low traffic bedroom, a thinner vinyl plank flooring will work great. You also mention that if you have a concrete subfloor, you can choose a thinner vinyl. I think it’s a good idea to choose a neutral pattern on your vinyl so that it stays in style for many years to come.

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