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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 8mm 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. With new advances in the market, you can now find WPC and SPC cores as well as attached underlayments.

Vinyl Flooring Thickness

Vinyl flooring comes in thicknesses ranging from 2mm to 8mm. 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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Bestlaminate
Bestlaminate’s blog is dedicated to you by making the home improvement process easier and more affordable. We hope to make your home remodeling and maintaining a more positive experience.

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74 comments

  1. We have an open worship space that is about 4000sf in need of flooring. Since there will be fluctuations in temperature and moisture, vinyl wood flooring is recommended by most flooring dealers. Also glue down is a must in this huge space and absolutely no clicking system and laminate is recommended. I would like some thoughts on this.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Kim, thanks for reaching out. Glue down vinyl is the best option for you with these circumstances. Since it’s such a large space, a floating floor would need several transitions. By using a glue down, you’ll have a secure floor that will not move with temperature changes. It will also be waterproof!

  2. The vinyl plank we selected for our new home is out of stock. The one we would like to use in its place is 6 mm. The original was 8mm. Will that be a problem? The contractor has left a half inch clearance for the floor.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Susan, thanks for the question. You will have a slight difference in height, but you could add underlayment underneath to add 2mm of height. The biggest difference may be in the locking system.

  3. i am getting .30 mm of wear thickness with LVP- is this okay???

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Dee, yes this is a very strong wear layer! It will be perfect for busy households and even light commercial usage. If you have any other questions, please let us know!

  4. Our installer is suggesting a glue down vinyl plank. It is 2.5 mm thickness with a 12 mil wear layer. I have no idea what this means. The reason he is suggesting glue down is because of the possiblity of the click lock coming apart. We have a level subfloor. We have small children and dogs. Is this a decent combination? It seems very thin to me although I really like pattern of the vinyl.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Tesa, thanks for your question! Yes, this will be a very thin plank, but with a durable wear layer. We typically recommend a click vinyl versus a glue down and here’s some reasons why. First, you will be able to have a thicker plank. These planks either come with attached underlayment or can have underlayment installed for added comfort. It won’t feel like you’re walking on a super hard surface! The installation is easier and in our opinion, the click vinyls look a lot more beautiful and wood/tile like than a glue down. Click vinyls can come apart, but that is pretty uncommon. A vinyl can move with temperature changes, so if you’re installing in an un-temperature regulated space, then a glue down would be best here. If you want to take a look at some click vinyls, you can check out our selection here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/vinyl-plank-flooring/

  5. i’ve been told by 2 local flooring salesmen that I can glue down a commercial thickness LVF in my cement floored garage and park cars on it.Do y’all agree…

    • Alana Kane

      Hi David, thanks for reaching out. We have never tested this out, so we cannot give you a solid answer, but it could be possible. If the planks do not have a tongue and groove and you’re gluing them down, you are less likely to have any separation at the joints. Just be aware that this usage will probably void the warranty.

  6. Hi, we are looking to put a vinyl click in place flooring in our cottage. It is a seasonal cottage and we do not heat the cottage during the winter. Any suggestions on what vinyl flooring would work the best with heat/cold expansion? Thanks!

  7. Hi. I am nearing the final decision on LVP, but need a confirming nudge. After several weeks of research this novice is overloaded. I started with big box store products, but read in many places that a 20 mil wear layer was the minimum to consider. Their 20 mil options were limited and after comparing them with various manufacturers and their varying lines, and without belaboring the process, I’ve settled on Coretec Plus because of the wear layer, thickness, and cork backing. This is for a 260 SF kitchen, 2 adults, no animals, overlaying existing vinyl sheet. My fear is the height (8mm) of the new floor versus the baseboard and transitions to other rooms will appear unsightly. The Coretec reducers appear to solve our Vinyl-to-slate and Vinyl-to-hardwood transitions. The existing carpet transition will be slightly higher than the new floor, and Coretec reducer or T-mold won’t work.
    Questions:
    1.) Does anyone have an opinion regarding the height of the vinyl plank versus existing flooring in adjoining rooms?
    2.) Since this floor is floating do I need a track between the carpet and plank for the plank to be inserted? Or can the plank be bumped up against the carpet tack strips and covered with a generic carpet trim strip?
    3.) Baseboard height will loose 8mm (5/16″) because I will have to raise the 1/4 round. Should I consider removing the baseboard and raising it also? What do professional installers do when encountering this?
    4.) I want the floor to last, and don’t want to do it again in 5 years. Am I being overly concerned about the wear layer?
    Thank you in advance for any advice or thoughts regarding this project.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Al, thank you for your questions! Most homes will have a different height between floors, especially when going from tile or hardwood to another surface. I am not sure how much of a difference you are talking, but it should be fine with a molding. You will just have a slight overlap and transition. To answer your second question, yes, you will need a trim with a track to be a support for the flooring. The COREtec moldings will come with this track. The baseboards should be removed, as you will leave a small expansion gap that will need to be covered with a molding. Lastly, the wear layer is a commercially rater wear layer and will hold up well in your home for years. I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, let us know.

      • Thank you Alana. I don’t think my question #3 was clear. Currently the baseboard height is 3″ from floor with shoe mold leaving 2 1/4″ of visible baseboard face above the shoe mold. I plan to remove shoe mold and replace it covering the expansion gap. This will reduce the baseboard face to 2″. Would a pro installer recommend removing the baseboard and raising it to maintain the 2 1/4″ face, or is the 1/4″ loss acceptable? I suppose it comes down to a matter of taste, but I’m curious what a pro would suggest.
        Since you invited more questions, here goes:
        5.) I’ve heard the Coretec transition tracks are fragile and may break in difficult installation cases. Versatrim offers a metal track, and corresponding Coretec color. Is there a reason not to consider Versatrim?
        6.) After viewing many tubes, it appears scoring and snapping Coretec Plus is doable. This solves the cross cuts, but what about the length-wise (rip) cuts? Will length-wise scoring and snapping work easily? I’m considering purchasing a Skill flooring saw for this job. My hand power tools could suffice, but a combo table-miter saw seems ideal for this. Any experience with this?
        7.) Large refrigerator barely fits into the existing space (height is ok). It also doesn’t roll sideways. Is it ok to roll out fridge as far as I can, complete the flooring in that half of the room including that space, and roll the fridge back over the new floor before completing the rest of the room? Obviously, I’ll need to protect the flooring edge when rolling, but what type of protectors would you recommend for heavy appliances sitting on the LVP?
        Thanks again for your advice.

        • Alana Kane

          Hi Al, thanks for clarifying! I am not a professional installer, but I would probably recommend doing the easiest route with the baseboard. You risk chipping or damage by removing it, so you may just want to play it safe considering it’s only a 1/4″ difference. As far as moldings go, you can definitely go with a Versatrim. We stick with brand on brand since it will generally be a closer match, but Versatrim has several options. As far as cutting goes, a saw will be the easiest option. A table-miter saw would be a great option. For your fridge, yes you can install then slide it back into place. We recommend putting heavy duty cardboard down to slide it into place so you do not scratch or dent the flooring. Most of the time, appliances will be fine sitting right on top of the floor. If you’d like to add coasters, just standard furniture coasters will be fine! Let me know if you need any additional clarification!

          • Alana, thank you. You’ve been very helpful in addressing these questions. I think I’m ready to pull the trigger. BTW, I found shoe mold that is 1/2″ high and 3/4″ wide at HD. Haven’t decided on pine painted to match baseboard, or oak stained to match floor. But, the baseboard face should end up having nearly the same exposure. Thanks again for your informative responses. I may be back again once I get started.

          • Alana Kane

            No problem! We’ll be here if you have any questions. Good luck with your project!

  8. We live in Eastern Canada where, needless to say, it is cold. We are building a new house and plan to put a vinyl plank floor in the basement. Our intention is to have heated floors-either electric or hot water. Is there a problem putting vinyl flooring over in-floor heating and, is there a preference for either the hot water or electric systems available?

  9. Am looking to install laminate vinyl flooring in my home; is 6 mil wear layer enough or is it to thin/low quality for a home. we don’t have pets and although we are always walking through house, seldom wear shoes in house

  10. Hi I want to put vinyl flooring in my house which is for 2 adults. Its on a concrete slab. Will 2mm be ok?

    • Viena Swierczek

      Hi Andrew, thanks for your comment. When purchasing vinyl flooring, you should pay attention to the wear layer of the floor instead of the thickness. Generally speaking, the higher the wear layer, the tougher the flooring will be. If you have a space that will need a high resistance to scratches and wear, a higher wear layer, such as a 12 mil or 20 mil, would be best for your application. Commercial vinyl flooring applications will usually require a 20 mil top layer. You can learn more about the wear layer here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/blog/wear-layer-vinyl-flooring/

  11. I am having the basement floor done in LVF by the builder. They are using Fuzion Flooring “Woodlands Coolection” 0.2mm/8mil………………………is that a good choice?

  12. We want to install luxury vinyl planking in our home. If wear layer is crucial to durability, what thickness do you recommend for residential flooring? 6 mil? 12?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Christel, great question! Both a 6 mil and 12 mil are commercial grade, so either will work well in a residential home. If you have a very busy home, I’d recommend going with the 12 mil.

  13. I am planning on putting vinyl flooring throughout my house so it will be under a refrigerator. How well does this stand up under a large, heavy, stocked refrigerator?

    • Viena Swierczek

      Hi Sharon, thank you for your comment. If you are installing a glue down vinyl, you will have no issues with your refrigerator or any large furniture and appliances on top of the floor. If you are installing a floating vinyl floor, we recommend to be cautious with heavy objects on the floor. Your flooring will expand and contract with temperature changes, and you must be cautious of heavy objects that could potentially pin the floor down and prevent it from floating. Most manufacturers recommend heavy furniture and appliances should be equipped with non staining large surface floor protectors. We advise to double check with the manufacturer of your floor prior to installation just to be sure it is safe and your warranty will not be voided. If you have any other questions or would like to discuss this in more detail, please give us a call at 1-800-520-0961. Thank you!

  14. Will a 4mm Vinyl plank flooring work on a plywood floor. Do I need to glue it down.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Kelly, great question! A 4mm vinyl will be fine on a plywood floor. If it is a click lock vinyl, you will not have to glue it. It will be a floating floor system. It should tell you if it is a glue down plank (GDP) or a click lock. Hope this helps!

  15. I am looking for recommendations on LVP for my basement on the thickness that would be ideal. Concrete subfloor, and being on the east coast, the temperature drops to 10deg where I am at.

  16. Hi im about to build 7 small lot subdivision homes and a 4 unit apartment building. What type and thickness of wpc should be used for these 2 projects? Thank you

  17. Hi. we are in the process of renovating our cottage and are thinking of installing vinyl laminate planks in the bathroom. As the cottage floors are not insulated and winter temperatures can drop to well below freezing will vinyl laminate planks stand up to the cold temperatures?

    • Hi Joanne – Thank you for your question. Vinyl planks still need to be in a temperature controlled environment, otherwise the extreme temperatures could void your warranty. If you still want to install waterproof floors and risk the possible buckling that could happen to your flooring, the best type of flooring you could use would be a WPC (wood-plastic composite) flooring – like COREtec – as it does not expand and contract nearly as much as vinyl planks or laminate planks would.

      If you need help purchasing a floor, please feel free to give us a call at 800-520-0961 or email us at support@bestlaminate.com.

  18. I need to install new flooring over my terrazzo floor. It has to go in 2 hallways and Kitchen. What do you suggest I use. Oh I live in Florida, if that matters

  19. In the past 5 years we installed 12mm laminate wood look flooring. Some areas are not completely level and we did do our best to level prior to installation. The 12mm was forgiving in those areas that were not perfect. However, due to water damage we want to install vinyl planks but they only come in 8mm as the thickest available. Will this type of flooring be forgiving in those areas I mentioned?

    • Hi Jenny – First, we would definitely recommend having a contractor to come out and level your sub-floor so you will have the most even base possible to install your new vinyl flooring. I am not sure if you have a wood or concrete sub-floor, but you should have a professional look at this issue.

      You then have two options for vinyl flooring:

      1) Install an 8mm floating vinyl flooring with a vinyl underlayment, such as Floor Muffler LVT or Perfect Mat LVT, installed underneath the flooring. The vinyl underlayment will also help mask any sub-floor imperfections, creating a smooth surface for your floating vinyl flooring.

      2) Install a glue down vinyl flooring. Having a glue down vinyl flooring will eliminate a lot of issues that a floating floor would have over an uneven sub-floor, because it’s adhered to the surface.

      If you have any further questions or would like to order some free samples to see the difference between vinyl flooring, please call us at 1-800-520-0961!

  20. I have concerns about my chairs and table in the kitchen leaving indentations when purchasing my new flooring. We are looking at vinyl, but are unsure what to buy regarding thickness. Suggestions? Someone in my family recently had a vinyl installed and their chairs are leaving major indentations.

    • Hi Tara – Adding felt pads to the bottom of heavy furniture, or furniture that gets moved around a lot, can help prevent indentations in vinyl flooring. It helps distribute the weight of the legs of furniture, helping lessen the chance of the indentations happening.

      While thickness helps play a role in whether your floor will dent easily, it is not the thing you should look for when choosing a durable vinyl. Choose a vinyl that has a wear layer of 0.5mm thickness for maximum durability. This is what protects your vinyl flooring from scratches and dents.

      If you need help finding the right floor for you, please give us a call at 1-800-520-0961 and we would be happy to assist you!

  21. Your video on luxury vinyl plank flooring states that vinegar kills more germs than bleach. The truth is vinegar is not registered as a disinfectant. Vinegar does not kill bacteria such as staphylococcus, which can be dangerous. Maybe she is confused with hydrogen peroxide, it has ingredients that are antimicrobial.

  22. We are planning on putting nuvelle density plus vinyl floor over tile in our home. A pad will be put under the vinyl. What thickness should we use and is nuvelle a good product?

    • Hi Robert – Unfortunately, we do not know much about Nuvelle vinyl flooring as we do not carry it at Bestlaminate, so we cannot say if it’s a good product. Since you are installing over a sturdy tile subfloor, you can install a thinner vinyl if you wish. If you are looking for durability, consider a thicker wear layer, as this is what determines the scratch and wear resistance of the flooring – not the thickness. Please feel free to reply to this comment if you have any further questions!

  23. Janiece Pustejovsky

    We are wanting to place vinyl planks in our laundry room. The subfloor is wood. What thickness do you suggest?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Janiece! Thanks for the question. The thickness of your vinyl isn’t a big concern here. Anything above 4mm should work for you, and be able to support any washers or dryers. Let us know if we can answer any other questions!

  24. I am wondering about the connections. Is there a preferred and more durable type of connection and what should I look for? I’m told that because I’m in a wheelchair I should glue down the planks that have no cushion because of the torque when I turn. Is gluing necessary or will the click planks be enough?

    • Great question, Ken. When looking for flooring that will durable enough to withstand the added wear that a wheelchair will put on a floor, it’s highly recommended to look for a commercial grade laminate flooring or a commercial grade vinyl flooring. These floors are meant to withstand the kind of traffic that you would find in a commercial setting, such as a clothing store, restaurant, or hotel lobby! The locking system on these types of planks should be enough to withstand the torque of your wheelchair when you turn, but if you are in doubt, you could also get a glue down vinyl flooring, or glue the locking system of the laminate flooring together.

      There are also brands, such as Alloc and Quick-Step that have ADA Approved laminate flooring collections, which takes the guesswork out of whether a floor is going to stand up to your wheelchair!

      I hope this helps you! If you have any further questions as to which flooring will be best for your home, please feel free to email us at support@bestlaminate.com or give us a call at 1-800-520-0961 and our flooring experts will be happy to assist you!

  25. I live alone with dogs and cats. There is not a lot of traffic in my home. My floor is concrete. Would a 3mm thick flooring be suitable?

  26. I am a home builder in Texas. I am converting from hand scraped wood floors to vinyl planking in new spec homes. What wear layer would be suitable on a median priced new home? Also they will be laid on concrete slabs.Thanks

    • Excellent question, James! I would recommend a 12mil (0.30mm) wear layer. It’s a sturdy thickness for a wear layer and there’s a lot of design styles to choose from – which you might not get from thinner wear layers. It will also stand up to most kid and pet accidents. I am not sure how you are planning to install over the concrete slab, but if you are planning on floating the vinyl floor, you may want to consider adding an LVT underlayment, such as Perfect Mat or Floor Muffler LVT, to add some cushioning to the floor. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-520-0961 as we love to work with home builders and contractors! We even offer commercial project pricing on select floors!

  27. Hi, we have a 2 story home in Queensland Australia….I am wanting to replace all upstairs area with vinyl planks get rid of carpet due to allergies and we are concerned with the noise downstairs (bedrooms up and living down) the sub floor ( between floor) is chipboard. What thickness should we go ?
    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Suzanne! We would recommend choosing the thickest possible vinyl available to you, which could be anywhere from 4mm to 8mm. You can also lay down a vinyl underlayment on top of the subfloor before you install your new vinyl floor to help with noise reduction between the two stories of your home. Good luck on your installation!

  28. My baseboards are approx. 1/2″ up from concrete slab.(IM IN FLORIDA)..Originally we were going to use porcelain floors which required a membrane to reduce cracking. I was told 12mm laminate would work with a vapor barrier to eliminate moving our baseboard. I really love the vinyl flooring but their all too thin (max 5mm?)and most say an underlayment should not be used. I do not want to use the half round molding to cover the difference in height. So my question is isn’t their a vinyl floor that would accommodate the height I need?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Elaine, great question! This thickest vinyl product we carry is a WPC vinyl. Our Cortec WPC vinyl has an attached cork backing as underlayment, and is 8.5mm. We’re currently just adding these to the website, and will be on our website this week. This would be the best bet if you want the properties of a vinyl, with the thickness of a laminate!

  29. 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!

  30. 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: https://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

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

    • 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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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