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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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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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40 comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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.

  5. 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

  6. 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?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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!

  7. 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.

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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!

  12. 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?

  13. 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

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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!

  14. 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.

    • Ashley Tolfo

      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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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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