Home Vinyl FlooringBasics What is the Wear Layer for Vinyl Flooring?

What is the Wear Layer for Vinyl Flooring?

by Bestlaminate
Published: Updated: 42 comments 3 minutes read

When shopping for vinyl flooring, all of the terms can be hard to keep track of! One question that gets asked most often is, what is the wear layer of vinyl flooring? This is a very important question to consider when purchasing vinyl flooring.

So What is the Wear Layer?

Put simply, the wear layer is the top surface that provides the durability, stain and scratch resistance of vinyl flooring. The wear layer is usually a clear, urethane based coating that keeps the original appearance of the floor and provides easy maintenance. With new technology, some vinyls now offer added UV or durability layers on top of the wear layer for even more surface protection.

Wear layers range from 4 mil to 40 mil. Mil is an Imperial measurement meaning thousandths of an inch. The wear layer will usually be recorded in mil, but it can also be shown in millimeters (mm), or both.

An example: 40mil or 1.016mm. Just keep in mind, this is two ways to express the same wear layer thickness, these are not two separate measurements!

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Which Wear Layer Measurement is Best?

To decide on the best wear layer, you will need to determine the usage of the flooring. If you have pets, kids, or there is a lot of foot traffic in your home or workplace, you should opt for a thicker wear layer.

In short, the thicker the wear layer, the more durable the floor. 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.

Carbonized Driftwood Vinyl Plank Flooring Wear Layer

If you have more questions on which wear layer is right for you, our flooring specialists are available at 1-800-520-0961!

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Todd January 11, 2019 - 1:27 pm

What do you recommend for a kitchen? We have 3 dogs also.


Tyler January 11, 2019 - 5:17 pm

Hey Todd! We always recommend using a vinyl floor which is 100% waterproof!

Jim December 24, 2018 - 4:28 pm

I am planing to install flooring in a 1500sqf ranch home we r redoing,it was all carpet,was thinking about LVP florring throughout the entire house.i have installed several laminate floors in the past but never an entire home.do many peoeple do entire homes in lvp?

Tyler January 3, 2019 - 11:09 am

Jim, this is definitely a trend that we see growing. The fact that it is 100% waterproof and looks/feels like a wood floor makes it much better than laminate!

Bell December 11, 2018 - 3:53 pm

We are renovating a law office and are considering vinyl flooring that looks like wood. We were shown a vinyl plank by Dalcoure (diamond core lux collection) that has a thickness of 5.7 mm and a wear layer thickness of 0.3or 12 mil. Would this be durable enough or should we look for a higher mill? Thanks

Tyler December 18, 2018 - 8:33 am

Hey Bell. 12 mil is actually a commercial grade durability. If it comes with a commercial warranty, I would say its good!

Russell Fritz November 22, 2018 - 8:47 pm

I rarely see vinyl planking with the wear layer mentioned separately. So how do you know what you are getting?

Tyler November 28, 2018 - 1:29 pm

Hey Russell, we list all of the wear layers of the vinyl floors that we sell! Take a look at our products.

Joan April 19, 2020 - 1:58 pm

We are looking to do a clubhouse about 2,300 square feet in size. Would you recommend a floating vinyl plank floor or a glue down? I know we want a commercial wear of 12 mil but does the wear layer apply to glue down floors also? I like the look of the floating floor as opposed to glue down, but there will be a lot of moving chairs and tables on floor and need a durable vinyl. Also want a waterproof tile. Been going back and forth between the two types and am very confused now. Also is there such a thing as luxury glue down wood look flooring?

Any help is appreciated.

Alana Kane April 24, 2020 - 2:07 am

Hi Joan, thanks for the question. With large spaces, we typically recommend a glue down installation. You can float the flooring as well, however, you will need to add a transition piece every 30ft. I’d recommend going with glue down – it will still be commercial and you won’t have any issues with gaps or buckling, especially with moving chairs and tables.

Anita Flynn May 26, 2018 - 6:43 am

Samples I have are 2.6 mm thick and seem very inflexible. Is this easy to lay in a domestic setting?

Alana Kane May 29, 2018 - 10:24 am

Hi Anita, are you installing a glue-down vinyl? These are easy to install in a home, but the glue down installation comes with a few extra steps. I’d recommend going with a click vinyl that is at least 4 mm. This is the easiest installation.

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