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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Krystal April 22, 2020 - 3:09 pm

Question regarding Fuzion Smart Drop Elite 9 loose lay vinyl planks. Are you familiar with this product? I am thinking of using it throughout my house and needed input. Thanks,

Alana Kane April 24, 2020 - 2:18 am

Hi Krystal, we are not familiar with this product, sorry!

Massimo Portelli January 23, 2020 - 12:53 am

Hi Alarna i am thinking of doing my hole house in Kenbrock cushion stone vinyl tiles wich are 5mm thick and a wear layer of 0.55 is that 21mm .Is this good.Thankyou

Alana Kane January 27, 2020 - 10:19 am

Hi Massimo, yes this is a very high durability tile that should feel very comfortable under foot.

Rhonda September 19, 2019 - 12:42 pm

Ive seen some vinyl flooring that shows it to be 55 gauge & 10 mil wear layer. Is this pretty good flooring? I have dogs but they are older lazy dogs & no kids at home.

Alana Kane September 20, 2019 - 11:17 am

Hi Rhonda, what type of vinyl is this? It sounds like it could be sheet vinyl. Honestly, it is a thin and not super durable material. The wear layer would be suitable for low traffic areas. If you don’t have much movement in the house, it would be an option for you. If you want a longer lifetime out of your floor, I would recommend going with a floating file plank.

Gina Rowan June 23, 2019 - 1:47 am

I was shown 110 gauge sheet vinyl. What is that in mils??

Alana Kane June 25, 2019 - 11:47 am

It is 1.10 mils.

The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Plank Flooring - Spadeteam June 6, 2019 - 3:14 am

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