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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Bev June 5, 2021 - 11:21 pm

Would a wear layer of 12ml be good to withstand kitchen usage? Can this be installed over existing linoleum? Generally what is the warranty on most LV flooring with a 12ml wear layer? Thank you very much.

Vanessa June 25, 2021 - 3:44 pm

Hi Bev, Yes, a 12mil wear layer vinyl would be good for any residential property including a kitchen. Yes, you would be able to install over linoleum as well. Warranties vary by the manufacturer, but typically it is about 20-25 years.

Jill February 7, 2021 - 4:53 pm

Love the comments !
I want to install in bedroom / hallway area. Have seen 5mm + 1 mm pad and 12 wear layer. Would you say this would be quiet for the floor below and a comfy walk ? It will be placed on plywood.

Oh and I have a dog.

Vanessa February 9, 2021 - 8:53 am

Hi Jill! You would have to check with the manufacturer’s specs. The sound ratings you will be looking for are IIC and STC ratings. The floors attached underlayment will also typically have a sounds rating as well. You can chat with our agents here for more information: Chat with our Customer Service Reps Here!

Caroline Holliday December 4, 2020 - 8:58 am

The vinyl flooring I’m looking at has a wear layer of 0.35. Is that good?

Vanessa December 7, 2020 - 8:45 am

Hi Caroline! A wear layer of 0.35 is equivalent to 13 mil. This durability will be great for any residential space!

Nana June 6, 2020 - 3:08 pm

can I install vinyl flooring over exiting plank floating floor of about 1300 sq. ft.?

Alana Kane June 8, 2020 - 10:33 am

Hi Nana, thanks for the question. We do not recommend installing a floating floor over another floating floor. You will need to uninstall that flooring and install on the subfloor.

Pamela May 27, 2020 - 4:13 pm

What wear layer should i get for sheet vinyl for kitchen hallway and laundry room has a door we use for outdoor so would be used alot! Thank you!

Alana Kane May 31, 2020 - 3:57 am

Hi Pamela, thanks for the question. I would go with anything above 12mil.

Alana Kane May 31, 2020 - 3:57 am

Hi Pamela, thanks for the question. I would go with anything above 12 mil.

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