Floor Vs Floor: Tiles or Vinyl?
Vinyl has been picking up as a flooring material in recent years. While it has traditionally been used in commercial settings, new developments have also allowed vinyl to be installed in residential spaces. However, is it right for you? We’re here to help!
1. Overall Cost of Tiles vs Vinyl
The number one reason one might pick vinyl over tiles might be the cost – vinyl flooring tends to be much cheaper – about one-third of the price – than tiles, and also faster and easier to install, which allows homeowners to save on workmanship costs. Taking a long-term view, however, depending on the quality of the slab and installation, vinyl could last between 10 to 15 years before you would have to replace them, which means you would be replacing them on average between 4 to 5 times more frequently than tiles – which would incur more workmanship costs as well to dismantle and reinstall.
Learn more about how to select the right flooring contractor.
2. Durability of Tiles vs Vinyl
There’s really no competition in terms of durability between tiles and vinyl – tiles are simply the more durable and long-lasting flooring choice, due to them being fired at high temperatures during their production process. Most modern vinyl flooring comes with a protective layer as a buffer against spills and scratches, but once the protection layer wears off or gets punctured, it would be time to start replacing them. Not only are tiles incredibly tough, but you can also easily reference how wear-resistant a tile surface is using its PEI rating, rather than relying on guesswork.
3. Tile Maintenance vs Vinyl Maintenance
Compared to many other flooring options, vinyl is relatively easy to maintain if its protective layer is intact: after clearing off dirt and grit, a simple mop would be sufficient to keep it clean for everyday use. Similarly, tiles don’t require much to clean except for some soap and water after a quick sweep. We’ll call this one a tie between the two!
4. Health & Safety of Tiles vs Vinyl
Bad news for vinyl lovers: research has found that vinyl flooring that has been treated to be fire-resistant have elevated levels of toxic chemicals, including lead and cadmium. Vinyl flooring is also known to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) heavily in the first few weeks following installation and may linger in indoor environments for much longer after that, causing respiratory problems to people who inhale them. On the flip side, tiles are naturally low in toxicity and have very low to zero VOCs, and can even have additional features such as anti-slip effects, in contrast with the slipperiness of vinyl flooring.
5. Physical Comfort of Tiles vs Vinyl
In a win for vinyl flooring, they tend to be very comfortable to walk on, even more so than hardwood! Due to their flexile nature and multiple layers, they provide a padded feeling underfoot and provide insulation against large temperature changes, much like laminate flooring. Tiles, on the other hand, are hard and unyielding by nature, and are best paired with softer materials such as fabrics when used for indoor residential floors.
Have a look at our guide on matching fabrics with tiles here.
6. Surfaces & Design of Tiles vs Vinyl
As vinyl slabs are directly printed upon using printing machines, they tend to accommodate a wide variety of different designs, even wood and stone! However, this also means that vinyl flooring can only be uniformly smooth, as printers do not typically handle textured surfaces well. Whereas for tiles, they can carry custom designs from marble to wood, and also have different types of surfaces impressed upon them in the later stages of the production process, making it possible to have polished, matt, structured, or even Slip-Stop surfaces.
7. Eco-friendliness of Tiles vs Vinyl
While tiles are made from abundantly available clay, vinyl’s base ingredient is petroleum, which is not only a non-renewable resource, but is also damaging to the land, air, and water as it is extracted and processed. Not to mention, vinyl flooring is also not biodegradable and is difficult to recycle, meaning the only choice at the end of its lifespan is either to throw it into a landfill or to burn it, which releases toxic fumes into the air that do not break down. On the flip side, while tiles do consume energy during their production process, they are much better for the environment as they are more durable, easily recyclable, and have easily the smallest carbon footprint among other flooring types.
In summary, here are the differences between tiles and vinyl flooring:
|Vinyl Flooring||Tile Flooring|
|Cost||Low, but must be replaced more often||Low to medium, but lasts 3-4 times longer|
|Maintenance||Easy to clean||Easy to clean|
|Health & Safety||Contains toxic compounds and emit VOCs||VOC-free and can come with additional safety features|
|Comfort||Padded and insulated||Can be cold and unyielding, due to its durability|
|Design & Surface||Many designs but only one surface||Many designs and surfaces|
|Eco-friendliness||Made from petroleum, difficult to recycle, and releases toxic gases||Made from clay, easily recyclable, and has the smallest carbon footprint|