The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Tile
Thanks to new embossing techniques, this affordable, durable flooring classic can masquerade as tile and hardwood.
By: Caren Baginski
Vinyl or synthetic tiles are a cost-effective solution for homeowners on a tight budget. Their resilient, bendable material comes in various sizes — one of the most common being 12" x 12" — and because they are manufactured, virtually any pattern or color can be created. But because vinyl is unlike ceramic, stone or porcelain tile, can the synthetic really be considered tile?
"In a broad sense they are a tile," says Paul Wilson, a ceramic tile consultant for TheTileDoctor.com. Wilson also works with tile on his DIY Network show, Tiling Techniques. When looking at a definition of tile, Wilson says vinyl qualifies because it's often referenced as linoleum or plastic. For example, The American Heritage Dictionary lists tile as "a thin, flat or convex slab of hard material such as baked clay or plastic, laid in rows to cover walls, floors, and roofs."
That's good enough to get vinyl in the running as a tile, but before you go synthetic, consider the material's pros and cons.
It's affordable, compared to ceramic, stone or porcelain.
Peel-and-stick vinyl tile can be installed over other materials quickly, requiring less demolition. It's also easier to replace.
Resilient tile is sometimes the only solution for a floor with excessive movement or cracks, says Wilson. Any other tile would break.
For beauty and durability, look to ceramic, stone or porcelain.
"You shouldn't ever use vinyl or resilient tiles in a wet environment, like showers and tubs," says Wilson. Also, avoid using vinyl in exterior applications which require hard tile.
The Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tile
This all-purpose tile is durable, reasonably priced and comes in a wide array of colors and textures.
The Pros and Cons of Glass Tile
This popular tile can be picky about where it's installed, but in the right location it's a real show stopper.
The Pros and Cons of Marble Tile
Best for floors, this colorful stone gives rooms a luxe look.
The Pros and Cons of Granite Tile
Learn more about this perennial favorite for countertops and backsplashes.
The Pros and Cons of Slate Tile
Slate can be used for floors and roofs and gives your home an aura of prestige.
The Pros and Cons of Concrete Tile
This outdoor staple has become an indoor favorite, especially for floors and countertops.
Installing Tile, Vinyl vs. Aluminum Siding
Learn how to properly install ceramic tile and to choose between vinyl and aluminum siding.
The Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile
Respected for its durability, ceramic tile comes in a variety of colors and is available at a reasonable price.
The Pros and Cons of Terrazzo Tile
Terrazzo tile is long-lasting and comes in fun colors—just don't slip.
The Pros and Cons of Terra Cotta Tile
Give your space a warm, rustic look with this classic tile.
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