Tired of worrying about your vinyl floors scratching, denting, or fading too quickly? Choosing the right thickness of vinyl plank flooring is the key to long-lasting, beautiful floors. But what do those “mm” and “mil” labels really tell you?
Today, we will help you better understand how the thickness of vinyl plank flooring translates to durability, revealing how those extra millimeters or a thicker wear layer can protect your floors from the wear and tear of daily life.
Let’s get started!
Vinyl Flooring Thickness: Demystified
Feeling a little lost when it comes to vinyl flooring thickness? Don’t worry, it’s easy to decipher once you know the basics!
Understanding those “mm” and “mil” numbers, like 6mm or 20 mil, helps you pick a floor that works for both your budget and your lifestyle.
Understanding Millimeters (mm) in Vinyl Flooring
In the world of vinyl flooring, millimeters (mm) measure the overall thickness of the plank.
Think of it as the full height of your flooring, from top to bottom! This includes all layers: the wear layer, the decorative layer, and the backing.
Now, you may ask. How thick is vinyl plank flooring usually? Typically, the thickness of vinyl plank flooring ranges from 2 mm to 8 mm.
And here’s where things get interesting:
- Budget-friendly vinyl (2mm to 4mm): These thinner options are good enough for low-traffic areas like guest bedrooms or underutilized spaces. They’re a cost-effective, temporary solution, but may not offer the same durability as thicker planks.
- Luxury vinyl flooring (5mm to 8mm+): LVP is designed to handle heavy usage and all the little accidents of everyday life. Thicker planks offer greater stability, comfort underfoot, and noise reduction. Invest in LVP for high-traffic areas like kitchens, living rooms, and spaces with pets and kids.
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Understanding Mils in Vinyl Flooring
Mil units don’t refer to the same thing as millimeters because they are used to measure the thickness of the wear layer specifically.
One mil equals one-thousandth of an inch, and it specifically measures the thickness of the wear layer.
This transparent topcoat is your floor’s bodyguard, protecting the design from life’s little accidents. Naturally, a thicker wear layer (higher mil count) means your floor will resist scratches, fading, and general wear and tear for a longer time.
Think about what your floor will face:
- Pet claws and kids’ toys? A wear layer of 12–20 mil offers excellent protection against scratches and scuffs.
- Is furniture being moved around frequently? A thicker wear layer helps prevent fading and damage from chair legs or table bases.
- Light traffic and less risk of damage? A 6–8 mil wear layer might be all you need.
For the ultimate protection in busy homes or commercial spaces, opt for the thickest LVP available.
How Thickness of Vinyl Flooring Translates to Performance
Choosing the right thickness for your vinyl floors impacts more than just their looks.
Durability, comfort, soundproofing, and even the lifespan of your flooring are all influenced by those crucial millimeters and mils.
The Right Thickness For Durability and Soundproofing
While all vinyl flooring offers a certain level of resilience, those extra millimeters and mils significantly impact its performance and your overall experience.
Let’s see why thicker vinyl is often the smarter choice for specific situations.
- High-traffic areas: Kitchens, hallways, and lively playrooms demand flooring that can withstand daily wear and tear. For these spaces, thicker vinyl (both overall mm and wear layer mils) delivers exceptional durability to handle dropped dishes, muddy shoes, and the joyous chaos of everyday life. Consider planks in the 5-8mm range and robust wear layers of 20+ mils.
- Commercial spaces: High-traffic stores and offices need flooring designed to take a beating. Opt for the thickest vinyl planks (6–8 mm+) and ultra-tough wear layers (20+ mils) to resist heavy foot traffic and constant wear.
- Soundproofing: Want to create a more peaceful home or workspace? Thicker vinyl flooring, especially options with an attached underlayment, acts like a sound barrier. It absorbs the impact of footsteps, dropped objects, and the general hum of daily life.
How Thickness Impacts Look and Feel
Vinyl flooring offers a variety of thicknesses, each impacting both the aesthetics and comfort underfoot.
Thicker vinyl planks often represent higher-end flooring options with a more substantial feel, greater stability, and sometimes even enhanced visuals and textures.
Imagine a thick vinyl plank (6mm+) with deep embossing that perfectly mimics the grain of natural hardwood or a textured stone design with a robust wear layer (20mil+) that feels incredibly realistic underfoot.
While thickness is a major factor, comfort goes beyond just millimeters. Premium vinyl flooring may utilize cushioned underlayers for an even more luxurious feel, especially in areas where you stand for extended periods of time, like the kitchen.
Choosing the Right Thickness: Your Room-by-Room Guide
Let’s dive into specific room recommendations to help you choose the ideal vinyl flooring thickness for your home.
Kitchens: The heart of the home deserves floors that can handle it all! At least 5mm overall thickness ensures stability against dropped dishes and spills, while a 20+ mil wear layer protects against scratches and everyday wear and tear.
Hallways and entryways: Floors here need to endure heavy foot traffic and resist dirt tracked in from outside. Choose a minimum of 5mm overall thickness for a solid feel underfoot, paired with a wear layer of 20+ mil for excellent scratch and fade resistance.
Playrooms & Family Rooms: If these spaces see lots of action, consider thicknesses closer to kitchen recommendations for maximum durability. Otherwise, a 5mm+ thickness and a wear layer of 12-20 mil offer a good balance of performance and comfort.
Living rooms & bedrooms: Comfort is important here! Opt for 4-6mm overall thickness for a luxurious, cushioned feel underfoot. A wear layer of 12-20 mil is usually sufficient, protecting against normal foot traffic and everyday wear.
Bathrooms: Water resistance is a factor, but unless flooding is common, the main concerns are scratches and scuffs. A 5mm+ thickness and 20+ mil wear layer offer the durability needed for busy bathrooms.
Dining rooms: Protect those floors from chair legs! Choose a 20+ mil wear layer to prevent scratches and a minimum of 5mm thickness for stability, ensuring your table and chairs don’t wobble.
Guest rooms & home offices: These areas experience less wear and tear. A 4-6mm overall thickness is still beneficial for comfort, with a 12-20 mil wear layer providing ample durability. If the office sees minimal use, you can opt for the lower end of the thickness range.
Laundry rooms: Focus on water resistance! While any vinyl flooring offers some water protection, thicker planks are generally more resistant, minimizing the risk of warping and damage from minor leaks.
Basements: Subfloor considerations are key here! Thicker vinyl can help mask minor imperfections but always address moisture concerns first. A 5mm+ thickness and emphasis on waterproof options are a good starting point.
Commercial spaces: Invest in the thickest vinyl possible! Ultra-thick planks (6-8mm+) ensure your floors look beautiful for years to come, while extra-tough wear layers (20+ mils) withstand the constant foot traffic, heavy furniture, and everyday wear that commercial settings experience.
Why Should You Consider Investing in a Thick LVP?
While thicker LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring might have a slightly higher upfront cost, consider these advantages:
- Subfloor support: Thicker vinyl can often hide minor imperfections in your subfloor, reducing the amount of prep work needed before installation.
- Comfort: A thicker, more cushioned plank feels better underfoot, especially if you spend a lot of time standing in areas like the kitchen.
- Longevity & investment value: Investing in thicker vinyl means your floors will look beautiful and perform well for many years. This often saves you money in the long run compared to replacing thinner vinyl more frequently.
Wrapping It Up: Finding Your Perfect Flooring
Choosing the right vinyl flooring thickness empowers you to create a home that perfectly balances style, durability, and budget. Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices – with a little know-how, you can find the flooring that impresses you for years to come.
Remember, the beauty of vinyl lies in its versatility. Some of the best vinyl flooring brands offer a fantastic selection of thicknesses and price points, making it easier than ever to find the ideal balance of cost and quality.
If budget is a concern, use our room-by-room guide to prioritize. Invest in thicker, more durable options for high-traffic areas like your kitchen and hallway while opting for slightly thinner, more budget-friendly choices in less-used spaces like guest rooms.
About The Author
Courtney is a freelance writer who wears many other hats: kindergarten teacher by day, Broadway diva in the shower. She is a transplant Hoosier who originated in New England. When she isn't writing in her spare time, you will find her reading history books, arguing with her latest knitting project, or being beaten by her kids at most games.