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Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring 101

May 24, 2021

We know there are a lot of questions surrounding peel and stick vinyl plank flooring. Is it the same as luxury vinyl plank flooring? Does it actually work? Is it just a temporary solution? And do any of the best vinyl plank flooring brands sell it?

As always, we’re here to answer all of your questions—and more! 

Below, we’ll go into everything you need to know about peel and stick vinyl flooring. We’ll talk about what it’s made of, how it compares to other types of vinyl flooring, explain how it’s installed, and even and where to find it. 

We’ve also laid all of its pros and cons—as well as comparisons to other types of vinyl flooring—to help you make your buying decision. 

By the end of the piece, you should know everything you need to decide whether peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is right for you!

Table of Contents

What Is Vinyl Plank (or Tile) Flooring?

Vinyl plank is a type of PVC flooring that (usually) looks like wood and comes in—what else?—plank form!  

Vinyl tile flooring is pretty much the same thing, except that it looks like tile, of course.

These are both a development over floral-patterned sheet vinyl, which you probably remember from every kitchen built pre-21st century.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (aka LVP/LVT) is the Best Type of PVC Flooring

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are today’s best types of vinyl flooring. They’re generally made out of multiple layers and are designed to be durable, beautiful, and long-lasting. They’re a big advancement over the single-layer vinyl sheet of yesteryear. 

Generally, luxury vinyl breaks down like this: 

  • A rigid or flexible core provides the flooring’s strength and foundation.
  • A design layer mimics the look and feel of anything from hardwood to stone.
  • And a wear layer seals and protects the floor.

The final product is a gorgeous and durable waterproof floor that can go anywhere inside the home. Its versatility and relatively low price make it one of the best hardwood floor alternatives; especially considering there’s no shortage of wood floor designs, colors, or patterns available in LVP/LVT.

Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Upgrades Ordinary LVP

Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring, sometimes called EVP flooring, is even better. The “rigid core” offers enhanced durability over ordinary LVP and some types, like WPC flooring, offer added comfort too. 

The best feature, though? The cost of rigid core LVP is still way less expensive than the average cost of wood flooring.

Important Note: Most Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank is Not Luxury Vinyl Plank

Here’s the most important thing you need to know about peel and stick vinyl plank. It’s not luxury vinyl plank flooring. Most options (almost all, actually) are actually made of one layer of vinyl, just like traditional sheet vinyl.

Translation: self-adhesive vinyl plank is more of a temporary floor covering than it is an actual floor (one reason very few of the best vinyl plank flooring brands make it).

So What is Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Peel and stick vinyl, sometimes called self-stick or self-adhesive vinyl, is exactly what it sounds like: vinyl planks or tiles that come with an adhesive backing. To install, you lay planks or tiles down like stickers and voila: you have a new floor!

If you’ve ever looked into peel and stick carpet tiles, the principle is pretty much the same (learn more about how to install carpet tiles here). 

Peel and Stick Vinyl Peeling off Backing

Two big things to remember:

  1. It might be some of the world’s easiest flooring to install, but most peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is not what we would categorize as luxury vinyl plank!
  2. Almost all peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is flexible rather than rigid (because again, it’s usually made of just one layer of vinyl!)

Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Sizes

Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring offers mostly standard sizing (see below), but some brands offer a wider variety of options.

Most Planks Come in 6-Inch Widths

If you’re a fan of the wide-plank wood flooring look, then you’ll be pleased! Most peel and stick vinyl planks come in 6” x 36” dimensions, which just qualifies for the wide-plank look. 

Thinner and wider planks are available too, but they’re less common.

And Most Tiles Comes in 2 Sizes

Tile-wise, 12” x 12” and 16” x 16” formats seem to be the most common—but if you look hard enough you’ll find smaller and larger tiles too. Most (if not all) tiles come in 4-inch increments (8” x 8”, 20” x 20”, etc.).

Anything smaller than 8” x 8” inches is pretty rare.

Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring is Extremely Affordable

Peel and stick vinyl plank is one of the cheapest types of flooring on the market. The average price for peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is about $1.00 per square foot, but there are plenty of options in the $0.50 to $2.00 range.

The Wear Layer Determines the Cost

The wear layer is the single most important factor in determining the cost of a peel and stick vinyl plank. This is the layer that protects the floor from damage. Luxury vinyl generally comes with a thick wear layer made of scratch-resistant material. Vinyl sheet (and peel and stick vinyl plank) wear layers are minimal by comparison.

Peel and Stick Vinyl Wear Layers Are Inferior to Luxury Vinyl Wear Layers

Translation: if you’re looking for high-end wear layers made of polyurethane and/or aluminum oxide (common in the best vinyl plank flooring), you’re out of luck. 

Most peel and stick flooring has a wear layer made out of… soft vinyl. So, the quality of the depends on how thick the wear layer is. 

With peel and stick vinyl plank flooring, a 4-mil wear layer is standard. 

For comparison, quality LVP tends to start at 12 mils, with some options topping 22 mils or more.

Translation: Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank is Much Less Durable Than Traditional (Luxury) Vinyl Plank

There’s no way around it: peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is consistently less durable than LVP. 

Now, there are some truly terrible LVP options out there (Stainmaster luxury vinyl comes to mind), but even bad LVP tends to be more durable than peel and stick vinyl.

How Do You Install Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Earlier, we mentioned that peel and stick vinyl is one of the easiest surfaces to install—but there are a few things you should know first.

It’s Basically a 2-Step Process

Generally, you only need to make sure that your subflooring (what is subflooring?) or existing surface is completely clean and as level as possible. After that, you just peel off the plank’s backing and stick it where you want it to go! 

Most Peel and Stick Vinyl Flooring Needs to Be Acclimated First

Unlike LVP products made by many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands, peel and stick vinyl usually has to be acclimated before it’s installed. 

This is actually a bit of a red flag because it suggests that peel and stick vinyl may be susceptible to environmental changes. Nevertheless, the acclimation period only lasts 24 hours on average.

It Doesn’t Need an Underlayment, But It May Need Primer

Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring doesn’t need an underlayment, which usually serves as a protective barrier between flooring and subflooring. However, some manufacturers recommend using a primer before installing peel and stick vinyl because it can improve how well the adhesive works, making the floor stick longer.

Oh, and if it wasn’t obvious already, peel and stick vinyl isn’t compatible with magnetic flooring underlayments.

You Can Cut Peel and Stick Vinyl Planks or Tiles if You Need to

One perk of using a single-layer product: it’s super easy to cut through. A box cutter is probably the best way to go; just make sure the plank or tile is held down properly before you start cutting.

You Can Install Peel and Stick Vinyl Over (Most) Existing Floors

Peel and stick vinyl can be installed directly over most floors so long as they’re clean and generally level. The one exception would be carpet.

The Advantages of Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring 

We know we’ve made peel and stick vinyl plank flooring seem mediocre, but that’s only in comparison to luxury vinyl plank. Because this material does have a lot of advantages if you use it properly!

Self-Adhesive Vinyl Is Affordable

Like we said earlier, most peel and stick vinyl tops out at about $2.00 per square foot. Plus, there’s really no reason to hire a pro to install it. 

Buying hardwood floors, in comparison, tends to start at about $6.00 per square foot before you even factor in the installation costs.

It’s Easy and Inexpensive to Install (You Don’t Need a Pro)

The cost to install vinyl plank flooring like LVP tends to start around $1.50 per square foot, which really isn’t bad. For comparison, the cost to install engineered hardwood floors (or solid hardwood) ranges between $3 and $8 per square foot.

So where does peel and stick vinyl fit in here? Even lower—because you don’t need to hire a pro to install it! It’s literally as simple as sticking planks to your floor or subfloor (unless you use a primer too). At a minimum, you’re saving $150 on a 100-square-foot room.

And Again, You Can Install It Over Existing Floors

As we mentioned earlier, there’s no reason you can’t install peel and stick vinyl plank flooring over your existing floors. In fact, that’s the point.

Let’s say your wood floors are in need of repair, but you’re not quite ready to deal with the cost to refinish that hardwood flooring. Peel and stick vinyl flooring can provide a temporary solution while you save up for a refinish (or some brand new ash flooring!)

Self-Adhesive Vinyl Plank Flooring Comes in Tons of Looks and Styles

Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring comes in many common looks and styles, especially when it comes to random or unique patterns. However, it’s fairly limited in one key area: you won’t find many exotic wood floor patterns or non-standard wood floor colors

Popular hardwood species are available, but for the most part, non-wood patterns (think floral or tile print) are way more common. 

Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank is Water-Resistant (With a Catch)

Technically, most peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is waterproof. However, if you don’t install it perfectly—which is actually really hard to do—water will leak through the seams and cause mold and mildew.

In this respect, peel and stick vinyl is more of a water-resistant wood flooring alternative than it is a waterproof hardwood flooring alternative. Luxury vinyl plank, on the other hand, is entirely waterproof.

And it Can Go Almost Anywhere Indoors

Peel and stick vinyl flooring can go just about anywhere inside your home. 

As long as you avoid gaps in between tiles, you can put it in your basement or kitchen. That said, we would shy away from using it in a faux wood floor bathroom or as mudroom flooring (or anywhere that sees a lot of water, really) for the reasons we mentioned above.

All in All, Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Is a Great Temporary Flooring Solution

As we’ve mentioned, peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is a fantastic temporary flooring choice. 

It won’t give you the longevity or value you’d get with hardwood alternatives like wood look tile, laminate flooring (what is laminate flooring, exactly?), or any of the best engineered wood flooring brands.

But: it will give you an easy-to-install wood look at a really affordable price point. And sometimes, that’s all you need!

The Disadvantages of Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring 

There are pros and cons to all types of flooring, and peel and stick vinyl plank is no exception. We’ve already outlined some of these disadvantages above, but here they are again:

Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Isn’t as Durable as LVP Flooring

Luxury vinyl plank is some of the most scratch-resistant flooring out there, especially heavy-duty variants like SPC flooring

Peel and stick vinyl plank? Not so much.

Again, this is because peel and stick vinyl is generally a one-layer product. It lacks the thick wear layers you’d find in real LVP, which can go head-to-head with the most durable wood flooring and the best laminate flooring brands on the market.

Most Options Will Only Last a Few Years (and Have a Short Lifespan)

LVP can last for decades; peel and stick vinyl might last a few years. It simply isn’t designed for decades of use. 

Even the best peel and stick vinyl plank flooring tends to degrade significantly within 5 to 10 years.

Self-Stick Vinyl Plank Warranties Aren’t Very Good

This probably shouldn’t come as a shock, but the warranty policies for most peel and stick vinyl plank floors are bad

At a glance, most read as limited lifetime warranties. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the exception lists are huge. 

For example, FloorPops’ warranty is voided by the use of soap, “excessive water”, temperatures that regularly dip below 55℉, and more very common things.

Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Isn’t Good for Resale Value

The common wisdom is that peel and stick vinyl plank flooring can harm a home’s resale value. Why? It’s cheap. 

If resale value matters, LVP or hardwoods like teak flooring are much better options. We’re not even talking about the best engineered wood flooring here—any real hardwood will beat peel and stick vinyl in terms of resale value.

It’s Not Intended for High-Traffic Areas (or Commercial Spaces)

Most peel and stick vinyl warranties are voided if the flooring is installed in a commercial space, because it’s not intended for heavy foot traffic. 

By contrast, even lower-end LVP options like SmartCore flooring can be used as commercial flooring. And if you look into higher-end options—COREtec flooring reviews for instance—you’ll find robust commercial warranties.

Vinyl Isn’t Environmentally Friendly in General

If you want environmentally-friendly flooring, vinyl isn’t ideal. One of the disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring is that it can’t be sustainably produced—and many brands can’t even be recycled. 

Peel and stick vinyl is no better—in fact, it’s probably worse because of its adhesives. 

For more eco-friendly flooring, we recommend going with a sustainable wood flooring species like Douglas fir flooring—or a wood alternative like hemp flooring instead.

Low-VOC Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Relatively Rare

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are abundant in plastics and glues, both of which are in vinyl flooring. These compounds are considered dangerous by the EPA, and the flooring industry has taken action by introducing low-VOC flooring.

Low-VOC vinyl flooring dramatically reduces the presence of VOCs, which is great. The problem: low-VOC peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is really hard to find.

If the idea of VOCs disturbs you altogether, non-toxic laminate flooring is a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for real hardwood (one of the perks of laminate vs. vinyl plank flooring). 

Self-Adhesive Vinyl Doesn’t Come in as Many Stone or Wood Looks…

Most peel and stick vinyl flooring mimics different types of tile instead of hardwood or stone. You can still find peel and stick vinyl that copies different types of wood flooring, but the options are pretty limited.

You should see wood looks like oak or pine flooring, but anything more exotic is unlikely.

That said, you can still create unique designs with the options that are available. There’s no reason you can’t make your very own parquet flooring pattern with peel and stick vinyl, but there is another problem…

…And the Wood Looks That Are Available Don’t Usually Look Great

Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring really took the “fake” part of fake wood flooring and ran with it. Most peel and stick vinyl planks don’t do a great job of mimicking look of the best hardwood floor brands

Plus, the patterns tend to repeat quickly—making them look even more artificial. Worst of all, most peel and stick vinyl doesn’t even attempt to mimic the texture of real wood—something that true luxury vinyl excels at. 

What to Look For in Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring

Our advice: go with the look you like. Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring isn’t made to last, so there’s not much sense in buying a premium option. 

Instead, put that money towards better floors (like the best bamboo flooring or best cork flooring!) and use peel and stick vinyl as a placeholder.

Peel and Stick vinyl installation

Where Can You Buy Peel and Stick Vinyl?

From big-box stores like Home Depot to general stores like Walmart, peel and stick vinyl is available almost everywhere. Even Amazon sells it! 

Top Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands

There are a lot of peel and stick vinyl brands, so we’re going to cover the most popular options. And again: these are the options you’ll find most commonly—not necessarily the best options in terms of durability or appearance. We’ll try and give some info on that too, though!

FloorPops!

FloorPops!, made by WallPops, is one of the most widely available peel and stick vinyl plank brands on the market.

Aside from having a fun name, FloorPops offers a great range of style choices, including a few wood looks, and sells for about $1.35 per square foot. 

FloorPops has generally good reviews but we would still be wary of expecting their products to last for more than a few years. Inconsistency does seem to be a common complaint. 

Achim

Achim peel and stick vinyl tiles appear all over the internet. While their website looks like a throwback to the days of Blockbuster Video, the company offers a wider selection of stone and wood looks than most other brands here. However, they don’t offer that many styles overall

Achim’s reviews are on par with FloorPops!’ but the company’s products cost slightly more on average.  

Armstrong Flooring

Armstrong is one of the few LVP manufacturers that also makes peel and stick vinyl plank flooring.

Armstrong’s peel and stick vinyl is exclusive to Walmart and has a very limited set of style options that seem to change periodically. Additionally, the options that appear on Armstrong’s website don’t seem to sync up with the options on Walmart’s website—something to be aware of if you’re browsing looks. 

Otherwise, the flooring costs slightly more than $1/square foot on average and enjoys mediocre-to-decent reviews.

TrafficMaster by Home Depot

One of Home Depot’s in-house brands, TrafficMaster makes both conventional LVP and peel and stick vinyl plank. The floors actually have decent reviews but we do have concerns. Another Home Depot in-house brand, LifeProof vinyl flooring, is touted as being a premier vinyl product—but LifeProof flooring reviews would argue otherwise.

Still, TrafficMaster peel and stick vinyl plank flooring costs less than $1 per square foot and offers a wide range of styles.

Style Selections by Lowes

Apart from having arguably the most generic-sounding name possible, Lowes’ in-house peel and stick vinyl plank flooring brand—Style Selections—is a good parallel to Home Depot’s TrafficMaster.

Style Selections has a wider price range than TrafficMaser but still averages out around $1 per square foot.

Casa Moderna by Floor & Decor

Like Lowes and Home Depot, Floor & Decor has a line of peel and stick vinyl plank flooring too. 

Casa Moderna costs a little bit less than the other two big-box brands (about $0.80 per square foot) but like Floor & Decor’s LVP line NuCore flooring, reviews are disabled on the company’s website. Which is not generally a good sign.

Vesdura by BuildDirect

Continuing the trend, Vesdura is yet another big-box peel and stick vinyl brand—this time from BuildDirect. The one thing that sets Vesdura apart from other peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is that it actually has a textured embossment. 

Now, this texturing isn’t as nice as what real LVP can achieve, but considering no other peel and stick vinyl brands offer texturing at all, it’s something. The downside: this texturing will cost you a bit more as Vesdura runs between $1.10 and $1.60 per square foot on average.

Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring FAQs

Is there anything else worth knowing about peel and stick vinyl plank flooring? See below!

Can You Use Peel and Stick Vinyl Tiles on Walls?

Unless it’s given an OK by the manufacturer, we wouldn’t recommend putting peel and stick vinyl planks on your walls. There’s usually not enough adhesive for them to stay there, and their weight will eventually send them crashing to the floor (where they belong).

Should I Use Extra Glue for Peel and Stick Vinyl Tiles?

Not only should you avoid using extra glue on your peel and stick vinyl plank floors, but you could even void the warranty by doing so! This is a common restriction in peel and stick vinyl plank flooring warranties.

What Happens if There Are Gaps Between Tiles or Planks?

If there are gaps in between your peel and stick vinyl planks or tiles, you should do your best to fill them in. If water fills the gaps, it can cause mold. 

Floor caulking or grout is probably the best solution.

Can I Remove a Plank or Tile and Reattach it Later?

If you remove a peel and stick vinyl plank, there’s a good chance you’ll ruin the adhesive in the process. But this varies product-to-product.

Is Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Waterproof?

Like we said before, peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is supposed to be waterproof vinyl flooring. However, this only works if all the planks have perfect seams. If you misalign a plank, even by one millimeter, then water can seep through. 

If you really want to make sure your peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is waterproof, we’d recommend caulking it.

Or, if you don’t want to deal with that, go with actual LVP instead. Click-together floors create a waterproof seal once they’re snapped into place, and every single LVP brand can be installed this way (along with some laminates like RevWood and Pergo; read up on Pergo reviews for more info on that).

Can You Use Self-Stick Vinyl Outdoors?

Outdoor vinyl flooring is specifically designed to survive outside. 

Some LVP products can be used in closed outdoor rooms (like sunroom flooring), but we wouldn’t consider peel and stick vinyl to be a good outdoor flooring option.

Are There Any Other Types of Vinyl Plank That are as Easy to Install?

Absolutely. 

Most luxury vinyl plank floors, like Proximity Mills, are actually super easy to install. Not as easy as peel and stick, but easy nonetheless. There’s even a case to be made that LVP is the best do-it-yourself flooring option from a cost-to-value perspective.

Glue-Down Vinyl Plank Flooring

Glue-down vinyl plank flooring is pretty self-explanatory, but the difference between it and peel and stick vinyl is that it’s immensely more durable. Glue-down LVP is super secure and tends to have the longest lifespan of any luxury vinyl plank floor.

Floating Vinyl Plank Flooring

What is a floating floor? Any floor that uses friction and gravity to stay in place. While this may sound less secure than peel and stick vinyl plank flooring, it really isn’t.

There are two types of floating floors: click-together flooring (which uses interlocking grooves or tabs to hold it together and create a waterproof seal) and loose lay flooring (which uses rubber backing and weight to stay in place).

There aren’t a ton of disadvantages of floating floors, and they’re super easy to install—especially loose lay vinyl plank flooring.

Conclusion: Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Best Used as a Temporary Solution

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is a great temporary solution. But it’s just that: temporary. It’s not durable enough to last for decades (unlike LVP), but it can get you through a few years if you need time to save up for a better floor. 

And if you do want a better floor, LVP is the way to go. It’s much more durable, lasts longer, and offers authentic wood and stone looks. It may be more expensive, but when you don’t have to replace your floors every few years you’ll be happy.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, check out some flooring stores in your area for expert help. Or, keep reading for more information on different types of flooring. And as always, good luck from all of us here at FlooringStores with your flooring project!

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About The Author

Christian Southards

Take any subject and there’s a good chance Christian has written about it. From marketing and international relations to wildlife (hobby!) and sports, Christian writes, edits, or helps publish just about everything that’s resigned to written form. His love for home design and remodeling began with his first job working for his uncle’s property management business.

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