uWith more than a half-dozen types of vinyl flooring available on the market today, it’s safe to say that homeowners are fond of this versatile material. While luxury vinyl flooring takes most of the spotlight along with new rigid core products, loose lay vinyl is an interesting alternative. If you’re interested in this unique form of vinyl flooring, our guide is going to answer all of your important questions.
What is Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring?
When shopping for vinyl flooring online or perusing the isles at your local home improvement store, you’re likely to find a lot of floating laminate, engineered, or vinyl flooring. It’s the most popular style of vinyl, and while it has similarities with loose lay vinyl, they are not in the same category from an installation standpoint.
Loose lay vinyl flooring is often used as a semi-permanent type of flooring. It doesn’t require any type of glue, which means it can be installed and removed. This is possible because of the way it’s installed, as loose lay flooring uses weight and friction to hold each piece of flooring in place.
These floors are different from luxury vinyl flooring as they don’t have a click-lock system along the edges. They are simply put into place on top of existing flooring or a subfloor with a rubber backing layer on the bottom providing all the grip that is required.
The Best Loose Lay Vinyl Brands
The first brand we want to touch on is one our readers may be familiar with. Karndean produces a range of high-end residential and commercial flooring and is one of the premium brands on the market today. They also happen to have the largest selection of loose lay vinyl through the Karndean LooseLay Collection.
Karndean’s loose lay flooring comes in two types; both of which utilize the company’s K-Wave friction grip backing. The regular or base collection features both wood and stone-look vinyl flooring. These faux wood vinyl planks are 10” wide by 41” long. They are 4.5mm thick with a 20mil wear layer, while the stone tile flooring is listed at 20” x 24”.
The company’s LooseLay Longboard collection lives up to its namesake with planks that are nearly a foot longer than traditional LVP. Measuring 10” x 59”, these boards are available in a dozen styles from light Vanilla Oak to Distressed American Pine. Karndean LooseLay is FloorScore certified and listed as Phthalate free.
Shaw is another well-known name in the flooring world, and while their selection of loose lay vinyl isn’t the largest, it is noteworthy. All of their flooring in this class has a 20mil wear layer and is 6mm thick except for their EasyVision vinyl tile. Designed to resemble concrete, these 12” x 24” tiles come in three shades and have a lifetime warranty.
Shaw Stone Effects loose lay tile is also available in three colors, but thicker like their loose lay vinyl plank flooring. Wood Mix has planks 6” x 48” long while the Sierra Trace Collection has boards that are 1” wider but the same length. Overall, there are around five styles to choose from and over a dozen different colors or shades. Their selection is in line with Southwind and Proximity Mills, two other companies that produce small collections of loose lay vinyl flooring.
Most of these brands are only available through flooring stores or online retailers, but you can also find loose lay vinyl from Lowes or Home Depot. Achim Flex Flor is one such option, and while they are 5mm thick and more affordable than Karndean or Shaw, the warranty is only good for 5 years. Loose Lay vinyl from Faber Evolution like Driftwood has a similar price, but a far better guarantee.
From Home Depot, you can also find a few small brands including Heritage Mill and Allure, but a company called Setagrip is the main draw. They use a unique backing layer that’s covered in millions of micro-sized pores which act like suction cups on hard surfaces. They have one of the large collections and their ASTM compliant planks have a 20-year commercial guarantee.
Loose Lay Vinyl Pricing & Availability
Loose lay vinyl may be installed in a different fashion from traditional LVP or peel and stick tiles, but they are in the vinyl family along with sheet vinyl, VCT, and other formats. They typically aren’t as cheap, however. It’s more expensive per square foot on average than most forms of vinyl aside from SPC and WPC flooring.
7.2” x 48”
20 year commercial
6” x 36”
7” x 48”
9” x 48”
7” x 48”
9.8” x 41”
9” x 48”
7” x 47”
If you’re looking for a wide selection of vinyl flooring, you might be surprised by the lack of options with loose lay vinyl. Traditional luxury vinyl planks and tiles outnumber them by a wide margin in the marketplace, which can make the flooring challenging to find in some areas.
Pros and Cons of Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring
Our favorite thing about loose lay vinyl flooring is the fact it’s incredibly DIY friendly. It can be installed over level surfaces including concrete, tile, hardwood, or vinyl. While some companies recommend using a bit of glue around the perimeter, the best brands will not require any adhesives at all.
This also makes loose lay vinyl easy to remove as well. It’s ideal for temporary flooring that can last a decade or more, and won’t harm the flooring beneath it. It’s as easy to remove as it is to install, and damaged boards or tiles can be replaced in minutes.
Loose lay vinyl is just as resilient as other forms of vinyl flooring, which means it’s resistant to stains and water. Most styles are listed as waterproof, and they can be swept, spray mopped, or vacuumed. Maintenance is a breeze and high-quality loose lay vinyl is more comfortable underfoot than regular LVP.
The rubber backing layer helps to dampen sound, which can help when installed in upstairs areas. Unfortunately, the selection of styles and sizes is limited compared to LVP. While you’ll find plenty of wide, long boards… there aren’t as many colors or brands to choose from. Loose lay flooring may be harder to find depending on where you reside, and it is a bit more expensive than luxury vinyl flooring.
If you are interested in floating vinyl flooring but aren’t partial to click-lock systems or glue, loose lay vinyl could be the best option for your home. The pros certainly outweigh the cons as long as you can find a suitable style for your needs. Remember that loose lay vinyl should not be installed outdoors unless it’s under a covered patio as there are better alternatives for those areas.