One of the trends we’ve noticed over the past decade with synthetic flooring are thicker planks and tiles. While hardwood manufacturers have stayed in the same range, companies that produce linoleum, laminate and vinyl have begun rolling out thicker collections across the board. Having a wider range of options is a bonus, but leaves many homeowners wondering what type of thickness to choose.
Vinyl Flooring Thickness
There are around a half-dozen forms of vinyl flooring currently available, and each style has its own pros and cons. They also vary in thickness, which means you won’t find traditional vinyl planks in the same class as engineered products with a rigid core.
- Vinyl Planks – Before multi-layered vinyl flooring became prevalent, traditional vinyl planks were found in millions of homes across the United States. Aside from a few exceptions, most classic vinyl planks are glued-down to the subfloor.
- Luxury Vinyl – The first “thick” form of vinyl flooring that’s compared to engineered hardwood or laminate is luxury vinyl. The most popular format of this flooring comes in LVP format, which are luxury vinyl planks. Luxury vinyl tile or LVT are also popular, if somewhat limited when it comes to designs.
- SPC Vinyl Flooring – The term SPC flooring refers to vinyl flooring that is rigid, not flexible like luxury vinyl products. These planks are thicker than most and have a sturdy core made from limestone powder, PVC and stabilizers which adds structural integrity.
- WPC Vinyl Flooring – WPC flooring is similar to SPC, but with a wood plastic core instead of one made from stone composite. It’s quieter to walk than traditional vinyl or SPC as the wood-based core helps to absorb noise and soften footfalls.
How Vinyl flooring thickness is calculated
Flooring manufacturers’ use a variety of specifications with vinyl flooring, and for measuring thickness the one you’ll need to look for are millimeters or mm. It’s important not to confuse this measurement with “mils” which is used in regards to the thickness of the wear layer on hard flooring surfaces. If you have a ruler or tape measure handy, you can quickly get an idea of just how thick the types of vinyl are below. There’s no true average given the different classes of vinyl, but most high-quality flooring falls between 4mm to 8mm.
Peel and Stick Vinyl Thickness
The thinnest type of vinyl flooring sold comes in a “peel and stick” format. These tiles are thin enough to be cut with a utility knife, not a saw, and have an adhesive backing layer. The thickness of peel and stick tiles vary depending on the brand, but most measure between 1mm to 1.5mm.
Seams can be an issue, however, and it’s not going to be very comfortable underfoot because of how thin it is and the way it’s typically installed. Most peel and stick flooring is rated as water-resistant, not waterproof.
Thin vinyl of this kind is well suited for mudrooms and other high-traffic areas when properly installed. It’s also a good choice for smaller areas like bathrooms or closets on budget-friendly renovation projects.
Vinyl Plank Thickness
Whereas vinyl tiles that are peel and stick are thin, things get a little more complicated when you move up to a “standard” vinyl plank. This was the most popular form before luxury vinyl and engineered products burst onto the scene, and the thickness typically ranges between 2mm to 3mm.
There are two types of flooring in this category as well with glue-down planks and tiles. The selection is limited with planks as they’ve largely been phased out in favor of budget-friendly LVP. There are several collections of vinyl composite tile or VCTs from Armstrong and others in the 2-3mm range, however.
Standard or traditional vinyl plank flooring can also be used in any room of your home, although we feel its best suited for areas with low-traffic. It’s not as durable as luxury vinyl, but comes in enough styles to make it a good choice for bedrooms, home offices, and living rooms.
LVP and LVT Thickness
Homeowners that know they want thick vinyl flooring, will want to begin their search in the luxury vinyl class. Luxury vinyl planks and luxury vinyl tiles start with a thickness of 5mm and top out around 8mm. A few companies produce 4mm and 4.5mm tiles whereas the plank format of luxury vinyl tends to be thicker.
With that in mind, we found most budget to mid-range lines are in the 5mm to 6.5mm range. Premium luxury vinyl plank collections are 8mm thick. Flooring in this tier is best-suited for homeowners looking for vinyl that will last several decades or comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
8mm luxury vinyl flooring can be used anywhere from kitchens and dining rooms to bedrooms or hallways. It’s one of the more popular sizes to run throughout an entire home, although 5mm and 6mm can be just as durable and are a bit cheaper in those same areas.
The newest type of vinyl flooring available to homeowners is classified as EVP. That’s short for engineered vinyl planks, which are a cross between engineered hardwood flooring and luxury vinyl planks or tiles. It’s also the thickest type of vinyl flooring on the market today.
SPC and WPC flooring are the two most popular forms of EVP, and each can come in tile or plank format. With brands like Home Decorators Collection and Montserrat, you can expect planks between 5mm to 6.5mm thick. Stone polymer composite flooring is typically thicker, at 7mm to 8mm with planks and tiles from SmartCore, Cali Longboards, and Shaw.
As the toughest form of vinyl flooring available to homeowners and businesses, engineered vinyl plank and tiles are great for locations with high foot traffic. These floors can take more casual abuse than other styles and are the thicket types because of the core. SPC and WPC flooring is the perfect choice for any room, but can get quite expensive.
How thick are wear layers?
Knowing the thickness of the vinyl board or tile is important, but it’s not the only measurement to keep in mind. As mentioned, the wear layer thickness is measured in mils, and it’s something that varies just as widely as the thickness of the vinyl flooring itself.
Wear layers on flooring in the residential class can start at around 5mils or less and top out at around 22mils for commercial flooring. Thicker vinyl does not equate to a thicker wear layer, however, as you can see by some of the brand comparisons in our guide. You will also want to take underlayment into account.
While a thick wear layer won’t have an impact on the layout of new flooring in a room, a significant change in height can. With vinyl flooring, there should be a separate measurement for pre-attached underlayment on board or tile. Otherwise, consider the thickness of whatever underlayment you plan to use along with the thickness of the board with doorways and baseboard.
In our experience, the thickness of vinyl that’s right for a home typically comes down to a homeowner’s sense of style and budget. Engineered vinyl flooring will feel firmer underfoot than LVP, whereas thinner flexible versions are great for budget-friendly projects. If you want to learn more about the cost of vinyl plank flooring, this guide breaks down the cost of material and installation.